Canadian Mining Journal


CANADIAN MINING PERSPECTIVES – How to assess the environmental risks of metals

LONDON, U.K. - The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MINING & METALS (ICMM) has released a new publication titled "Metals En...

LONDON, U.K. – The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MINING & METALS (ICMM) has released a new publication titled “Metals Environmental Risk Assessment Guidance” (MERAG). It is the result of a three-year project developed in response to the growing trend of reversing the burden of proof that metals are safe. Nowhere is this trend more evident than in Europe, as demonstrated by the EU’s new chemicals management legislation, REACH. Ensuring that risk assessment methodologies are adapted to reflect the specificities of metals and minerals is therefore vital to allow fair assessment and comparison in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

The MERAG project developed a comprehensive set of the most advanced and appropriate scientific concepts for assessing the environmental risks posed by metals and inorganic metal compounds. These concepts are presented in a series of eight fact sheets that have been peer-reviewed by a panel of leading independent scientists. The fact sheets are intended to be ‘living documents’ and will be updated and supplemented as the science continues to evolve.

MERAG concepts are already being used in several countries, including the United States. According to Dr. Anne Fairbrother of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, MERAG is “an important source of relevant science about metals and was valuable in the development of our Framework for Metals Risk Assessment.”

For mining and metals companies this initiative is an important aspect of materials stewardship, whereby companies are extending their interest beyond the plant gate and considering the whole life cycle of their products.

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