Thai gold mine is first to gain Social Accountability SA8000 Standard

Kingsgate’s Thai subsidiary, Akara Mining, which operates what it clains is the world’s safest gold mine, has become the world’s first mining company to gain accreditation under Social Accountability SA8000. Akara is the first stand alone mining company with SA8000. Two other operations have been accredited, but they are part of larger organisations.

This standard is considered the global standard for assuring a fair and humane workplace and for improving working conditions. SA8000 was established by SAI (Social Accountability International), an international non-profit human rights organisation dedicated to the ethical treatment of workers around the world, and it follows the principles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The rigorous social audit required to obtain the Standard includes workplace standards and multi-stakeholder consultation with diverse groups including workers, local communities and NGOs within an open and transparent system. The SA8000 standard is held by some of the world’s most respected companies, with a focus on the manufacturing sector. It demonstrates a credible Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy with a strong social performance component. It has been described as the “current benchmark in corporate social accountability” by Amnesty International.

For investors, SA8000 provides credible assurance of ethical production of gold and silver, reinforcing Kingsgate’s commitment to world’s best practice which, it says, “leads to high staff retention levels, improved productivity and the transparency to withstand discerning NGO, government agency or ethical investor scrutiny.”

The SA8000 Standard is the latest addition to Akara/Kingsgate’s impressive record of implementing best practice international standards at its mining operation. These include: ISO9001 – Quality ISO14001 – Environment OHSAS18001 – Health + Safety TLS8001:2003 – Thai Labour Standard ISO17025 – Laboratory Standard (underway) GRI – Global Reporting Initiatives (in relevant areas).

These standards have been reinforced by winning numerous awards in Thailand, such as Business of the Year 2006 (AustCham). Global independent CSR rating agency RepuTex has Kingsgate as the only ASX listed mining company with an A rating or better, except for BHP and Rio Tinto.

Kingsgate’s CEO and Akara’s President, Gavin Thomas, described it as “a shining example of a mining company of actually doing what it says, demonstrating how modern mining can be sustainable, both socially and environmentally. Although management creates the vision of how we want our company to operate, the drive and implementation comes from our committed Thai employees and contractors. This is a tribute to our 99% Thai workforce and I congratulate them all for again excelling in delivering world’s best practice at Asia’s showcase mine.”

Further information on this standard can be found at Social Accountability International’s website