A gold mine in Papua New Guinea has been linked to child labour ©  kickers/Getty Images
A gold mine in Papua New Guinea has been linked to child labour © kickers/Getty Images

Perth Mint suspends purchases from small suppliers

22 June 2020

State-owned Western Australian gold refiner the Perth Mint has launched an audit and suspended purchasing from small, artisanal suppliers after being accused of unethical sourcing of gold.

Perth Mint, one of the world’s largest gold refiners, took action after a mine in Papua New Guinea was linked to child labour.

State premier Mark McGowan is also reported to have ordered an urgent review of how the mint evaluates suppliers, while the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is also reviewing the mint following the allegations.

Sam Walsh, chair of Gold Corporation, which operates the mint, said: “I have initiated an independent third-party review of the Perth Mint’s audit processes. The review will also assess the arrangements with licensed counterparties that may deal with artisanal small-scale mining [ASM].

“Effective immediately as part of this process, the Perth Mint has suspended relationships with all companies and aggregators dealing with ASM.”

Walsh said he remained confident the mint complied fully with all regulatory requirements and responsible gold guidelines set out by the industry’s governing bodies.

Perth Mint CEO Richard Hayes said the LBMA conducted an independent audit of its sourcing practices each year.

“I have made it clear that the Perth Mint does not endorse or condone child labour. We have not, and will not, engage with companies which exploit minors for commercial gain,” he said.

“In our commitment to boycott conflict gold, we are vigilant in our assessments of the companies from which we source gold and other metals for processing.

“We have turned away numerous refining opportunities where we are not satisfied the mining company meets our expected operating and ESG standards.”

☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.

CIPS Knowledge
Find out more with CIPS Knowledge:
  • best practice insights
  • guidance
  • tools and templates