The world's major gold producers seek to draw an iron curtain between their mines and especially Africa’s enormous, varied informal gold industry. Growing concerns about "conflict minerals," including "conflict gold," could eventually result in all gold from Africa being branded "blood gold," as happened with diamonds in Sierra Leone, according to the formal sector's marketing council.
The World Gold Council (WGC) has been working for two and a half years on its conflict-free gold standard, an echo of the Kimberley process whereby the diamond industry protected itself against reaction to the so-called blood diamonds from West Africa. The WGC is the market development agency of 23 of the largest gold groups. Its job is to encourage the demand for gold, and, in this case, to protect it.
The gold standard basically amounts to certifying that all the gold a mine delivers to a refinery is indeed its own and that nothing got lost along the way. When the gold is at the refinery, the refinery's own certification through the London Bullion Market Association comes into effect, says Terry Heymann, the WGC's Director for Responsible Gold.
The point is to convince the world's governments, activists and investors that formal gold mines in Africa have nothing to do with the funding of violence. The trick is to make this assurance auditable with standardized requirements. . .View Full Article