The World Gold Council (WGC), the market development organisation for the gold industry, last week announced the launch of its Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMP). The RGMPs are a framework that set out clear expectations for consumers, investors and the downstream gold supply chain as to what constitutes responsible gold mining. The WGC, working with its members, the world’s leading gold mining companies, has set out the principles that it believes address key environmental, social and governance issues for the gold mining sector.
The RGMPs outline what companies are expected to do to protect the environment, including water and land use, biodiversity and mine closure. The gold sector reportedly took two years to define what it hopes will become a credible and widely recognised framework through which gold mining companies can provide confidence that their gold has been produced responsibly. The WGC recognises that environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are becoming increasingly important to consumers. The RGMPs are intended to recognise and consolidate existing standards and instruments under a single framework. Companies implementing the RGMPs will be required to publish what they’ve done in the different areas, and 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.
The RGMPs have gone through a vigorous consultation and review process including two phases of external consultation. More than 200 organisations and experts submitted comments through an online questionnaire, direct bilateral contacts and five multi-stakeholder roundtables. Terry Heymann, chief financial officer at the WGC told writes Cecilia Jamasmie, senior editor at mining.com, “When coupled with good governance, responsible gold mining delivers benefits for host countries and local communities. It contributes to socio-economic development through increasing prosperity, providing jobs and supply chain opportunities, and raising technical standards through innovation and building skills.” Companies are expected to apply the RGMPs in a three-year timeframe. In the first and second years, implementing firms will be required to report on their progress towards achieving conformity.
“Adherence to strong Environmental, Social and Governance 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," said Gary Goldberg, CEO of Newmont Goldcorp, who oversaw this initiative on behalf of the Board of the WGC. 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 is our aim that the Responsible Gold Mining 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. 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.”
About 95% of member companies have so far signed up to the principles, with the remainder expected to do so soon. The Responsible Gold Mining Principles are available here.