Launch of the final WGC Conflict-Free Gold Standard

On 18 October 2012, the World Gold Council (WGC) published the Conflict-Free Gold Standard (Standard), which has been developed in collaboration with Gold Fields and 22 other WGC members since 2009. The Standard allows participating companies to provide external assurance that their gold has been extracted in a manner that does not cause, support or benefit unlawful armed conflict or contribute to serious human rights abuses or breaches of international humanitarian law.

It is anticipated that conformance with the Standard – in conjunction with existing business controls and practices – will also result in conformance with the OECD Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and the accompanying Supplement on Gold. In addition, the Standard has been developed to help refiners meet other due diligence requirements, including the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Responsible Gold Guidance.

The Standard is also aimed at protecting the reputation and equity of responsibly sourced gold. According to the WGC, conflict gold is estimated to account for less than 1% of annual gold production. However, it is critical that responsible stakeholders act to minimise its role in the global gold value chain, as failure to do so could expose gold – and particularly African gold – to significant reputational risk.

Gold Fields progress in implementing the Standard

None of Gold Fields mines are located in conflict-affected countries and all of our gold originates from its own mines. As such, there is only a minimal risk of externally derived conflict gold entering its value chain. Nonetheless, Gold Fields has voluntarily adopted the Standard as best practice across all of its eligible operations, to support the global application of the initiative by the wider industry and protect the reputation of gold. This also places Gold Fields in a strong position to demonstrate conformance should the status of one of its countries of operation change to ‘conflict affected’ or ‘high risk’. The Cerro Corona Mine in Peru is not required to conform to the standard as it produces a low-grade gold concentrate, which is excluded from the commodity definition in the Standard.

During 2012, external and internal experts carried out on-the-ground ‘walk-throughs’ at all of Gold Fields eligible operations to assess its readiness to conform with the Standard. This built on walk-throughs at the Tarkwa and Damang mines in 2011, which were performed in conjunction with the WGC and external auditors to assist with the piloting of the implementation of the Draft Standard.

In 2013, Gold Fields plans to carry out full assurance audits across all of its operations, with the view to declaring its conformance with the Standard by the end of 2013. sustainability/conflict_free_standard