Firms including Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore and BHP are among the ICMM members that will have to adopt new sustainability-focused mining principles
New membership conditions have been set by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) today, establishing a range of new good-practice principles for companies seeking to be a part of the organisation.
The Mining Principles framework updates a set of existing ethical and sustainability standards, which had been in place since 2003, and include site-level validation and performance disclosure arrangements.
The charter will be applied to both new and existing members of the trade association, which currently comprises 27 companies and 36 associations overseeing around 650 mining and metals assets in more than 50 countries.
World’s biggest miners will have to adopt new ICMM Mining Principles
Some of the biggest names in the mining industry are counted among the ICMM’s membership – many as founding members – including the likes of Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore and BHP.
ICMM chief operating officer Aidan Davy said: “Mining and metals are critically important to society – as a catalyst for sustainable social and economic progress and as essential materials for the technologies needed to address climate change – but they must be produced responsibly.
“Societal expectations of the mining industry encompass a broad range of environmental, social and governance challenges. Our aim has been to develop a holistic set of requirements that establish a benchmark for responsible mining practices.
“ICMM’s Mining Principles will support our members to supply the increasing demand for metals and minerals, while giving confidence to customers and other stakeholders that they have been produced responsibly.
“We encourage all mining companies to embrace good practice environmental, social and governance requirements.”
ICMM’s focus aligned with UN’s climate and sustainability goal
The new guidelines follow a wide-ranging consultation by the trade body for the introduction of a set of performance expectations for members to manage a broad range of sustainability issues, including labour rights, resettlement, gender, access to grievance mechanisms, mine closure, pollution and waste.
They are an attempt to “maximise the industry’s benefits to host communities” while minimising the negative impacts of the industry on the local areas in which it operates.
The ICMM’s initiative forms part of a broader international effort to improve sustainability and environmental targets laid out by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Ten core principle have been outlined by the new framework, ranging from stakeholder engagement and contribution to the development of host countries right through to resource recycling, respect for human rights and ethical corporate strategy.
The validation process will involve a mix of self-assessments and independent, third-party assessments, coupled with transparent disclosure of the outcomes.