Before I started working in mining, I thought the industry operated in a ‘wild west’ type of environment, where regulation was thin and companies were left to their own devices, as long as they paid their taxes. After 15 years in the industry, I know now the reality is very different.
The gold mining industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the world – and rightly so given the scale of our social and environmental impacts and our economic contribution. Aside from demanding national legal and regulatory requirements, mining companies are also subject to growing levels of scrutiny from a range of external stakeholders. Demands for higher standards and more transparency have come from governments, communities, investors, employees - even consumers of gold. This has coincided with – or arguably has led to – the sharp increase in focus on ESG improvements and reporting industry-wide, a welcome development that will further elevate performance on the ground and build trust in the marketplace.
The industry has also done its part to keep up pace with these increasing expectations. The World Gold Council demonstrated its leadership in the gold sector by launching the Responsible Gold Mining Principles back in 2019. The Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) define what constitutes responsible gold mining across the full suite of ESG topics. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), an organisation focused on improving ESG performance across a broader range of metal producers, launched a similarly robust framework with their Mining Principles.