- Click here to view a copy of the World Gold Council's sustainable development report. (10.95 MB)
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) − The gold industry can play a major role in helping to address the many social, economic and environmental challenges facing the world, while also expanding its overall contribution to meeting the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), says AngloGold Ashanti nonexecutive director Kojo Busia.
In his foreword to the World Gold Council's (WGC's) latest report, titled 'Gold mining's contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals', he says the current high gold price is likely to result in more investment in the gold mining sector.
He stresses that it is imperative for the industry to "share fairly the additional benefits this brings about with its host governments and communities".
"In addition, as the energy transition begins to take shape, gold miners can show further leadership by committing to lowering their carbon emissions and investing more in climate solutions both at their operations and in their supply chains," he states.
Published on September 22, the report demonstrates the significant role gold mining companies – through their products, operations, supply chains, infrastructure and external engagements – play in the sustainable development challenge, says the WGC.
It discusses the gold mining industry’s contribution to the SDGs and “really sets out what the gold mining industry is doing to play their role in contributing towards the SDGs,” comments WGC CFO Terry Heymann.
The UN SDGs provide an integrated set of standards around which organisations can measure their contribution to issues of sustainable development relevant to long-term value creation in society.
Heymann says the publication of the report is a “timely” one, considering that this week is not only Climate Week, but also the week during which the UN celebrates 75 years of existence.
While the gold mining industry, in isolation at least, cannot solely deliver the SDGs, Heymann tells Mining Weekly that it “plays a really important role in collaborating with government and communities to help advance towards the 2030 goal of addressing the 17 SDGs”.
The report builds on the WGC’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles, launched a year ago as an imperative for all WGC members, and shows that “if you can operate responsibly, there’s real potential for sustained socioeconomic development” , the council notes.
Fifteen of the 17 SDGs are linked to the report and the gold mining industry, which Heymann believes “demonstrates the breadth of areas in which the gold mining industry is contributing”.
The report touches on the gold mining industry’s contribution to various SDGs, such as global partnerships, social inclusion, economic development, responsible operations, energy and the environment.
However, the mining industry overall is falling short of meeting the SDGs, according to a new report by the Responsible Mining Foundation and the Columbia Centre of Sustainable Investment, titled 'Mining and the SDGs – a 2020 Status Update'.
The whole mining industry has work to do, both in action, on the ground and in terms of communicating, Heymann says, noting that not enough has been done by the industry historically to engage in the global conversation around the SDGs, and that it “still has an important role to play”. He encourages the global mining industry to “be active participants in the larger dialogue” and the council’s report sets out to try and achieve this.
Additionally, while there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed so many lives and the way people and companies do things, Heymann believes the pandemic to be an opportunity for miners to “think about the future”.
“[The report] profiles some of the responses from the gold mining sector around Covid-19 and . . . you can see their ability to, quite quickly, get involved in helping to support communities in understanding what Covid-19 is, and helping to provide healthcare facilities . . . in the fight against the pandemic,” he says.
Heymann tells Mining Weekly that the pandemic has shown that “mining companies can collaborate effectively with government and work together with the communities through effective partnerships”.
“As challenging a period as it has been, the pandemic has demonstrated the ways in which mining companies can, and should, play a leading role in helping to address sustainable development and the SDGs,” he notes.