Yukon’s Sulphur Creek area was among one of several waterways where prospectors searched for gold during the famous Klondike Gold Rush, which began in 1896. Courtesy of Regeneration.

Toronto-based luxury jeweller Mejuri, in partnership with Regeneration, a D.C.-based company that extracts metals from mine waste to produce ethically sourced minerals for eco-friendly brands, and Swiss company MKS PAMP, which operates a precious metals refinery, launched the new Salmon Gold line on June 24the world’s first jewellery collection crafted using gold recovered from tailings waste at old placer mine sites.  

Stephen D’Esposito, chief executive officer and president of Regeneration, explained that the gold being used in this new line, called Salmon Gold, is recovered from the tailings created through placer mining, a method where minerals are extracted from deposits of sediment using various tools, such as pans and dredges, to scoop up material and separate valuable minerals from the rest of the material. The gold for the collection is produced by working through the old placer tailings to recover metal, which is then shipped as gold mine particles to MKS PAMP to be batch refined and is then combined with other metals to create 14k gold, before being shipped to Mejuri.

Mejuri's new lineMejuri's new Salmon Gold collection uses 14k gold that is fully traceable and responsibly sourced. Courtesy of Mejuri.

The new line features four different designs of hoop earrings that are produced using 100 per cent 14k Salmon Gold. He said that while the company is focused on sourcing minerals sustainably, it also focuses on leaving a positive ecological impact on these former mine sites. In 2023, Regeneration and Mejuri restored 1,150 linear metres of stream and 20 acres of upland habitat at these sites.  

The company works with miners, Indigenous communities, conservationists, government agencies and restoration experts to develop a restoration plan for each site before the re-mining begins. The habitat of a site is restored through stabilizing streams with rocks, replanting vegetation and adding rock pools to support fish spawning.  

Mejuri invested US$1.5 million in 2023 into Regeneration’s initiative, which allows partners such as Mejuri to purchase the gold that Regeneration extracts, which helps fund its rehabilitation efforts. 

Sulphur Creek, the location of a former placer mine, is one of the sites where gold is being reclaimed by Regeneration. The site is located near Dawson City, Yukon, and it was one of the first places where early gold miners came across substantial gold deposits at the start of the 20th century.  

Regeneration has also extracted gold from old placer mines in Alaska. Although this is currently the only Canadian site where Salmon Gold is being retrieved by the enterprise, D’Esposito noted that the Regeneration team is currently looking at sites located in B.C., with new sites expected to be announced sometime in 2025.  

We’re pretty keen on B.C. as a region of opportunity because there’s so much interest in this approach to mining and many mining companies there see the value of this, he said.  

D’Esposito noted that while Regeneration’s efforts are focused on gold for the time being, it is looking at how to repurpose other metals and critical minerals from non-active sites as well. 

While it’s not any one company's responsibility to go back and address the impacts from historical mining, our initiative at Regeneration creates this advantage for the mining industry because we're going back and addressing some of this [damage] left behind, he said. We think it can improve the reputation and social licence of the industry.”