Author: Firas Abbasi, MBA, CFA
Business and Investment Specialist, Artisanal Gold Council
Earlier this month, planetGOLD hosted an exhibit at the 2020 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention—the world’s largest mining and mineral exploration convention—to talk about socially responsible investing opportunities in artisanal & small-scale gold mining and to highlight planetGOLD's work with 9 countries to promote safe, cost-effective ASGM mining practices that benefit everyone, from mine to market. The planetGOLD programme was represented by myself and my colleagues from the Artisanal Gold Council, which is providing financial outreach for the programme. (The conference took place March 1-4, just prior to widespread travel restrictions and bans on public gatherings in Canada due to the emerging global COVID-19 outbreak.)
Our home base during the conference was the planetGOLD booth, located on the Investors’ Floor. Our booth was located next to the arcade, which was a popular spot! We had a steady stream of visitors, including some investors representing family offices and socially responsible funds. There was strong interest in understanding the ASGM industry and planetGOLD’s mission to improve access to finance for ASGM operators to sustain healthy and environmentally sound gold production. Some investors were not aware of the size of the mercury use problem in gold extraction and were thankful for the program’s efforts to raise awareness of the issue.
We also welcomed engineers, business consultants, and supply chain and mining technology experts who were familiar with ASGM. Our discussions revolved around the challenges faced to transform a decades-old industry.
Our team took the opportunity to attend investor seminars that discussed potential ways for commodity-based producers to access the capital markets. The presentations provided ideas on possibly applicable ASGM investment arrangements, and it was also an opportunity to network with interested investors. Impact investing was a recurring theme, as issuers continue to feel pressure from investment funds to adhere to a variety of sustainability measures.
We also participated in the annual Sustainability Forum put on by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), PDAC, and the World Economic Forum. The workshop highlighted the need for education, leadership, collaboration, and a longer-term perspective to operate sustainable industries while having a positive environmental, social, and economic impact on the global community.
Most of the people we spoke with at PDAC were encouraged by plantGOLD’s mission, with many voicing their desire to help us support more sustainable practices in the ASGM industry. We took note of interested parties and look forward to follow-up discussions with them in the weeks and months to come.
If you are interested in learning more about sustainable ASGM operations, send us a note at email@example.com or leave a comment below.