OPINION: The case for leaving gold in the ground – by Christopher Pollon (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2023)


We already have plenty of gold for its practical uses, yet we pay a heavy environmental and social price to extract more. Could we agree that enough is enough?

At Barrick Gold Corporation’s 2021 annual general meeting, I was waiting in an online queue with a few other journalists when my turn came to ask a question to chief executive Mark Bristow, who at that moment presided over the second-biggest gold mining company on Earth.

“At a recent mining conference, you were talking about ESG [environment, social and governance issues] and said, ‘Everyone uses metals from mining every day, but it’s an unloved industry, and we’ve got to change that.’ My question is, how is Barrick currently working to change that?”

Mr. Bristow thanked me for my question, and promptly instructed me to look around my office. “I don’t know where you live, but wherever you are, if you just look around yourself, and you take away everything that has been created through mining, you’ll feel very exposed.”

It was the fourth time I had been instructed by a mining industry professional to “look around” in the months spent researching my new book. During that time, I came to see it as more than a rhetorical question, or a defensive response. Especially if you live in a rich country, it is imperative that all of us take a careful look around us, in our rooms and homes, in our communities, in our places of work – as the first step to becoming aware of the metals we consume and, more importantly, the cost at which we rely upon them. Only by doing this can we begin to determine what resources we need – and what we do not.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-case-for-leaving-gold-in-the-ground/