How to measure responsibility in mining

The mining industry has global standards for operations, production and health and safety, but few, if any, exist for the nebulous zone of social and environmental responsibility. Until now.

This week, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) released a draft Standard for Responsible Mining for public comment, designed to improve social and environmental performance at mine sites.

Strange bedfellows working as one

IRMA was formed in 2006 and is made up of representative from all of the stakeholder groups affected by mining, including mining companies, NGOs, impacted communities, organised labour groups and business.  A diverse group often at odds with each other when it comes to mining!

“Each of us wants a future where mining companies make a positive contribution to local communities and minimise any impact on land and water, while serving the needs of modern society,” said Jon Samuel, Group Head of Government and Social Affairs at international mining company Anglo American.

“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.”

While the environmental sections of the standard seem straightforward and measurable, the social responsibility sections will be tougher to agree on and monitor.

Have your say

Feedback on the draft standard is invited from the public, businesses and other affected stakeholders.  Visit www.responsiblemining.net for further details.

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