Audits

Amandelbult PGM Complex. Credit: Anglo AmericanAmandelbult PGM Complex. Credit: Anglo AmericanAudits

Audits released for Anglo’s Amandelbult, Mototolo, Unki

Two Anglo American mines are first South African operations audited against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining

Amandelbult and Mototolo achieve IRMA 50 and IRMA 75, respectively
Register for the 27 Feb webinar Q&A to discuss the audits

16 Feb 2024 – Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining (IRMA) released the audits of Anglo American’s Amandelbult and Mototolo PGM operations against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. Independent audit firm ERM-CVS assessed Amandelbult at IRMA 50 and Mototolo at IRMA 75 when measuring their performance against the Standard’s best practice social and environmental criteria.

IRMA also released the surveillance (interim) audit for Anglo’s Unki PGM operation in Zimbabwe, as conducted by audit firm SCS Global. In 2021, Unki achieved IRMA 75 in IRMA’s first-ever on-site audit; a surveillance audit is a more limited check-in, so it does not result in further detailed scoring but rather provides updates on performance.

IRMA 50 or 75 means that ERM-CVS verified that the operations at least substantially met all 40 critical requirements of the IRMA Standard, as well as at least 50 or 75% of the Standard’s criteria in each of the four principle areas: social responsibility, environmental responsibility, business integrity and planning for positive legacies. The full audit reports are available on the Amandelbult and Mototolo audit pages, as well as Unki’s surveillance report, on the IRMA website.

“The information stakeholders need to decide what’s going well — and what may require more attention.”

“This report demonstrates that mines can point to transparent, independent evaluations of their environmental and social performance,” said Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA. “Through detailed IRMA audit reports, mining companies, communities and companies that purchase mined materials can gain the information they need to decide what’s going well — and what may require more attention — at specific mines.”

As the IRMA Standard is recognized and adopted around the globe, these audits are first steps in a deepening dialogue between mining companies and those affected by their operations. Because the process is still evolving, IRMA cautions that the initial results should be reviewed and interpreted accordingly.

“These mines began audits during the early Covid years. The timeline was delayed by travel challenges, and then the company’s decision to use the optional corrective action period to make improvements. The public has long awaited opportunity to review the information included here, and we applaud Anglo American for volunteering these mines for audit against such comprehensive criteria.” Ms. Boulanger went on to say, “That said, the IRMA Standard is relatively new for companies that volunteer to be audited, and even our accredited auditors are still learning. The same is true for community members and workers who are interviewed as part of the process, some of whom may not yet feel comfortable engaging. So, the Amandelbult and Mototolo audits need to be read with this in mind.”

The report also provides an honest accounting of IRMA’s own progress as the Standard and assessment process continue to mature.

“If the results don’t fully reflect the experience of communities, Indigenous rights holders or other affected groups, we want to hear from them,” Ms. Boulanger said. “We’ll help them communicate with the company to better understand its performance, and with the auditors on any issues they feel were overlooked in the review. This is a cornerstone of our own commitment to transparency. We invite anyone who has criticisms of our work to join us in making it better. Finding ways to improve is built into our system — and a measure of its success.”

The IRMA Standard is being updated in 2024; input on how to improve the IRMA Standard is welcomed. Chapters in the IRMA Standard include requirements on protection to human rights, water resources, worker health and safety, biodiversity, Indigenous free, prior, informed consent and more.

“Committing to an IRMA audit reflects our desire to improve and our openness to dialogue”

Craig Miller, CEO of Anglo American Platinum said, “This significant milestone at Mototolo and Amandelbult mines in our overall adoption of IRMA enables us to promote transparency and best practice in sustainability, while adding value to our global customers by helping them to meet increasing expectations for responsibly mined materials in an efficient and credible way. With Unki mine achieving IRMA 75 in 2021, and now the achievements of Mototolo with IRMA 75 and Amandelbult with IRMA 50, we are continuing to make great progress towards our sustainable mining plan target of having all our mining operations assured against a recognised responsible mining standard by 2025.”

