London, England — 12 April 2012 – The World Gold Council has unveiled its “Exposure Draft” of the conflict-free gold standard, aimed at creating absolute trust that the gold produced under its guidelines neither fuels armed conflict, nor funds armed groups, nor contributes to human rights abuses associated with these conflicts.

In a statement issued here, the Council said the standard had been developed in close collaboration with World Gold Council members, who had approved and agreed this “Exposure Draft” and were committed to implementing the final standard once available. “This reinforces our members’ commitment to the development of a truly sustainable gold mining industry,” it added.

The Council received input from a wide range of stakeholders including: NGOs, investors, governments, media and academics, following the publication of a first draft in June 2011. The “Exposure Draft” allows for further comment from interested parties before the final version is published. Consequently, further input from interested parties is requested by 30 June2012.

Implementation of the standard must be capable of being audited by external assurance providers, and the World Gold Council and its members will continue to work to ensure that it complements and integrates with other industry frameworks.

The standard is underpinned by a declaration of principles which include commitments to certain behaviours such as respecting human rights and ensuring payments are not made, directly or indirectly, to illegal armed groups.

World Gold Council chairman Ian Telfer commented, “We believe that, where it is responsibly undertaken, gold mining and its related activities can play a crucial role in achieving sustainable development and alleviating poverty in developing countries, as well as contributing to sustained economic growth in developed countries.”

The World Gold Council board member responsible for leading the development of the standard, Pierre Lassonde, continued, “The supply chain for gold is highly complex, and this standard represents a major step forward towards eradicating gold that fuels conflict from the legitimate supply chain. It is essential that we combat any misuse of gold.”

Source: World Gold Council. For more information, click here.