Extractive industries regularly garner bad press for negative social and environmental impacts. However, we have seen first-hand the immensely beneficial impact that a well-run mining company with rigorous CSR standards can have on communities.
The SMO mark is designed to ensure not only that the gold is traceable to a single mine, but that the mine is operated to the best international standards and is socially and environmentally responsible.
There is already a proliferation of Standards defining what constitutes responsible mining. Rather than creating a brand-new Standard, SMO bases its assessment of what constitutes a responsibly run mine on the existing IFC Performance Standards of Environmental & Social Responsibility and the World Gold Council Responsible Gold Mining Principles. The core principle is that a mine must have a framework of procedures in place to demonstrate best practice in terms of:
• Employment Practices
• Health & Safety
• Environmental Stewardship
• Community Engagement
• Corporate Governance
Mines must demonstrate their compliance with this principle and are subject to audit to verify this. The assessment of Hummingbird’s Yanfolila mine can be found here.
The SMO standard does not, however, stop with the mine. Best practice should also be adhered to throughout the refining and manufacturing process. SMO gold remains segregated and traceable through both the refining and manufacturing process. Refining must be in compliance with the LBMA Gold Code and both refiners and manufacturers must be Responsible Jewellery Council Certified.