Monthly Archives: December 2021


In Memoriam: IRMA Board Member Dewa Mavhinga

We honor our friend and colleague.

The staff and Board of Directors of IRMA join with the world in mourning the passing of IRMA Board leader Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, who passed away suddenly on 4 December while working in southern Africa. He was 41 years old, and leaves behind his wife Fiona, four young children, and mother. We grieve with the world, send blessings to his family, and honor Dewa’s lifetime of dedicated work in support of the dignity of all people.

Human Rights Watch honors Dewa’s life here.

In a memorial event organized by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, testimonies on the impact of Dewa’s life included:

“In the way of Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King. He was a defender for the rights of all, despite race, class, gender or creed — he believed in power of ideas.”

“He was committed to arguing things out, but did so by uplifting other people. It wasn’t the activity of struggle, he humanized the struggle…He saw the humanity of every person he was struggling with. He humanized everyone in society, the victims and the oppressors.”

“He brought faith, community, solidarity, logical disputations as not only values but also as practices…He was a man of faith, not only religious, but faith that the people of Africa would live on the continent free of human rights abuses.”

“From the logic of force, to the force of logic….He was a brilliant man.”

“He was a humble great mind and a unifier…To me his death is like the burning of a library.”

“Dewa became a global go-to person for human rights across southern Africa. We have lost not only a colleague but the world has lost an indefatigable champion. Our hearts are with you all, his family, and everyone who knew him.”

“Dewa would say, ‘if you must choose to be right or to be kind, always choose to be kind.’ Especially coming from a lawyer this is remarkable. He was kind, gentle and yet also fearless.”

Dewa Mavhinga alongside fellow leaders from IRMA’s NGO, labor and community sectors.

With deep appreciation for Dewa, we will continue our work for greater environmental and social responsibility, and fundamental commitment to human rights, where industrial scale mining happens. We are deeply grateful for Dewa‘s years of work on behalf of Human Rights Watch and in service to IRMA’s multistakeholder Board of Directors.


IRMA-Ready Standard Released for Public Comment

Comment period open through 15 April 2022

Today IRMA released the draft IRMA Standard for Responsible Mineral Exploration and Development (IRMA-Ready Standard) for public comment. The IRMA-Ready Standard is a response to requests from exploration and mining companies, directly affected communities, purchasers, and others for a comprehensive standard that defines best practices during mineral exploration and development, prior to the operational phase of a mine. Visit our IRMA-Ready web page to download the draft Standard.

The IRMA-Ready Standard is particularly important now because the green economy transition is increasing materials demand. Even as companies, investors, governments, and NGOs work to create more circular supply chains, gaps between supply and increasing demands are driving proposals for new mineral exploration and pre-extraction development. Standards for these early phases are often overlooked, yet activities and decisions made during exploration and project development have significant positive and negative environmental, social, and economic impacts with long-term implications on operations, closure, and post-closure phases of a mine. Accordingly, it is important that a definition of responsible practices for the earliest stages of the mine life cycle be developed that meets the needs of diverse stakeholders.

We call this Standard “IRMA-Ready” because an exploration or proposed mining project that meets the requirements in this Standard is well prepared to meet requirements in the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining if the project is developed and a mine becomes operational. 

IRMA-Ready uses as its foundation the comprehensive IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining, which was developed and is governed through a robust multi-stakeholder process where all sectors — including mining companies and affected communities — have an equal voice. IRMA-Ready recognizes that requirements at six different Stages of mineral exploration and development must be appropriate to the types of activities undertaken at that Stage: three Stages of exploration (Stages 1, 2, and 3) and three Stages of development (“Pre-permitting,” “Mine Permitting,” and “Construction”). Office work and desk-based reviews would be part of Exploration Stage 1, for example, while geological examinations would be part of Exploration Stage 2, and drilling and underground work would be part of Exploration Stage 3. Requirements differ for each Stage commensurate with its level of impacts and risks. 

The IRMA-Ready Standard will serve as the basis of a global, voluntary system offering independent third-party audits, public audit reports, and certification of environmental and social performance of an exploration and development project.

We value your feedback on any aspect of the draft IRMA-Ready Standard. The public comment period begins today and is open through 15 April 2022. 

Register for an upcoming webinar: 15th and 16th December 2021

IRMA is hosting two webinars to provide a general overview of the draft IRMA-Ready Standard and discuss the draft with anyone who is interested. Please register and join us for one of the following sessions:

IRMA is also hosting two webinars for mines and others interested in piloting the draft IRMA-Ready Standard in real-world settings. Interested participants are encouraged to also attend a General webinar, above, which will immediately precede the webinars on the Pilot Program.

Additional topic-specific IRMA-Ready webinars will be offered in 2022. Suggest a topic that interests you by writing to:

How to comment

Please send comments or questions on the draft IRMA-Ready Standard to:

Next steps

The public comment period ends on 15 April 2022. The IRMA-Ready Standard will be revised based on comments and feedback from one or more pilot projects. We will make the final IRMA-Ready Standard available on the IRMA website as well as through the IRMA e-newsletter (sign up here).