Yearly Archives: 2020

Carrizal Case StudyBlog

First IRMA Audit Report published: Carrizal’s Zimapán Mine

Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) took a bold step toward increasing transparency in the mining sector. With the release of the certification system’s first audit report (view report in Spanish), IRMA is demonstrating the type of clear, consistent reporting it provides for all stakeholders with an interest in mining. The release of this first audit report presents IRMA’s vision for the future of minerals sourcing—one in which information is readily available and objectively verified.

IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining represents a precedent-setting definition for responsible mining and also provides an unprecedented depth of information, opening the pathway to constructive conversation among diverse stakeholders, including those living closest to mines around the world. Through a certification system that is accountable to all stakeholders, IRMA seeks to drive meaningful, positive change in the mining industry.

A core tenet of IRMA is to improve accountability in the mining sector through increased transparency, with a commitment to sharing audit results publicly as a prerequisite for a mine to be independently audited. The first company to release a report in IRMA’s system is Carrizal Mining, a medium-sized lead, zinc, copper and silver miner in Mexico. Following an independent, third-party audit of the mine carried out by the IRMA-approved firm ERM Certification and Verification Services, Carrizal’s Zimapán Mine achieved IRMA Transparency, meaning it was assessed against all of IRMA’s relevant requirements and agreed to share its results publicly.

IRMA’s ultimate goal is to drive value for improved social and environmental responsibility in mining. Carrizal has shown how engaging in IRMA and undergoing an audit helps a mine on that journey. Their first step was self-assessment, followed by investments in improvements before the audit. Now, Carrizal’s leadership is using the audit results as a guide for where to focus next. By using the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining as a guidebook throughout its journey, Carrizal Mining has taken important steps to learn where its mining practices meet global best practice and where there is room for further change. Most importantly, the mine’s leadership has used its engagement in IRMA to plan for improvements in its performance over time.


  • View the Carrizal (Zimapán) Mine Audit Report (English and Spanish)

  • Learn about Carrizal’s journey in the case study “Responsible Mining Begins with Transparency.” (English and Spanish)

  • View IRMA’s Press Release for the Carrizal Audit Report (English and Spanish)

Barro Alto Mine Site Assessment Announcement

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Barro Alto nickel mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The Barro Alto mine, located in Brazil, is operated by Anglo American Brasil. For more information on Barro Alto mine check out their profile on the Responsible Mining Map.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an on-site audit (stage 2).

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can visit the Mines Under Assessment page of IRMA’s website to view up-to-date information on the Barro Alto assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results).

Mine site stakeholders are invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of the Barro Alto mine (in particular, how the mine measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Barro Alto mine stakeholders may also contact ERM-CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process.

Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed as part of the audit process should be submitted by email or mail to:


ERM Certification and Verification Services


Mail: Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8A

Please forward this announcement, and feel free to contact ERM-CVS directly to provide names and contact information for other mine site stakeholders who may be interested in knowing about and participating in the mine site assessment process.

For more information on the Barro Alto Mine Site Assessment, contact IRMA’s Director of Standards and Assurance:

For general information on the IRMA mine site assessment and certification process, visit the IRMA website.


A Call for Urgent Support for S. African Communities Facing Covid-19

The majority of our communities live in desperate poverty and the Covid-19 Lock Down is set to multiply the misery experienced by so many South Africans…

Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) and
Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA)

We reach out to you during these critical times for your urgent assistance to support those who will face the coming shutdown without the safety net enjoyed by some.

South Africa has roughly 58 million people living in 17 million households. About 1000 households are added to this number every day. South Africa has a very high number of young people – almost half of its population is under 24.

If we divide the country by household income (that is, all the earners in the household combined), then 7 million would fall into the category of middle class and above. That means 50 million people are living in households below the level needed to support a middle-class lifestyle. These 50 million people are likely to be using public transport and public health care and living with very little financial margin.

As one goes into the ultra-poor and survivor category, households regularly run out of food before the end of the month. A hallmark of living in this kind of household is a dependence on social grant income and a food shortage by the third week of the month. In addition, most poorer households live at least one taxi ride away from the closest supermarket and pay for extra seats on the taxi if purchasing more than a few bags of groceries.

In short, the majority of our communities live in desperate poverty and the Covid-19 Lock Down is set to multiply the misery experienced by so many South Africans.

As MACUA/WAMUA, we have undertaken to use our branch network to run soup kitchens in support of the most vulnerable in our communities along the following lines:

  • We have already been in contact with the Presidency around obtaining clarity on essential services and whether local support groups will fall under essential services.
  • We will also ensure that our volunteers are fully aware of the protective measures that they need to take, and we will monitor activities and outcomes through our regular reporting structures, WhatsApp groups and online meetings.
  • Volunteers will wear distinctive clothing and we will provide letters to all volunteers explaining their role and work.
  • We currently have 20 branches throughout the country, mostly in rural areas where poverty is at its worst, and we hope to provide each branch with regular funding support to run soup kitchens at least twice a week for at least the next 3 months.

Donate online, through the MACUA website

Or send a donation to:

MACUA/WAMUA Advice Office (MWAO)
First National Bank (FNB)
Account Number: 62805769893
Branch Code: 250655

All donations are tax deductible:
Registered in South Africa as MACUA/WAMUA ADVICE OFFICE under the Non-Profit Organisations Act, 1997 (ACT 71 OF 1997)
Registration number 228-294 NPO
MACUA WAMUA NPC 2019/360083/08

For more information contact:
Meshack Mbangula, MACUA National Coordinator,


The EV revolution will take batteries, but are they ethical?

Up-and-coming IRMA positions itself as the most rigorous third-party mining standard to emerge. . . Microsoft, Tiffany and Anglo American are already IRMA members; BMW is the first carmaker to sign up.

Adria Vasil, Corporate Knights

“. . .The EV revolution has been racking up a whole supply chain of trouble around the globe (including a recent lawsuit) related to an onslaught of often-contentious new mines opening to meet surging battery-metal demand, not to mention the coming tide of e-waste from old batteries.

If we want to fix this before e-cars take over the roads (30% of car sales should be electric across the EU and North America by 2030, analysts forecast), the time to ensure it’s done right is now. A handful of companies are trying to get out ahead of looming environmental and social risks. . .”

Read the full Corporate Knights article >

Photo credit: Lithium mines in Chile, Open Commons.


BMW Group joins the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance

BMW Group has become the first carmaker to join the global effort for the third-party certification of social and environmental performance at mine sites.

“Sustainability is an important aspect of our corporate strategy and we are fully aware of our responsibility in mineral value chains.” said Dr. Andreas Wendt, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network. “For the BMW Group and its stakeholders, it is of the utmost importance that environmental and social standards are adhered to throughout the entire value chain. Raw materials form the basis for every industrial production process and our need will continue to grow accordingly,” underlined Wendt. “We believe that IRMA, with its ambitious certification standard, will contribute to enhancing responsibility in global value chains and improving environmental and social performance.”

. . . “The auto sector is a powerful purchaser of materials that come from mines. We are happy to have the BMW Group join IRMA and we look forward to supporting their commitment to increasing environmental and social responsibility in their supply chains,” said Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA.

Read the full article on >

Photo credit: Andreas Riedelmeier from Pixabay.