Working with our members, the world’s leading gold mining companies, and collaborating with key industry stakeholders, the World Gold Council has set out the Principles that it believes address key environmental, social and governance issues for the gold mining sector.
It is our aim that these Principles will become a credible and widely recognised framework through which gold mining companies can provide confidence that their gold has been produced responsibly. The Responsible Gold Mining Principles are intended to recognise and consolidate existing standards and instruments under a single framework. A number of leading standards already exist that address specific aspects of responsible gold mining, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) Performance Expectations. Prior to the development of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles, there was no single coherent framework that defined responsible gold mining.
Development of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles
The Principles have gone through a vigorous consultation and review process including two phases of external consultation.
More than 200 organisations and experts submitted comments through an online questionnaire, direct bilateral contacts and five multi-stakeholder roundtables. The roundtables were independently hosted and facilitated, and accounts of the discussions, summarised by their host organisations can be found below.
This feedback, representing the views of a broad range of stakeholders including government, international organisations, civil society, supply chain participants and investors, was critical for informing the development of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles. We are very appreciative to all those who participated during the consultation phase.
Implementation and Assurance
Companies implementing the Responsible Gold Mining Principles will be required to obtain external assurance from a third party, independent assurance provider. This will provide further confidence to purchasers of gold that the gold they buy is responsibly mined and sourced. To support a consistent approach to assurance, we have developed an Assurance Framework. Assurance will take place at both a site and corporate level and assess both processes and performance. Implementing companies will be required to publicly disclose their conformance with the Responsible Gold Mining Principles and the external assurance on this disclosure.
Equivalency with the ICMM’s Mining Principles
The Responsible Gold Mining Principles have been designed to set out a clear framework as to what constitutes responsible practices for gold mining. We recognise that there are a number of standards that support the broader mining industry and are pleased to have worked with the ICMM to develop an equivalency table, which shows a high degree of alignment of our respective frameworks. This will support efficient implementation and assurance for companies implementing both frameworks. Moreover, it will also benefit investors, consumers and other stakeholders who are, quite rightly, increasingly seeking to understand how miners perform in regard to recognised responsible mining standards.