Modern Mining March 2023

high-quality jobs encompassing transferrable skills suitable for the modern economy. We have seen this in several locations across Africa and beyond. In seeking to decarbonise their own operations, many World Gold Council’s mem bers have been first movers in bringing clean energy to countries and locations where it would otherwise not have been present or affordable. This is a trend that will continue to grow. In 2020, Barrick integrated battery technology into the Kibali power grid in the DRC to enhance low carbon electricity provision from the mine’s three hydropower stations. The development of these stations has contributed to greater local power generation capacity, with additional benefits to neighbouring regions. Setting clear industry standards on responsible gold mining While climate risks are the overriding priority for the sector, the gold mining industry is effectively adapt ing to a range of challenges. To achieve its ambition of contributing to wider positive outcomes beyond gold sales and the mine gate, the industry needs to actively meet ESG (environmental, social and gov ernance) demands in line with broader community, investor, and societal expectations. Given the stra tegic role that gold mining plays in the economies of many developing nations, retaining and building the appropriate ‘social license to operate’ is critical to the gold mining sector itself and to the stability of many local economies. In recognition of the climate emergency, as well as the broader socio-economic picture, the World Gold Council and its membership set out, in 2019, to define a bold and comprehensive framework. The resulting Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) define clear expectations for what responsible gold mining looks like, and how operators can demonstrate their high standards of performance on a wide range of ESG factors. The RGMPs are mandatory for all World Gold Council members. They are also available – and

recommended – to all gold mining companies. The industry’s recognition of its need to operate in a transparent and trusted manner, and to demon strate high standards of responsible and sustainable business practice, has underpinned its ability to take ambitious steps to ensure it can contribute to social and environmental progress, including decarbonisa tion and local resilience. Accelerating change is within our hands While solid progress has been made, we cannot afford to be complacent. Change is happening, but we need to continue to accelerate and expand gold mining’s transformation, particularly in how it gen erates and consumes power, and how it engages with communities and stakeholders as it strives to adapt to escalating physical risks from an increas ingly volatile climate. However, while there are indisputable success stories, we cannot afford to be complacent and take our foot off the accelerator. Change is happening, and WGC members are working collaboratively on this journey to transform gold mining practices. For the gold mining industry, the scale of the challenge remains large, but the scale of the opportunity is orders of magnitude larger. 

Allowing a local renewable energy sector to flourish invariably leads to job growth.

Left and below: Accelerating transition to renewable energy is an employability engine.

March 2023  MODERN MINING  17

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