LONDON--The global body charged with promoting gold has handed a new issues-related brief to MSLGroup, amid a regulatory crackdown on 'conflict gold'.

The Holmes Report understands that the World Gold Council selected existing agency-of-record MSLGroup following a competitive pitch.

Fees are expected to be in the seven-figure range, with the brief focusing on specific legislative issues affecting the gold industry. The US government last year passed legislation requiring companies to disclose whether they use ‘conflict gold’ from the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring countries. Final rules regarding implementation of the relevant sections of law are due by the end of this year.

In response, the World Gold Council has unveiled a system by which newly-mined gold could be certified as ‘conflict-free’. These standards are currently being tested by member companies, while a consultation has sought views from governments, NGOs, investors, consumers, and other participants in the gold supply chain.

MSLGroup won the World Gold Council’s global AOR brief, worth upwards of £1m, at the end of 2009 - with the business led by Capital MSL in Europe, and MSLGroup in the US and Asia.

Representatives from both the World Gold Council and MSLGroup declined to comment.

Based in the UK, the World Gold Council aims to boost demand for the metal from industry, consumers and investors, working across the financial, jewellery and technology sectors. The organisation’s mission also includes an active public affairs component.