When undertaken responsibly, in conformance with the RGMPs, the gold mining sector can demonstrate significant contributions to the sustained social and economic development of those communities and countries that host gold mining operations. This can be seen through progress at the local and national level in advancing progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Gold mining companies strive to work with their host communities to turn mineral wealth into a means of advancing human development. Gold mines bring opportunities and act as an engine of economic growth, especially in poorer, more remote locations where there are often few alternative avenues for economy activity and community advancement.. Looking ahead to 2030 – the target date for the SDGs -, there is much that needs to be done, and Covid-19 has meant that making the necessary progress will require even more of a concerted effort from governments and businesses
In 2021, we published a report The social and economic contribution of gold mining, which quantified the impact that our members are having in host countries. World Gold Council member companies have committed to demonstrable standards of responsible and sustainable business practice and their data provides a compelling insight into the socio-economic contribution made by the industry. The report – based on 2020 data - found that WGC member companies produced 34.5 million ounces of gold and were able to contribute close to US$38 billion to the GDP of countries they operate in. It also highlighted the positive impacts on employment, including job creation beyond the mine site - for every job at a mine, a further six are supported. Of the mine workforce, in-country employees make up 95%.
When talking about development impacts it’s also important to acknowledge the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector. Underpinned by high poverty levels and lack of alternative livelihoods, the great majority of ASGM occurs outside of legal frameworks and the sector is unfortunately a source of major environmental, social, human rights and governance concerns.
The World Gold Council and its member companies support the responsible mining and trading of gold from all legitimate sources, including artisanal and small-scale gold mining. The responsible development of gold resources both through large-scale mining (LSM) and ASGM, especially when coupled with sound governance, has the potential to deliver broad social and economic benefits to individuals, communities and countries.
In seeking ways forward on improving the governance and performance of ASGM, it is important to work in partnerships as described in SDG 17. To learn more about ASGM and what the large-scale mining industry is doing to support ASGM please read our latest report on the interface between LSM and ASGM