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Gold Council promotes responsible mining

BY: Suleiman Mustapha
Mr. Terry Heymann, Chief Financial Officer of the World Gold Council
Mr. Terry Heymann, Chief Financial Officer of the World Gold Council

The World Gold Council (WGC) has developed for mining companies, a draft mining principles that reduces the impact of gold production on the environment.

The guidelines, which are expected to be endorsed by member mining companies by the end of the year is aimed at providing investors with greater clarity around gold’s impacts on climate change.

Chief Financial Officer of the World Gold Council, Mr. Terry Heymann in an interview said the draft Responsible Gold Mining Principles are a new framework that sets out clear expectations for investors, downstream gold supply chain participants and other stakeholders as to what constitutes responsible gold mining.

The draft principles address the key environmental, social and governance issues for the gold mining sector.

“These are intended to be a credible, comprehensive and widely-recognised framework through which gold mining companies can provide confidence that their gold has been responsibly sourced”, Mr. Heymann said.

Issues covered include ethical conduct, safety and health, human rights, labour rights, working with communities, environmental stewardship, the use of water, energy and climate change, supply chain and transparency, engagement and accountability.

Stakeholder feedback
The first draft of the Responsible Mining Principles was issued for consultation in 2018.

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This Exposure Draft incorporates feedback from a broad range of stakeholders, including governments, civil society, supply chain participants and investors.

The Council is now seeking further input before the final version is published.

Once it is finalised, implementing companies will be expected to disclose their conformance with the Responsible Mining Principles, which will be externally assured.

“The Responsible Gold Mining Principles are intended to reinforce trust by allowing stakeholders to know, with confidence, how their commodity has been produced.

"In releasing this Exposure Draft and the accompanying Assurance Framework, we are seeking further input to ensure that the Principles meet this goal and that stakeholders understand how credible independent assurance will be conducted,” the CFO said.

The consultation process for both the Responsible Gold Mining Principles and the accompanying Assurance Framework will run until next year and will seek input from a wide range of stakeholders.

Unique role
The draft principles have become necessary because gold plays a unique role in the global economy and in protecting the financial security of nations, communities and families and in enabling advances in medical, environmental and communication technologies.

According to the World Gold Council, an industry body representing the sector, the volume of GHG emissions associated with every dollar spent on gold, is lower than for a dollar spent on most other mined commodities, such as steel, aluminum and coal.

Responsible gold mining companies, says the WGC, are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint through improvements in energy efficiency and the transition to low-carbon energy sources.

Public trust is fundamental to the many positive roles that gold plays in society. To maintain and strengthen that trust, leading gold mining companies must commit to high standards of environmental, social and human rights performance in its supply chain.