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By Shane Lasley
Mining News 

10 golden rules for responsible mining

World Gold Council launches principles for miners to live by

 

September 13, 2019

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.

Inuit women workers with the first gold bar poured at Agnico Eagle's Meliadine Mine in Nunavut. Agnico Eagle is among the members of the World Gold Council, which listed working with communities among its Responsible Gold Mining Principles.

The World Gold Council Sept. 12 launched its Responsible Gold Mining Principles, which lays out a framework that provides investors and downstream gold supply chain customers with clear expectations as to what constitutes responsible gold mining.

"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," said World Gold Council CFO Terry Heymann.

Working with its members – which include world leading gold mining companies such as Newmont Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, Kinross Gold and Agnico Eagle Mines – World Gold Council has identified 10 principles that addresses key environmental, social and governance issues for the gold mining sector.

"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 Newmont Goldcorp CEO Gary Goldberg, who oversaw this initiative on behalf of the World Gold Council board.

The 10 golden rules that emerged from this initiative are:

Ethical conduct: conduct business with integrity including absolute opposition to corruption.

Understanding impacts: engage with stakeholders and implement management systems to ensure that impacts are understood and managed; and realize opportunities and provide redress where needed.

Supply chain: require that suppliers conduct their businesses ethically and responsibly as a condition of doing business.

Safety and health: protect and promote the safety and occupational health of workforce (employees and contractors) above all other priorities; and empower them to speak up if they encounter unsafe working conditions.

Human rights and conflict: respect the human rights of the workforce, affected communities and all people being interacted with.

Labor rights: ensure that operations are places where employees and contractors are treated with respect and are free from discrimination or abusive labor practices.

Working with communities: aim to contribute to the socio-economic advancement of communities associated with operations and treat them with dignity and respect.

Environmental stewardship: ensure that environmental responsibility is at the core of your work.

Biodiversity, land use and mine closure: work to ensure that fragile ecosystems, critical habitats and endangered species are protected from damage and plan for responsible mine closure.

Kinross Gold Corp.

Looking out over Kinross Gold's Fort Knox gold mine in Interior Alaska. Kinross is a member of the World Gold Council, which listed environmental stewardship among its Responsible Gold Mining Principles.

Water, energy and climate change: improve the efficiency of use of water and energy; recognizing that the impacts of climate change and water constraints may increasingly become a threat to the locations where one works and a risk to a license to operate.

These principles recognize and consolidate existing values of World Gold Council member companies under a single framework. This provides a platform where mining companies can provide confidence that their gold has been produced responsibly.

"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," said Goldberg. "It is my hope that these principles will be widely adopted, not only by member companies, but by the industry more broadly."

Companies that adopt the Responsible Gold Mining Principles will be required to obtain external assurance from an independent, third-party provider. This will provide further confidence to purchasers that the gold they buy is mined and sourced responsibly.

 

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