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).