TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) on Tuesday released the second and revised draft Standard for Responsible Mining for a sixty-day review and public comment period, ahead of the first-ever global certification programme for industrial-scale mine sites, planned to begin in late 2016.
This second draft of the standard reflected the input from over 1 400 points of comment contributed by more than 70 organisations and individuals worldwide, including industry and technical experts, the initiative reported.
Further, in October 2015 and March this year, IRMA conducted two field tests of the standard to ground-truth the draft standard through simulated mine audits in the US and in Zimbabwe. Auditors hired by IRMA reviewed company documentation, made first-hand observations at the mine site, and conducted interviews with company representatives and other stakeholders to verify the requirements in the standard were clear, practicable, and measurable.
With growing awareness and demand for ecologically and socially-responsible products jewellers, electronics businesses and others had sought assurances that the minerals they purchased were mined responsibly. The standard sought to emulate for industrial-scale mine sites what had been done with certification programmes in organic agriculture, responsible forestry and sustainable fisheries.
“Microsoft believes that fairly applied global mining standards such as outlined in the Standard for Responsible Mining are key to helping solve labour, human rights, and environmental issues at the far reaches of industry’s supply chains. Collaborative initiatives like these can help improve practices associated with mining of metal ores at their source, which is why we work closely with and support IRMA,” stated Microsoft compliance and safety GM Joan Krajewski.
The draft standard was the result of ten years of collaboration between groups from the mining industry, organised labour, nongovernmental organisations, impacted communities, and businesses.
The standard’s best practice requirements for mining included 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 was done.
Stakeholders and the general public were invited to participate in this next round of feedback and input. After the 5 June comment deadline, the steering committee would make another set of revisions to the draft standard and release the final standard late this year.