Alexander Riascos Portillo is an Industrial Designer who obtained his professional degree at the University of Nariño in the city of Pasto, Colombia. He focused his design experience in the field of artisan jewelry, together with the work and collaboration of a group of artisans from La Llanada Nariño, a region that depends on small-scale artisanal mining as the main economic activity.
Since 2013 he has been working for COODMILLA Ltda, the main mining cooperative in this region, which has gained great recognition for its efforts to promote socially and environmentally responsible community mining. In his role as Commercial Director, Alexander contributed to the promotion and export of COODMILLA gold to international markets — France and Switzerland mainly, but also to Germany and the United States. Thanks to the cooperative's continuous effort in the development of responsible mining and with the support of ARM (Alliance for Responsible Mining), the cooperative obtained Fairmined Certification, generating benefits in favor of the mining community, their families, and their workers, and promoting responsible and ethical gold.
Coodmilla's Fairmined Gold has been used for the elaboration of unique pieces such as the Palme d'Or of the Cannes film festival and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 2016 to former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.
Currently Coodmilla, under the direction of Daniel Osvaldo Matabajoy Riascos, is working on the promotion of responsible gold under the CRAFT Code towards European markets.
Mr. Riascos is participating on a panel that will explore the dynamics and challenges of bringing fair trade opportunity to ASMs through creating economic models. This session will focus on mining co-ops, and how single source models are furthering transparency and responsibility in gems and gold.
The panel will be moderated by Monica Stephenson (ANZA Gems, Moyo Gems), and will also feature Eric Braunwart (Columbia Gem House), Cristina Villegas (PACT Worldwide), Eunice Negele (TAWOMA), Monica Gichuci (African Women in Mining Association), and Conny Havel (Fairmined).
Mr. Riascos is particularly interested in sharing a brief introduction of who COODMILLA is and its efforts to become a recognized social and environmentally responsible mining organization; incentives, desires and interest in offering Fairmined and Craft gold to the international market, Coodmilla's achievements and obtained benefits; the challenges faced by small-scale mining organizations, their participation in responsible supply chains, their contribution to the jewelry sector, and the connection between both parties and the role of each one to face their challenges.
He wants the audience to know first-hand the reality of artisanal and small-scale mining and our COODMILLA mining organization, the reality of the people behind the gold originating from this community and the contribution they can make to the responsible jewelry sector.