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A New World in Mining
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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)

The 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, profitable way.

IRMA 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 environment.

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:

Mine Location

Whenever possible, mine owners and operators will carefully weigh land and resource use options and preserve ecologically and culturally significant areas.

Environmental Management

Mining operators will aim to reduce the environmental impact from habitat loss and pollution during all stages of mine development.

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 broadly.

Corporate Governance

Mine owners and operators will maintain transparency in revenue payments from companies to governments and report on progress made toward implementing responsible practices.

More information about responsible mining can be found on the IRMA website.



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