Keep gold industry's image untarnished

Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Your March 26 article, "Mine industry prepares for new battles," fails to note that gold mining companies already spend millions of dollars on campaigns to promote gold consumption and jewelry sales. The World Gold Council is a marketing organization formed and funded by gold mining companies, including Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp., the parent company of Coeur Alaska, which is building the Kensington Mine in Southeast Alaska. In 2005, the council spent $51 million, primarily on advertising campaigns in India, China, the Middle East, United States, and Italy - the world's largest markets of gold consumption.

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According to its own materials, the World Gold Council also engaged in advocacy efforts, such as lobbying the U.S. government against a proposal to help fund debt relief for the world's poorest nations through sales of gold reserves held by the International Monetary Fund. The mining companies that are members of the World Gold Council account for more than 40 percent of all gold mining. Glitzy ad campaigns aside, perhaps the best thing the council can do to protect gold's reputation from being tarnished is to ensure that its members conduct their mining operations in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. It can start with a guarantee that Coeur Alaska won't turn Lower Slate Lake into a mine waste dump.

Radhika Sarin

Washington, D.C.

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