Responsible mining: World Gold Council to demand more  

The World Gold Council is all set to ensure that all mining companies who are members of the council abide by the new Responsible Gold Mining Principles set to come into force by the end of this year.

There are about 60 individual principles in the draft document sighted by the B&FT that is designed to ensure the development of gold resources will be conducted responsibly, and that gold mining companies act in ways that are ethical, transparent, accountable and respectful of the rights of others.

Members of the Council operating in Ghana – AngloGold, Newmont and Goldenstar – will be expected to strictly abide by these principles when it comes into force in December.

Principle 7, for instance, enjoins all members of the council to consult traditional rulers, women and other marginalised groups in their mining areas, and take their views into account in their operations.

“We will consult meaningfully and in good faith with the communities associated with our operations on matters of interest to them, and will take account of their perspective and concerns.”

It further states that: “We will ensure that we engage with communities, including traditional leaders, in a culturally appropriate manner. We will be alert to the dangers of causing differentially negative impacts on women, and will strive to give equal weight to their views together with those of indigenous people and other potentially vulnerable or marginalised groups”.

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Principle 6 also enjoins mining companies to ensure that their operations are places where employees and contractors are treated with respect, and are free from discrimination or abusive labour practices.

Terry Heyman is the CEO of the World Gold Council, and in an interview with the B&FT said: “I would fully expect the regulator to pay attention to this. I hope regulators will pay attention to what companies’ do, ask for companies to conform to this Responsible Mining Principles, and for regulators to take appropriate action if companies don’t comply”.

He added: “I expect that member companies will conform to what is in the Responsible Gold Mining Principles. This is not being entered into it lightly. We will audit once a year.

“There is a three-year timeframe in which companies must demonstrate their progress toward full conformance; and at the end of the three years, everyone should be conforming. There are about 60 individual principles in here. Having a three-year implementation window, we feel, is appropriate.”

The World Gold Council is the market development organisation for the gold industry. Its purpose is to stimulate and sustain demand for gold, provide industry leadership, and be the global authority on the gold market.

The World Gold Council develops gold-backed solutions, services and products, based on authoritative market insight; and it works with a range of partners to put its ideas into action. As a result, it creates structural shifts in demand for gold across key market sectors.

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Responsibly undertaken, gold mining and its associated activities can have a transformative effect on socio-economic development in countries where gold is found. When produced in conformance to high social, environmental and safety standards, gold provides employment opportunities, improved infrastructure and tax revenues.

Invest in gold

Mr. Heyman further encouraged Ghanaians to invest in gold. “We have seen growth, and I can see continued growth. With the economic growth that Ghana is going through, I would love to see the demand for gold increase as well.

“The fact that the IFC chooses to host a major sustainability conference in West Africa speaks to the promising opportunities for the region, and I would hope that individuals think about putting some of their holdings into gold as part of a diversified portfolio.”

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