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Responsible Mining Index: Best Practices from 5 Gold Mining Companies

April 22, 2021

Photo by Lauris Rozentāls from Pexels

On this day in 1970, millions of Americans turned out for rallies across the nation to call for better environmental protection against oil spills, air pollution, toxic dumps, pesticides, and other environmental hazards. This Earth Day, we focus on the mining industry and its role in the environment.  

Mining and the Environment

When you think of mining, you probably think of various images such as mountainside blasts, tunneling underground, or maybe even panning for gold by the river's edge. You might also think of the environmental impacts such as acid mine drainage from older mines but haven't heard much about the benefits of modern technology and management practices.  

Extracting ore from underground or surface mines is just one stage of a rather complicated and time-consuming process to produce minerals. From mine exploration and development to its closure and rehabilitation, a mining company has to undertake all mining activities to be viable and competitive while also adhering to a set of regulations and rules.  

Valid concern and regard for the environment are some of the fundamental elements of any successful business strategy. Given the increasing level of attention to the mining business's environmental issues, it's even more critical today. One way to hold companies accountable is through the Responsible Mining Index, a yearly evidence-based assessment of mining company policies and practices on economic, environmental, social and governance issues. Here are five gold mining companies that have made great strides.  

Anglo American

Anglo American has the most substantial results in all six thematic areas that the Responsible Mining Index covers. These include Economic Development, Business Conduct, Lifecycle Management, Community Wellbeing, Working Conditions, and Environmental Responsibility. Anglo American established their strong results by formalizing commitments and company-wide systems on a wide range of issues. Take Business Conduct, for example; the company has systematic measures to hold board directors and senior managers accountable for responsible business conduct on ESG issues. Regarding Lifecycle Management, they are the only company to have set guidelines designed to ensure a smooth transition for workers and communities once a mine closes. With Community Wellbeing, they also have systems designed to provide their operations support local entrepreneurship and local procurement.  

AngloGold Ashanti

AngloGold Ashanti is one of the three most significant companies in the index for Economic Development, Lifecycle Management, and Community Wellbeing. They are also one of the five most substantial mining companies when it comes to Environmental Responsibility. Not only were they able to establish formalized commitments, but they also created company-wide systems on a range of issues, such as having systematic measures to hold senior leadership accountable for responsible business conduct related to ESG issues. They also engage with local communities and artisanal and small-scale miners to help avoid minimizing and mitigating the impacts of physical or economic displacement.

Barrick Gold Corp

Barrick Gold Corp has one of the five more robust results in Community Wellbeing because it shows evidence of tracking and reviewing its performance on preventing and remedying human rights abuses related to its security management. They also have a system in place designed to ensure its operations conduct human rights due diligence and assess and address involuntary displacement's potential impacts.  

Gold Fields

Gold Fields is one of the relatively more impactful when it comes to engagement with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) communities. The gold mining company has corporate guidelines that cover this issue. They also continue to make improvements since the 2018 Responsible Mining Index Report, which includes, for example, a revisited human rights policy that now refers to the company's support for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. They have also improved on reviewing their performance on preventing human rights abuses related to its security management, thanks to evidence of a company-wide review and implementation of corrective actions on this. Finally, they are associated with several leading practices, including a scorecard system linked to senior management's remuneration to ESG performance.  

Newmont

Newmont is one of the three most substantial companies when it comes to Community Wellbeing and Environmental Responsibility. They also rank as one of the five strongest in Economic Development and Lifecycle Management, and above average in Business Conduct and Working Conditions. When it comes to Environmental Responsibility, Newmont shows relatively stronger results on having systems designed to ensure its operations plan, implement water stewardship strategies, track its performance on biodiversity management, and take a systematic approach to assess and address its risks use and production of hazardous materials.

How CyanoGuard Can Help Improve your RMI Ranking

Our mission is to minimize toxic reagent usage, greenhouse gas emissions and improve precious metal recoveries for gold mines by providing a reliable, user-friendly, and intelligent real-time cyanide monitoring and optimization solution. We help mining companies achieve clear cost-saving and efficiency that positively impacts operations, financials, and long-term ESG credentials. Let's work towards a better planet on Earth Day and every day by working with tools and solutions that lead us to a more sustainable future. If you're a gold mining company, let's discuss how we can help you reach a better tomorrow.  


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