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New standard for responsible mining released

28 June, 2018IndustriALL Global Union welcomes the release of the Standard for Responsible Mining today, a ground-breaking global certification programme for industrial-scale mine sites launched by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). 

The Standard for Responsible Mining’s best practice requirements include elements such as health and safety for workers, human rights, community engagement, pollution control, mining in conflict-affected areas, rights of indigenous peoples, transparency in revenue payments from companies to governments, and land reclamation once mining is done. 

An online Responsible Mining Map was also launched today that will allow responsible producers and purchasers of minerals to demonstrate their commitment to a responsible minerals value chain and make contact to enable business relationships to develop.

IndustriALL and its affiliate the United Steelworkers have been closely involved in developing the new Standard, which is independent and relies on third-party verification. IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, says: 

“This is a big moment for the mining industry. The Standard seeks to ensure that labour rights are upheld, in particular the question of neutrality and the right of workers to collective bargaining and freedom of association. It puts the protection of workers at the fore and will drive improvements in mining from the bottom up.”

The Standard for Responsible Mining, which has been ten years in the making, is a collaboration between labour, mining companies, downstream businesses like jewelers and electronics companies, civil society, and impacted communities. It has support from leading companies like Anglo American, ArcelorMittal, Microsoft and Tiffany & Co.

“As interest in the responsible sourcing of metals and minerals grows it is important to have standards that meet the needs of the wide variety of customers that mining serves, and address the expectations of society as a whole,” says Jon Samuel, Group Head of Social Performance and Engagement at Anglo American. “We look forward to trialling the IRMA Self-Assessment Tool and to continuing to contribute to the development of IRMA as a demonstration of our commitment to responsible mining.”

IRMA has also worked with host mines and technical experts to conduct two field tests of the Standard for Responsible Mining to test the Standard through simulated mine audits in the United States and in Zimbabwe. The international certification process assesses individual mining sites and not companies as a whole. 

“The Standard for Responsible Mining responds to the power of markets to create greater incentive and leverage for protection of the environment and the communities who live closest to mines,” said Aimee Boulanger, IRMA Coordinator. “The Standard for Responsible Mining will offer shared value to corporations who seek to make a profit, while also offering an ethical value chain to their customers.”