The World Gold Council (WGC) today published its Conflict-Free Gold Standard, a common approach for gold producers to assess and provide assurance that their gold has been extracted in a manner that does not fuel unlawful armed conflict or contribute to serious human rights abuses or breaches of international humanitarian law. The standard, which would apply to conflict-affected areas globally, was developed in collaboration with the council’s member companies including Goldcorp, supply chain participants such as refineries, governments, leading NGOs, academics, investors, and civil society organizations.
The standard is designed to increase trust and transparency in the gold supply chain and provides further confidence that responsible gold mining is an important source of social and economic development. Gold mining firms who apply the standard would be required to publicly disclose their conformance. Conformance with the standard will be externally assured via an auditable framework.
Above Ground recently featured Ounesh Reebye, Manager, Treasury and Risk Management at Goldcorp, discussing his six month secondment to the WGC, helping to develop, stress test and pilot the Standard. The full article is available here.
The WGC instigated work to develop a conflict-free gold standard at the end of 2009. Subsequently, the US passed legislation called The Dodd-Frank Act which declared four minerals – tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold – to be potential “conflict minerals”. The Dodd-Frank Act focuses on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries where small scale and artisanal mining are the norm. According to the WGC, artisanal mining makes up 10% to 15% of newly mined gold. Weak governance, poor security and the fragmented nature of artisanal mining groups make them easy prey for control by armed groups. The Conflict-Free Gold Standard is an open standard that is available to any party involved in the extraction of gold, including artisanal and small scale mining, anywhere in the world including the DRC.
“Responsible gold mining is an important contributor to both economic growth and social development in gold-producing countries. We believe that, where it is responsibly undertaken, gold mining and its related activities can play a crucial role in achieving sustainable development and alleviating poverty, as well as contributing to sustained economic growth,” said Ian Telfer, Chairman of Goldcorp and the WGC.
The Standard will act as an ‘Industry Programme’ to operationalize the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. It is also designed to complement and integrate with other industry-led initiatives including the London Bullion Market Association’s Responsible Gold Guidance.
Goldcorp supports efforts to act responsibly in the communities in which we work and has agreed to implement the Standard. The London Bullion Market Association and several senior gold mining companies have also announced their support of the initiative.
For further information please visit: www.gold.org.