One of the most versatile metals, gold is used in jewellery, electronics, and as a store of wealth.

Gold (Au)

Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all elements. While jewellery accounts for approximately half of the global gold demand, it is also an important metal in electronics and is used as a semiconductor, printed circuit and electrical contact.

China is the leading producer of gold, although Australia holds the largest share of global reserves. China is also the world’s largest consumer of gold. Switzerland reportedly refines over half of the world’s gold. Gold is associated with a large range of ESG issues.

According to TDi’s ESG data, gold is strongly associated with reports of pollution, community rights violations, violence and conflict, labour rights, child labour, corruption, and non-payment of taxes. This is due to a variety of reasons, including the fact that approximately 15-20 percent of gold is produced through artisanal and small-scale mining, which is largely unregulated and – in the most extreme cases – subject to influence from organised criminal or non-state armed groups.

Main Uses and Attributes

Gold has many uses, making it a highly valuable metal. It is used in jewellery, metalwork, as a financial instrument including currency reserve (for example, bullion or coins), and in computer processors.1

Gold has long been used in electronics; its use in electronics including semiconductors, printed circuits and electrical contacts is common.2 Gold also has medical use as it is used for dental fillings and in medicine including radiography.3

The usefulness of gold derives from the diversity of its special properties. Gold is one of the densest of all metals.4 It is lustrous, highly durable, soft, and resistant to corrosion.5 It has high electrical conductivity, high thermal conductivity, and is the most malleable and the most ductile of all elements.6

Main Uses

  • Currency
  • Electronics
  • Jewellery
  • Metal Alloys
  • Printed Circuit Boards

Key Industries

  • Electronics and Communications
  • Financial Services
  • Jewellery

Key Countries

Top Producer China
Top Reserves Australia

Supply Chain Risk

TDi assesses Gold for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.

Overall Supply Chain Resilience Risk
Strength of Association with ASM
Very Low Moderate Very High

Country Governance Risks

Gold's association with countries experiencing:

Violence and Conflict
Weak Rule of Law
Poor Human Rights
Poor Environmental Governance
Very Low Moderate Very High

Association with ESG issues

TDi Sustainability's data rates Gold's association with the following issues as high or very high:

Child Labour
Labour Rights
Company/Community Conflicts
Community Rights Violations
Non-Payment of Taxes
Very Low Moderate Very High

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