World Gold Council publishes code encouraging ethical mining for members

THE World Gold Council (WGC) has published a set of guidelines for its members intended to encourage improved environmental and ethical standards, said Reuters.

The newswire said the guidelines represented the latest effort by the world’s mining sector to respond to pressure by non-governmental organisations, consumers and governments to ensure the gold industry is free from criminality, rights abuses and benefits local communities. 

The ‘Responsible Gold Mining Principles’ “… are a framework that sets out clear expectations for consumers, investors and the downstream gold supply chain as to what constitutes responsible gold mining,” the WGC said.

The guidelines set corporate standards for governance, safety, labour and community engagement and environmental impact, said Reuters.

Sourcing ethical gold is an increasing problem for the worlds gold sector. In June, Swiss gold refiner, Metalor, said it would only work with gold from large miners of the metal owing to the difficulty of “… ascertaining the mines’ legality and the origin of the gold”.

Citing customs data, Reuters said the UAE imported $15.1bn in gold from Africa in 2016, but a large portion of that gold supply was not recorded in the exports of African states. “There is a lot of gold leaving Africa without being captured in our records,” Frank Mugyenyi, a senior adviser on industrial development at the African Union told Reuters. “UAE is cashing in on the unregulated environment in Africa,” he said.

The newswire said the gold may be coming from artisanal and small-scale mining activities as industrial-level gold miners did not send their gold to the UAE.

“While the big South African miners have local refining capacity, the main reason others gave is that no UAE refineries are accredited by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the standard-setter for the industry in Western markets,” said Reuters.

“Persistent discrepancies in the trade of particular goods and between particular countries … can identify significant risks of illicit activity,” said Matthew Salomon, an American economist who has researched the use of trade statistics to identify illicit financial flows.

 

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