IRMA is working across sectors and initiatives to clarify and advance circular economy approaches to responsible production and use of minerals. Circular economy approaches utilize integrated strategies to address a range of climate, environmental, and social issues associated with primary and secondary materials, reducing waste while capturing greater value from materials and processes throughout the life cycle of the mineral.

Circular economy approaches involve a systems approach throughout the materials life cycle, including:

  • designing products and services for material recovery and reuse;
  • establishing better technology, infrastructure, and policies for the extraction of metals and minerals including from consumer products and existing mine waste; and
  • adopting regenerative approaches to ecosystem impacts.

Demands for minerals associated with the energy transition will require expansion of both primary and secondary production of mined materials for decades to come. At the same time, expectations are increasing throughout supply chains regarding low carbon production methods, broader responsible sourcing requirements, and integration of circular economy strategies ranging from production and sourcing of durable goods, enhancing material reuse and recycling, integrating responsibly sourced recycled and scrap material at the mineral processing level, and beyond.

IRMA formed an Expert Working Group on Mining and Circularity in 2022 to inform integration of circular economy approaches into the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining and IRMA system. We will continue to work to clarify, incorporate, and encourage best practice circular economy approaches throughout all stages of extraction, processing, reuse, and recycling of minerals.

Over the past year, IRMA served as a member of the Expert Working Group on the OECD Handbook on Environmental Due Diligence in Mineral Supply Chains, published in September 2023 and including coverage of circularity and enhanced use of secondary sources.

This year IRMA became a member of the Roundtable on the Responsible Recycling of Metals (RRRM) Non-Ferrous Working Group, collaborating in RRRM efforts to advance understanding of appropriate standards, systems, and tools for the responsible production and sourcing of recycled metals.

IRMA will participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) this year in Dubai, engaging in roundtables and events focused on improving environmental and social responsibility in mineral supply chains for the energy transition and opportunities to advance circularity.

If you have recommendations for ways IRMA can advance circular economy approaches or wish to share case studies of successful strategies, please contact us at