Eight months on from launch

The World Gold Council published the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) in September 2019. It represented the product of two years of intensive engagement with gold mining companies and industry stakeholders to set out an over-arching framework that helps to define what constitutes “responsible” gold mining. Beneath ten ‘umbrella’ principles are 51 more granular ones which set out performance expectations.

Since then, the World Gold Council has, alongside our members, the world’s leading gold-mining companies, worked to raise awareness of the RGMPs. We have engaged with governments, NGOs and investors across five continents. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with stakeholders recognising the rationale for and comprehensiveness of the RGMPs. There has also been strong support for the requirement for public disclosure of conformance, along with a robust approach to assurance.

Implementation of the RGMPs is now a requirement for membership of the World Gold Council. But the RGMPs are not restricted to World Gold Council members; rather, we are keen to see them become an industry-wide standard and we encourage stakeholders to encourage all gold mining companies to commit to implement them. Gold refiners are also an important stakeholder and the RGMPs are intended to help refiners to discharge their due diligence requirements in regards to responsible sourcing, including those arising from the LBMA’s Responsible Gold Guidance.

I am really pleased by the positive response from companies, governments, investors, civil society and supply chain participants. Our objective in developing the RGMPs was to create a credible and widely-recognised framework through which gold mining companies can provide confidence to investors and consumers that their gold has been produced in line with environmental, social and governance best practices. We believe that by further demonstrating how they are observing high standards, gold miners’ will strengthen their licence to operate.

In time, I believe that it will also lead to more institutions recognising the positive impact that responsible gold mining has in supporting sustained socio-economic development and that this will become a further reason for them to hold gold as part of their portfolio. The public disclosure required under the Principles underpins stakeholder scrutiny and should hopefully also lead to greater convergence among the rankings provided by ESG-orientated ratings agencies, as the current landscape can be confusing to investors. The RGMPs provide further evidence of the commitment of the world’s leading gold mining companies to contribute to the communities and countries where they operate and to demonstrate the role that gold and gold mining can play in meeting societies’ needs.