A New World in Mining
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
“Modern societies rely on mining,
minerals and metals to function. Nearly everything in the built environment –
from buildings to roads to computers and trains – contains materials extracted
from the Earth’s surface.” (IRMA website)
world is constantly changing, even in industries with long histories, like
mining. From new technologies to updated safety requirements, mining practices
are improving all the time. The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance
(IRMA) is one organization working to help the process along in a sustainable,
recognizes that mining is a complex and intensive process that has
environmental and social impacts wherever it occurs. The goals of the organization
are that the mining industry can move toward greater respect of human rights by
providing ever safer and healthier workplaces while also minimizing harm to the
The organization was founded in 2006
by a coalition of NGOs, businesses, community groups, mining companies, and
trade unions. In 2014 the group released a Draft Standard for Responsible
Mining, which outlines standards for environmental and social issues including
labor and human rights, respect for indigenous peoples and cultural heritage,
conflict response, pollution control, and site closure.
Draft IRMA Standard for Responsible
Mining (English pdf version)
Borrador del Estándar de Minería Responsable (Spanish pdf version)
IRMA expects to begin certifying
mines this year.
If your organization wants to pursue
responsible mining certification, how will it affect your current and future
practices? Elements of responsible mining practices include:
Whenever possible, mine owners and
operators will carefully weigh land and resource use options and preserve
ecologically and culturally significant areas.
Mining operators will aim to reduce
the environmental impact from habitat loss and pollution during all stages of
Workers and Affected Communities
Mine operators and owners will
address issues related to the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous
peoples for mining, health and safety provisions, and sharing benefits more
Mine owners and operators will
maintain transparency in revenue payments from companies to governments and
report on progress made toward implementing responsible practices.
information about responsible mining can be found on the IRMA website.