The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) has released a draft of an international industry standard designed to improve social and environmental performance in mining.
The goal of the Standard for Responsible Mining is to set in place certification schemes similar to those in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, which are based on independent third-party verification and in compliance with the Code of Good Practice outlined by ISEAL Alliance, the global association for sustainability standards.
“Each of us wants a future where mining companies make a positive contribution to local communities and minimize any impact on land and water, while serving the needs of modern society,” said Jon Samuel, group head of government and social affairs at Anglo American, in a news release. “Though we don’t always see eye to eye on every issue, IRMA has developed a draft set of leading-edge practices and a new definition of more responsible mining.”
IRMA is comprised of stakeholders from the mining industry, organized labour, non-governmental organizations, impacted communities, and business.
According to IRMA, the standard will cover mine sites, not mine companies, and will not certify extraction of energy fuels. The best practices for mining will include elements such as consideration of ecologically and culturally significant areas with regard to the location of the mine; reducing environmental impacts, such as habitat loss and pollution; health and safety provisions for workers; free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples; and transparency in revenue payments from companies to governments.
Stakeholders have been working for eight years to complete the first draft of the standard and are now seeking public feedback on the document.
The Standard for Responsible Mining can be viewed here: www.responsiblemining.net/irma-standard/.
The deadline for comments is Oct. 22.