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  • Gold mining's social and economic impact

    8 December, 2021

    At Mines and Money in London last week, Evy Hambro, a leading gold equities investor at Blackrock, stressed the importance of miners talking about the positive impact they have on societies in their host countries. He noted that the majority of miners’ ESG reports focus only on the negatives.

    That’s probably true, as we are an industry that is often on the back foot having to defend its existence. Over the past few years more and more investors and consumers have become interested in responsible sourcing to truly understand how the gold they buy has been produced. We are all much more conscious of our decisions that might impact our children or grandchildren one day. And as such, ensuring that industries operates responsibly and have a concrete and realistic plan to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement is important. As the World Gold Council we have responded to these concerns. In 2019, we released the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs), a set of 51 detailed Principles that define responsible gold mining. In addition, we have built a substantive body of work in regards to climate change which looks at both the decarbonisation of the gold sector and gold the asset. Our research shows that there is a credible way to decarbonise gold mining in line with the Paris Agreement.

    But coming back to Evy’s point, it’s not all about risk mitigation. It’s also important to highlight the positive contribution that gold mining is making in the countries our members operate.

    This week, we published a new report The Social and Economic Contribution of Gold Mining. The report analyses 31 of our Members, 122 operating sites and 82 no producing assets in 38 countries.

    We looked at the direct impact our Members are having and also worked with a consultancy firm, Steward Redqueen, to quantify the indirect impact.

    In conversations, we sometimes get asked if there are actually any positive benefits that countries receive when hosting a gold mine.

    Our report shows that our Members contributed to US$37.9bn of GDP in countries that they operate in. For countries such as Suriname for instance our members’ GDP contribution is close to 17%.

    Also, our Members provide employment to 200,000 directly and a further 1.2 million people are employed in the supply chain. And it’s important to note that 95% of the workforce of our members are nationals. In addition, on average, our members pay six times the national average wage.

    And let’s not forget about the infrastructure gold miners put in place. This includes connecting communities to green energy, providing healthcare and water and sanitation facilities.

    It’s clear that if responsibly mined, gold mining can contribute to the socio-economic development of the countries they operate in.

    To learn more, you can watch the video below or download the report