The gold industry is committed to supporting the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the progress being made towards achieving the SDGs, the World Gold Council (WGC) notes.
It highlights that this has made the contributions of industry even more important, with SDG 3, ‘Promoting Health and Well-Being', at the forefront of that commitment.
According to a new paper published by the WGC, titled ‘Gold and Gold Mining’s Contribution to SDG 3’, gold has an essential role in fighting Covid-19 – with rapid diagnostic tests relying on gold nanoparticles for quick and reliable results.
The same technology is used for malaria tests, for instance, with 350-million manufactured in 2019 alone.
Moreover, the report indicates that gold is showing huge promise in treating different diseases. For example, Auranofin, a US Food and Drug Administration-approved drug, is in clinical trials to potentially treat some cancers, parasitic and bacterial infections, HIV and even neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Gold is also said to be at the cutting edge of nanotechnology – as a vehicle to carry drugs into tumours, or to be heated using a laser to potentially destroy cancerous cells without the need for drugs.
Further, the paper states that gold is also being used to reduce malaria incidence per 1 000 population. Examples of this include Golden Star reducing malaria rate to under 0.25 per capita at and around its site in Ghana; and Endeavour Mining reducing the group-level malaria incidence rate by 36% in 2020.
“The SDGs are becoming increasingly urgent as 2030 inches closer, with progress threatening to stall as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Gold and gold mining have an important role to play.
“The focus of SDG 3 on good health and well-being is more relevant than ever. In recent months, the global community has relied on gold to provide quick Covid-19 test results, as gold forms an essential component in many lateral flow tests.
“Gold is also increasingly becoming an important component of other healthcare applications, including drug delivery,” WGC CFO Terry Heymann says.
He says council members are committed to advancing progress towards SDG 3, playing an important role in helping their host nations and communities improve health outcomes.
“Over the last 18 months, this has included a focus on tackling the pandemic, but mining companies have also played a leading role in implementing malaria programmes that reduce cases significantly, tackling tuberculosis and HIV infections, as well as providing training to help reduce neonatal mortality rates,” he points out.