Gold is an integral part of our lives and its weighty influence dates back centuries. From ornate jewellery adorned by people the world over; gold has trickled down into our daily lives. The precious metal is now found in medicines, testing kits and even our electronic devices. The metal also holds significant economic value, providing financial security for many. Gold plays a pivotal role in our society, a paramount position it will hold for years to come.
Due to the metal’s heavy involvement in our lives, gold is a scarce resource. Mining companies must work responsibly to ensure that the metal is extracted in a sustainable manner. Gold mining has been notoriously linked to causing wide-reaching harm to the health of surrounding populations and the environment, due to the runoff of toxic chemicals used in its processes. Governments and mining companies have joined forces with the World Gold Council to create benefits for the communities surrounding gold mining. They launched the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) in September 2019. Their endeavour consists of 51 principles which cover all aspects of gold mining to ensure the environment and the communities are well protected from exploitation. All responsible mining companies are expected to follow these principles.
Aside from this, gold mining also holds direct potential to help achieve some of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Numerous mining companies around the world are working tirelessly to improve the lives of the surrounding communities. They have made significant financial donations to fund hospitals and provide healthcare for local populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mining companies also aim to advance the development of the people by providing them with ample opportunities. This serves as a catalyst for economic growth, particularly in developing countries, where there is little hope for advancement without intervention. The health of the community in Ghana has been enhanced by AngloGold Ashanti’s partnership with the Ghanaian government to combat the spread of malaria. Their initiatives resulted in the incidence of malaria being reduced by 74%, three years after its implementation. Mining companies have funded endeavours supporting the construction of schools and programmes to teach essential skills. Recently, Golden Star Resources has constructed 43 school classrooms and dormitories in Ghana. Some mining companies have also strived to improve social inclusion. Endeavour Mining aims to increase the representation of women in an industry which is predominantly male. Kinross Gold’s mine in Mauritania has also begun providing women with funding and training for their small businesses. It provides them with opportunities and in turn, financial freedom. Responsible mining can eliminate the negative consequences of the industry.
Miners are also in search of sustainable solutions to protect the environment and transition to a low carbon economy. As we look ahead, it is crucial that mining companies stay accountable and look for ways to preserve the health of the surrounding population and the environment. For a better future, Clean Mining, part of the Clean Earth Technologies Group, has a non-toxic solution which eliminates the use of cyanide in the traditional gold mining process. Their revolutionary process uses a non-toxic gold recovery reagent, the best choice for responsible mining operators. The Clean Mining solution is a step forward in protecting the health and safety of the miners, environment and local communities.