Purpose of the Document

The Responsible Silver Guidance (RSG) outlines the responsible sourcing requirements for all LBMA refiners producing Good Delivery Silver bars (Refiners). Refiners must demonstrate conformance with all sections of this Guidance and the associated Refiners Toolkit to remain on the LBMA Good Delivery List (GDL). An LBMA Responsible Silver Certificate is only issued to GDL Refiners that have successfully passed LBMA’s annual responsible sourcing review process, supported by an independent assurance on conformance with the RSG. An organisation applying to be an LBMA Good Delivery accredited Silver Refiner must first implement this Guidance and pass an annual assurance covering a 12-month period to support their application process.

Each Refiner must apply the RSG proportionally to its business activities and to those involved in its silver supply chains. Proportionate application does not mean different standards for different institutions – it is a recognition of the differing levels of size, complexity, nature of engagement and sophistication of silver producers and refiners worldwide.

Refiners retain ultimate responsibility for the scope and quality of their due diligence activities, for the actions taken to respond to actual adverse impacts or the identified risks of adverse impacts, and for public reporting on the steps undertaken to protect their supply chains.

Applicable Laws

However, the overarching requirement of the RSG is that all Refiners must be aware of, and comply with, the laws, rules and regulations applicable to them and the precious metals market in each jurisdiction in which they do business (Applicable Laws). This guidance does not provide a legal defence to a violation of any Applicable Laws. It is expected that all parties directly involved in the silver supply chain, including upstream producers, comply with all Applicable Laws.

Long-lasting relationships

Refiners should also forge close long-lasting relationships with all relevant stakeholders, in order to provide material benefits to everyone concerned. Best practice is for Refiners to report material risks in their supply chains and mitigate these risks by developing programmes where short-term actions support a long-term future by attracting and retaining upstream and downstream counterparties, and by having a clear focus on the durability of supply chains.

LBMA encourages initiatives facilitating responsible and sustainable supply chains for all forms of mining in areas considered as Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (CAHRAs). Refiners are strongly encouraged, with reference to Appendix 1 of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance Gold Supplement, [6] to consider measures to create economic and development opportunities for Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners and assist legitimate Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners to build secure, transparent and verifiable silver supply chains from mine to market. LBMA encourages Refiners to work together with national governments, central banks, donor agencies, industry associations and large-scale mining to support Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM), as appropriate. However, Refiners must ensure that no silver from ASM or Large-Scale Mining (LSM) is sourced from an area designated as a World Heritage Site, subject to any specific exemptions. The only permissible exception to this rule is where the Refiner provides official confirmation that the mining of Silver is legally permitted at the particular World Heritage Site. Refiners must ensure when sourcing from a location designated by a national government as ‘Protected’ that such sourcing is undertaken within the local regulatory or legislative framework.

[6] OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, April 2016

Five-Step Due Diligence Framework

The RSG is based on the OECD’s Five-Step due diligence framework for sourcing minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance Gold Supplement.

Figure 3: OECD Five-Step due diligence Framework

Figure 4: LBMA RSG Five-Step Due Diligence Framework