The World Gold Council (WGC), the market development organisation for the gold industry, has announced the launch of its Responsible Gold Mining Principles.
The principles are a framework that set out expectations for consumers, investors and the downstream gold supply chain as to what constitutes responsible gold mining, the WGC said.
Working with the world’s leading gold mining companies – the WGC’s members – the council has set out the principles it believes address key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for the gold mining sector.
The principles focus on 10 key areas. Under the governance section, this includes ethical conduct, “understanding our impacts” and the supply chain. Social concerns include safety and health, human rights and conflict, labour rights and working with communities. The remaining three in the environmental bracket are environmental stewardship, biodiversity, and water, energy and climate change.
It is the World Gold Council’s aim that the Responsible Gold Mining Principles become a credible and widely recognised framework through which gold mining companies can provide confidence that their gold has been produced responsibly, the WGC said, acknowledging that ESG considerations are becoming increasingly important to consumers.
Companies implementing the Responsible Gold Mining Principles will be required to obtain external assurance from a third party, independent assurance provider. This will provide further confidence to purchasers of gold that the gold they buy is responsibly mined and sourced, it said.
Gary Goldberg, CEO of Newmont Goldcorp, who oversaw this initiative on behalf of the Board of the World Gold Council, said: “Adherence to strong ESG principles should be a key part of any responsible gold mining business and, as such, the members of the World Gold Council have collaborated, along with key industry stakeholders, to develop the Responsible Gold Mining Principles.
“Given the Members’ sustained focus on improving ESG performance, the formalisation of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles is a natural evolution of our daily working practices. It is my hope that these principles will be widely adopted, not only by member companies, but by the industry more broadly.”
Terry Heymann, Chief Financial Officer of the WGC, said it was the council’s aim that the principles reinforce trust in gold and the gold mining industry.
“Consumers, investors and the downstream gold supply chain will be able to know, with confidence, that their gold has been responsibly sourced,” he said. “The principles incorporate feedback from more than 200 organisations and individuals over two rounds of consultation and are designed to support the efficient operation of the gold market.”