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  • World Gold Council and the African Mining Indaba 2020

    17 February, 2021

    The World Gold Council recently sent a small delegation to the Investing in African Mining Indaba 2020 conference in Cape Town, South Africa (or the Mining Indaba as it’s generally and more simply known). This is the largest mining event in Africa and attracts a very broad set of mining company executives, government representatives and investors of various shapes and sizes, in addition to service and equipment suppliers, civil society organisations, academics and many more.

    In total, over 6,000 delegates attended the Mining Indaba. Although the conference is focused primarily on encouraging investment in the mining industry, its agenda includes many high-level policy discussions and representatives from the governments of over 40 different countries were present this year. The political heavyweights on stage at the conference included the President of Sierra Leone and the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo; last year, it was the leaders of South Africa and Ghana.

    The World Gold Council was busy both at the conference and at the many side events that surround it. We focused much of our efforts on explaining the significance and practicalities of the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) and how these might facilitate the gold mining industry’s positive performance in responding to societal, stakeholder and investor expectations on a wide range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

    Our specific activities included a reception for gold industry leaders themed around the role of responsible gold mining and its contribution to socio-economic development in Africa; a panel discussion on the main stage, led by our Chief Financial Officer Terry Heymann, around the objectives and potential impacts of the Principles; and an implementation workshop for industry practitioners.

    John Reade, our Chief Market Strategist and Head of Research, also presented our thoughts on the market outlook for gold as an asset, with additional comments from the CEOs of Barrick Gold and Resolute Mining (alongside a leading fund manager and a London Stock Exchange executive). But even that discussion turned to some of the environmental and social issues that are increasingly the focus of the investor community.

    Having attended this event for many years, what was striking to me was that mining leaders now very clearly recognise that ESG factors are key drivers shaping the industry’s development and how it is perceived by investors and wider society.

    Fortunately, gold miners are in a constructive position to show leadership in many of these areas, including the pressing issue of climate change. The widespread support for the RGMPs at the conference - and the number of gold mining senior executives willing to confirm their commitment to them on the main stage – was a strong indication of an industry seeking to equip itself to address the risks and challenges it faces in a robust and transparent way. This can only be a positive thing for all gold’s stakeholders.