The World Gold Council unveils initiative to combat ‘conflict gold’

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Categories: Gold mining and sustainable development

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The World Gold Council today announces that, working together with its member companies and the leading gold refiners, it has produced a draft framework of standards designed to combat gold that enables, fuels or finances armed conflict. The draft standards represent a significant, industry-led response to this challenge and are designed to enable miners to produce a stream of newly-mined gold which is certified as ‘conflict free’ on a global basis.

The ‘conflict free gold’ and ‘chain of custody’ standards set out a framework for tracking conflict-free gold from the mine to the end of the refining process and a framework for ensuring that where gold is mined in a conflict or high-risk zone, its production or transportation does not finance or benefit armed groups.

After almost a year of work, the draft standards are currently being ‘stress-tested’ by leading gold mining companies and refineries, as part of the development process. The World Gold Council recognises the multi-faceted nature of this initiative and is seeking input that will foster a collaborative and comprehensive solution and is, therefore, undertaking consultations with stakeholders. Interested parties including governments, NGOs, the investment community, artisanal miners, end-users and other participants in the gold supply chain are being invited to review the draft standards and to provide their feedback by 1 September 2011. There will also be continuing work and dialogue on related issues such as recycled gold, audit and assurance.

Aram Shishmanian, Chief Executive of the World Gold Council, commented that: “Responsible gold mining contributes positively to economic and social development in producing countries both at a national and community level. The misuse of gold to fund conflict is wholly contrary to this mission and is a threat to the reputation of gold.”

The current focus of concern about gold as a factor in fuelling armed conflict is on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries. The World Gold Council standards address this situation for large-scale producers. In addition, the World Gold Council is working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and others on global guidelines for the responsible sourcing of gold. The World Gold Council is committed to working with sector specific groups in the electronics and jewellery sector to seek an integrated solution for market participants.

Aram Shishmanian continued: “The gold market is uniquely complex. It is difficult to track specific consignments from the mine to the end user because gold is easily melted down and co-mingled with gold from other sources. So the success of any certification system will depend upon the co-operation and commitment of many parties in the gold supply chain. The work on the standards is well advanced, but we want all those committed to addressing conflict issues to contribute their ideas. We are aiming for a comprehensive framework which commands confidence, credibility and broad support. We look forward to working with organisations that use gold in developing an integrated certification process that avoids duplication and meets the needs of all stakeholders.”

The draft standards may be viewed on the World Gold Council website at http://www.gold.org/about_gold/sustainability/conflict_free_standards/

For further information please contact:

David Schraeder
World Gold Council
T 1 917 224 6473
E David.Schraeder@gold.org