WASHINGTON, DC – On April 5 the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) released the revised draft of its Standard for Responsible Mining (www.ResponsibleMining.net/irma-standard/) for a 60-day review and public comment period ahead of the first-ever global certification program for mine sites, planned to begin in late 2016.
With growing awareness and demand for ecologically and socially responsible products jewelers, electronics businesses and others have sought assurances that the minerals they purchase are mined responsibly. The Standard seeks to emulate for mine sites what has been done with certification programs in organic agriculture, responsible forestry and sustainable fisheries.
The Standard’s best practice requirements for mining 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.
The new draft of the Standard for Responsible Mining reflects the input from over 1,400 points of comment contributed by more than 70 organizations and individuals worldwide, including industry and technical experts. Additionally, in October 2015 and March 2016, IRMA conducted two field tests of the Standard to test the draft Standard through simulated mine audits in the United States 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 are clear, practicable, and measurable.
Stakeholders and the general public are invited to participate in this next round of feedback and input. After the June 5, 2016, comment deadline, the steering committee will make another set of revisions to the draft Standard for Responsible Mining and release the final Standard in late 2016.