According to media outlet Repórter Brasil, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon bought gold from illegal miners in Brazil. This concerned smartphones and computers for Apple and Microsoft, and servers for Amazon and Google.
Gold of dubious origin for GAFAM
Natural resources such as gold and copper are fundamental in the manufacturing process of electronic products. And since these resources are precious, there are many illegal mining companies all over the world.
Documents show that Apple and the other GAFAMs bought gold from the Chimet and Marsam refineries between 2020 and 2021. Both refineries are under investigation by the Brazilian Federal Police for illegal extraction of natural resources, in addition to several charges related to environmental damage. The South American country already prohibits the extraction of natural resources on indigenous lands. Even so, there are several illegal mining companies that extract and sell these resources to other companies around the world.
Any company listed on the US Stock Exchange is required to declare its suppliers of natural resources. However, although Chimet and Marsam are under investigation in Brazil, these refiners are currently certified in the United States and Europe. Although tech companies claim they use clean materials, it seems that not all of them are really interested in where these materials come from.
Repórter Brasil asked Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft about this golden story, and only the iPhone maker agreed to comment. The company says it no longer buys gold from Marsam. On the other hand, it says nothing about Chimet and indicates:
Apple works to protect the environment and safeguard the well-being of the millions of people affected by our supply chain, from mining to the facilities where products are assembled. We are firmly committed to continually evaluating our progress and integrating the lessons we learn into everything we do.