Gold mining does not always enjoy a good press. Fines, restrictions and even exclusion from certain jurisdictions are widely reported when dams break or residual chemicals, notably arsenic, are released. Artisanal and small-scale gold mining is a notoriously difficult sector to monitor, and may be linked to human rights abuses, environmental degradation and exploitation. Illicit trading has helped fund armed conflict in countries such as the DRC. All this damages the reputation of the entire industry. Initiatives already taken to clean up the image of gold mining include the first Fair Trade certification for gold, set up in 2010 by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) and Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO), guaranteeing that certified miners receive a minimum price for their gold and a premium that can be invested back into their communities. In addition to this, in 2012 The World Gold Council set up its Conflict-Free Gold Standard, which enables gold producers to provide assurance that their operations do not support unlawful armed conflict. Nevertheless the Council and its members continue to pursue the goal of transparency.
The World Gold Council is a membership organisation that champions the role played by gold as a strategic asset, shaping the future of a responsible and accessible gold supply chain. Its experts build understanding of the use case and possibilities of gold through trusted research, analysis, commentary, and insights. It drives industry progress, shaping policy and setting the standards for a perpetual and sustainable gold market. The World Gold Council’s 33 Members are some of the world’s most forward-thinking gold mining companies. They are headquartered across the world and have mining operations in over 45 countries.
Now all of the World Gold Council members with operating mines, who collectively produce around 1,300 tonnes of gold per annum, have committed to publishing the names and locations of their refining partners on at least an annual basis, to include all operations where the primary revenue comes from the production of gold.
All members have also committed to joining the Gold Bar Integrity (GBI) platform and supply, on a confidential basis, 'core data' on the gold they have produced to their refining partners. This ensures gold enters the Gold Bar Integrity platform 'at source' and is a major step in the digitalisation of gold across the supply chain. It will provide the gold industry with a robust and verifiable ledger of responsibly mined gold, which will create significant opportunities for new product development and increase gold’s attractiveness as a trusted asset class for existing and new investors and customers.
David Tait, CEO of the World Gold Council, commented: “I am delighted that our members have committed to lead the way in transparency. Pursuing enhanced supply chain transparency is good for the companies who produce, the communities who benefit from employment, training and skills, and investors and consumers, who can be assured their gold has been responsibly produced and responsibly traded. The responsible gold mining industry should be rightly proud of the positive impact they have on the communities and countries where gold is mined.”
These measures have been taken to encourage further transparency around the global gold trade. All World Gold Council members are committed to both these initiatives and the implementation period is currently being defined. The World Gold Council encourages all responsible gold miners to make these commitments to enhanced supply chain transparency.