Apple and other tech companies bought illegal gold in Brazil between 2020-21

A new report by Reporter Brasil reveals that Apple bought gold from illegal miners in Brazil, Chimet and Marsam, for the manufacturing of iPhones and Macs. In addition, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon also purchased gold from the same illegal Brazilian miners for their products.

Brazil prohibits mineral extraction on indigenous lands located in the Amazon rainforest. Italian Chimet and Brazilian Marsam refineries are under investigation by the Brazilian Federal Police for illegal mining of natural resources and other charges related to environmental deterioration.


Apple confirmed it purchased illegally mined gold in Brazil

The report states that it obtained documents revealing that four tech giants bought metal from Chimet and Marsam between 2020 and 2021. Both miners are accused of indirectly purchasing gold illegally mined from indigenous lands but are certified to sell the minerals in the United States and Europe.

The tech companies: Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon filings at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveal that Chimet and Marsam are included in their list of suppliers in 2020 and 2021.


Apple claims that it is against the use of conflict minerals and holds annual audits of all the company’s smelters and refiners to ensure that minerals and raw materials are used in the manufacturing of its products, in addition to prohibiting forced labor in its supply chain.

However, the company has confirmed that it has severed ties with Marsam but Chimet is still part of its supply chain. This affirms that the tech giant did buy illegally mined gold from the miner in Brazil.

Of the four big techs, only Apple took action when questioned by Repórter Brasil .

On first contact in May, the company sent a note saying that its “responsible sourcing standards are the best in the industry and strictly prohibit the use of illegally mined minerals” and that “if a smelter or refiner is unable or unwilling to meet to our strict standards, we will remove it from our supply chain.”

Two months after that first contact, the report went back to Apple, which, in a statement, said it had removed Marsam from the list of suppliers. Chimet, however, remains fit.


It is detailed that such miners not only damage the environment but also facilitate organized crime in the region.

In the midst of the largest tropical forest in the world, the trail of destruction from this clandestine exploitation is growing and immeasurable. While deforestation and river contamination are visible, mining may be killing people for mercury (a toxic metal) and is attracting organized crime. Armed attacks by miners on indigenous people have been revealed by the press in recent years, such as what happened in May 2021 in a Yanomami community.

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