July 10, 2012 – The Perth Mint is one of the first three gold refiners in the world to be certified under the internationally recognised Conflict-Free Smelter Program.
Developed by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and Global e-Sustainability Initiative, the voluntary Conflict-Free Smelter Program provides credible third-party valuation of a smelter’s procurement activities.
Operating one of the largest gold refineries in the world, The Perth Mint is committed to boycotting conflict gold and other minerals. “We are aware that gold mined in conflict countries has the potential to make its way to our refinery, so we are vigilant in our investigations into the credibility of our sources,” said David Woodford, Refinery General Manager at The Perth Mint.
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Refining the total of Australia’s gold production, as well as gold doré from surrounding countries, and gold jewellery scrap from Australian and Asian markets, the Mint acknowledges that it is impossible to determine the origins of all recycled, second-hand or scrap gold.
“By abiding by the recommendations of several industry initiatives, including London Bullion Market Association’sResponsible Gold Guidance, the World Gold Council’s Conflict-Free Gold Standard and the EICC / GeSI Conflict-Free Smelter Program, we believe we are doing everything in our power to meet industry best practice,” said Mr Woodford.
A positive assessment under the Conflict-Free Smelter Program’s validation protocols gives Perth Mint customers further assurance that the gold which passes through its refining facility is obtained from ethically trustworthy sources. “This compliance will allow us to also supply gold to some of the world’s leading electronic companies,” Mr Woodford continued.
Conflict minerals are allegedly traded by militia groups in war-torn areas of Africa for financial gain to purportedly fund or benefit armed conflict and levels of violence which contribute to the abuse of human rights.
Minerals smuggled out of these areas are shipped to smelters around the world for refinement, once processed, it is difficult to trace their origin. Conflict minerals, including gold, can end up being used in many applications, including popular consumer products such as mobile phones, televisions and laptops, to name a few.
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 The Perth Mint is committed to providing socially responsible products.