The conditions under which artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) gold is produced and the ways in which this gold comes to market are of interest and concern to the gold industry and a wide range of other stakeholders. These stakeholders include the governments of both ASGM producing countries and significant gold importers and traders, industry associations including the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the World Gold Council (WGC) and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), luxury brands that use gold, bullion banks, civil society activists and NGOs - and particularly those working to create legitimate and legal paths to market for ASM gold and to increase ASM miner incomes – as well as gold consumers who are concerned about how the gold that they buy is produced.

For over a decade, debate and discussion both fruitful and fruitless has taken place on these issues between various combinations of stakeholders, not least during the annual Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) responsible minerals sourcing conference in Paris. We have in the following pages engaged to a degree with this debate, for example in our analysis of the current largely compliance-orientated approach of the LBMA and its membership with regards ASM, compared to advocacy from international NGOs and the OECD secretariat for an approach based more on risk mitigation, partnership and a mutual commitment towards continuous improvement.

We have, nonetheless, sought in the main to take market players and market incentives as they are rather than as how we or others might wish them to be, and to make proposals and recommendations on that basis. The report’s primary, though not its exclusive, audience is intended to be the LBMA and its members, and particularly its Good Delivery List (GDL) refiners, for whom we:

  • Make the case for increasing the current level of GDL refining of ASM gold;
  • Examine the obstacles to increasing ASM gold volumes going through GDL refiners;
  • Make proposals to remove or mitigate the impact of these obstacles, so that more responsibly mined ASM gold can be refined by GDL refiners; and
  • Propose ways that those committed to doing so can go further.