World Gold Council launches responsible mining principles

William Gleason

September 12, 2019

The leading gold mining companies in the world have agreed to a set of guiding principles that set out clear guidelines for responsible mining. 

The framework, called Responsible Gold Mining Principles, was developed over the course of two years by the World Gold Council (WGC), a member group that includes the top gold mining companies in the world. The Responsible Gold Mining Principles set out clear expectations for consumers, investors and the downstream gold supply chain as to what constitutes responsible gold mining.

Gary Goldberg, chief executive officer and president of Newmont Goldcorp Corp, oversaw the initiative that included discussions with various stakeholder, including governments, civil organizations, supply chain participants and investors to create the Principles that the WGC believes address key environmental, social and governance issues for the gold mining sector.

“It is the World Gold Council's aim that the Responsible Gold Mining Principles will become a credible and widely recognized framework through which gold mining companies can provide confidence that their gold has been produced responsibly. The World Gold Council recognizes that environmental, social and governance considerations are becoming increasingly important to consumers,” the WGC said in a release.

The Responsible Gold Mining Principles are intended to recognize and consolidate existing standards and instruments under a single framework.

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.

“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 Goldberg. “Given the members' sustained focus on improving environmental, social and governance performance, the formalization 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 World Gold Council, 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 organizations and individuals over two rounds of consultation and are designed to support the efficient operation of the gold market.”

The principles cover three main aspects of gold production widely recognized — environment, social and governance (ESG).

Under each of the categories, there are a series of elements to consider. For instance, environmental issues include stewardship, water and land use, biodiversity, mine closure, energy and climate change.

Social aspects include safety and health, human and labor rights, conflict and community engagement.

WGC’s include industry leaders such as Newmont Goldcorp, Barrick Gold and AngloGold Ashanti, representing two-fifths of global gold production, estimated around 3.3 kt/a (3,600 stpy) and worth roughly $15 billion at current prices.

The Responsible Gold Mining Principles can be accessed here.



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