President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau Must Add ASGM Gold to Critical Mineral Strategy

By Dr. Kevin Telmer, Executive Director

VICTORIA, BC – Today, the President of the United States of America Joe Biden will visit Canada and meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for two days to discuss items of mutual interest to the two countries. It is critical that during this meeting, while the president and prime minister discuss critical minerals, they swiftly act to include gold, specifically gold from artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) operations, as a classification under critical minerals. 

“While not currently considered a critical mineral by either the United States or Canada, gold is critical for our continued technological development and advancement and it is a global currency for much of the rural poor in the developing world,” said Dr. Kevin Telmer, Executive Director of the Victoria, BC based Artisanal Gold Council (AGC). “Gold is absolutely crucial and if we want to consider the impact on the climate and the greatest potential for the economic advancement of the rural poor in the developing world, we must move faster to make ASGM a key component of a critical mineral strategy.”

AGC is a non-profit focused on reducing mercury use in ASGM operations and using technological innovations to help miners in developing countries recover a greater proportion of their gold. Twenty per cent of global gold comes into the global gold flow from the ASGM sector, while this sector is also the largest contributor to environmental mercury pollution. There are 80 countries where ASGM operations take place and AGC has worked to advance technology and skills development in 30 of these countries.

“Canada signed onto the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2013, the same year as the United States. Both countries have an opportunity, as we continue to move towards a world that embraces ESG principles, to formalize and professionalize ASGM operations throughout the developing world. We can reduce the use of mercury, increase the health of women and infants, and support economic freedom and social security. We need governments to invest long-term in this work. As we approach our 15th year in operations, we hope that bringing gold into the critical mineral strategy, and specifically ASGM, will be urgently considered.”