David Woodford, General Manager, Perth Mint Refinery, reports on the Conflict-Free Smelter Program.
The Perth Mint’s endorsement under the internationally recognised Conflict-Free Smelter Program will provide further customer assurance that our gold is obtained from ethically trustworthy sources.
As with blood diamonds, ‘conflict minerals’ are alleged to be traded by armed groups for financial gain in war-torn areas of Africa. The problem primarily affects the Democratic Republic of Congo, where local militias are reported to demand taxes, bribes or other payments for the country’s rich mineral deposits.
Minerals smuggled out of the DRC are shipped to smelters around the world for refinement. Once the minerals are processed, it’s difficult to trace their origin. Conflict minerals, including gold, can end up being used in many applications, including products popular with global consumers.
Developed by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, the voluntary Conflict-Free Smelter Program provides credible third-party evaluation of a smelter’s procurement activities.
The Perth Mint is one of the first three gold refiners to demonstrate compliance with the Program’s validation protocols, which covers new gold production from mines and recycling, and withdrawal from existing stocks of gold.
As one of the largest gold refiners in the world, we take our responsibility to avoid conflict minerals extremely seriously, which is reflected in our own Conflict Metals Policy.
With increasing private ownership of gold in the form of bullion bars and coins, this is also an issue for many investors on whose behalf we are committed to providing socially responsible products.
Our positive assessment under the Conflict-Free Smelter Program is a powerful demonstration of our determination to ensure that our refining operations remain conflict metal free.