In December 2022 a legal case was filed against the London Bullion Market Association for severe human rights abuses at a mine. The case argues that LBMA held responsibility because the gold from the mine went to a refiner that had been certified by LBMA.
If this case is successful, it will be precedent-setting. It will mean that certification bodies can be held legally responsible and liable for impacts linked to a certified site if the impacts were covered by the certification and ‘should have’ been identified.
- In December 2022, a legal case was filed against the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) on behalf of families of two artisanal miners for the deaths of two artisanal minors at a gold mine in Tanzania.
- The claimants allege that LBMA had a legal obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the miners (i.e. duty of care) because the gold from the mine went to a refiner that had been certified by LBMA.
- The claimants allege that LBMA did not take proper steps to respond to allegations of systematic abuses and/or to prevent the occurrence of future serious human rights abuses at the mine. They argue that LBMA knew (or should have known) about the severe human rights abuses and continued to recertify the refiner that was sourcing gold from the site as a “Good Delivery” refiner.
- The claimants allege that the recertification falsely signaled to global markets, consumers, investors, governments and trade bodies that no human rights abuses were associated with gold from the mine and allowed human rights abuses to continue “unabated”.
- The case is being represented by the Law Firm Leigh Day.
- Companies are relying on certifications to enable them to meet upcoming EU due diligence legislation. However, certifications are coming under increased legal scrutiny. We are tracking a number of legal and consumer authority cases involving certifications.
- Companies need to carry out due diligence on the certifications that they are relying on for high-risk issues to determine if they are fit for purpose and systematically and effectively assessing for the severe human rights and environmental impacts within scope. This is urgent in light of the upcoming EU Forced labour ban.