Global Recognition

The Cyanide Code is the internationally recognized benchmark for best management practices for cyanide used in the gold and silver mining industry.  It is estimated that more than half of the world’s annual commercial gold production from primary gold mines using cyanide is produced by mining companies participating in the Cyanide Code program.

The Cyanide Code’s success is also demonstrated by the recognition it has received by governments, multilateral organizations, NGOs, international organizations, and financial institutions, and its incorporation into other initiatives for the protection of health and the environment.

Recognition by International Organizations

The Group of Eight (G8), the international forum for the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, recognized the importance of the Cyanide Code in a communique issued during its 2007 annual meeting (G8-Gipfel, 2007).

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides funds for mine development projects, incorporated the Cyanide Code when it updated its EHS Guidelines for Mining in 2007, and in place of its own standards, requires (IFC, 2007) that mines seeking its financial assistance operate in a manner “consistent with the principles and standards of practice of [Cyanide] Code.”  The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD, 2012) similarly requires Cyanide Code compliance in their loan agreements to gold mines or otherwise encourage projects they fund that use cyanide to implement the Cyanide Code.

The gold industry’s leading organization, the World Gold Council, has voiced support for the Cyanide Code and incorporated it in their Responsible Gold Mining Principles.  Similarly, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the standards body for the production of responsible jewelry, requires its mining members that use cyanide have the applicate sites Cyanide Code certified.

Guidelines for Social Responsibility in Outbound Mining Investments issued by the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters encourages Chinese companies to ensure that applicable sites are certified to the Cyanide Code.

Recognition by National Agencies

A number of national governments have recommended that industry manage cyanide consistent with the Cyanide Code, while others use the Cyanide Code as a tool for evaluating for permitting mining operations and regulating them.  One example is Environment Canada’s Environmental Code of Practice for Metal Mines ( 2009), which recommends that cyanide management planning and the transportation, storage, use, and disposal of cyanide and cyanide-related materials be done “in a manner consistent with practices described in the International Cyanide Management Code.”

In Australia, the 2010 evaluation of the risks posed by sodium cyanide conducted as part of the Australian National Industrial Chemicals’ Notification and Assessment Scheme (Australian Government Department of Health, 2010) repeatedly references Cyanide Code requirements and characterizes it as “an excellent initiative to lift international standards and demonstrate the environmental commitment of an operator.”  In addition, the Western Australia Dangerous Goods Programme accepts Cyanide Code certification of gold mines in lieu of some of its own requirements for cyanide storage facilities.  Australian regulators have credited reductions by the Australian gold mining industry in the incidence of environmental impacts, regulatory noncompliance, and community resistance to compliance with the Cyanide Code .

Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency has incorporated the Cyanide Code into its AKOBEN program, which is an environmental performance rating and disclosure initiative used for mining and manufacturing operations.  The program assesses environmental performance using a five-color rating scheme that requires gold mines to be Cyanide Code certified to achieve the highest rating level.  In Tanzania, the implementation and adherence to the Cyanide Code by the gold mining industry is required under several mining and environmental management acts and regulations.