Including Amandelbult, Mototolo and Unki, 19 industrial-scale mines worldwide are within the IRMA independent assessment system. After an initial self-assessment, a participating mine engages a third-party audit firm — trained and approved by IRMA — to conduct a detailed independent evaluation, including on-site visits to the mine and nearby communities. Following the release of the initial audit, a shorter surveillance audit checks on the mine’s performance. Three years after the initial audit, the operation is fully audited again (Note: The first mines audited in the IRMA system have had extensions to this timeline due to Covid delays and launch-phase learning; updated full reviews will be required to maintain or increase achievement scores.)

The independent IRMA system is the only global mining standard that provides equal power to the public sector (communities and Indigenous rights holders, mine workers, and environmental and human rights advocates) alongside the private sector (mining companies, mined materials purchasers and investors).

Learn more at the Feb 27th Webinar Q&A

  • REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/IRMAwebinar-A-M
  • Tuesday, 27 Feb, 4pm South Africa time (UTC+2)
  • Speakers:
    IRMA Executive Director Aimee Boulanger,
    IRMA Africa Regional Lead Davidzo Muchawaya,
    IRMA Assurance Director Michelle Smith, and
    Anglo American Platinum Head of Sustainability Stephen Bullock
  • A discussion and Q&A about the meaning of the audit results, and how the increased transparency an IRMA audit provides can be used by stakeholders to improve the operation.
  • All registrants will receive a recording.

 For More Information:

  • Alan Septoff, +1.301.202.1445, aseptoff@responsiblemining.net
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Barro Alto. Credit: Anglo AmericanBarro Alto. Credit: Anglo AmericanAudits

Audits released for Anglo’s Barro Alto, Minas-Rio

Anglo American’s Barro Alto, Minas-Rio operations in Brazil audited against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining

First nickel, iron mines to complete IRMA audits, both Barro Alto and Minas-Rio achieve IRMA 75

UPDATE 14 Feb: Webinar recording in English and Português added.

IRMA 75 achievement badge

07 Feb 2024 – Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining (IRMA) released the results of independent audits of Anglo American’s Barro Alto nickel and Minas-Rio iron ore operations against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The mines achieved IRMA 75 when two independent audit firms measured their performance on concrete social and environmental impact criteria.

IRMA oversees the only independent, comprehensive process for assessing individual mines’ performance against an equally governed, consensus-based standard — and for measuring their subsequent progress in reducing social and environmental harm. The rigorous IRMA process invites all those currently or potentially affected by a mine to share their experiences and perspectives with the auditing team.

The independent IRMA system is the only global mining standard that provides equal power to the public sector (communities and Indigenous rights holders, mine workers, and environmental and human rights advocates) alongside the private sector (mining companies, mined materials purchasers and investors).

Barro Alto and Minas-Rio join 17 other industrial-scale mines worldwide that are independently assessing against the IRMA Standard. After an initial self-assessment, a participating mine engages a third-party audit firm — trained and approved by IRMA — to conduct a detailed independent evaluation, including on-site visits to the mine and nearby communities.

IRMA 75 means the audit firms ERM-CVS (Barro Alto) and SCS Global (Minas-Rio) verified that the operations met all critical requirements of the IRMA Standard, as well as at least 75% of the Standard’s criteria in each of the four areas: social responsibility, environmental responsibility, business integrity and planning for positive legacies. The full audit reports are available in Results tab of the Barro Alto and Minas-Rio audit pages on the IRMA website.

“The information stakeholders need to decide what’s going well — and what may require more attention.”

“This report demonstrates that mines supplying materials essential to the renewable energy transition and the steel supply chain can now point to transparent, independent evaluations of their environmental and social performance,” said Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA. “Through detailed IRMA audit reports, mining companies, communities and companies that purchase mined materials can gain the information they need to decide what’s going well — and what may require more attention — at specific mines.”

As the IRMA Standard is recognized and adopted around the globe, these audits are just the first steps in a deepening dialogue between mining companies and those affected by their operations. And because the process is still evolving, IRMA cautions that the initial results should be reviewed and interpreted accordingly.

“These mines began audits during the early Covid years. The timeline was delayed by travel challenges, and then the company’s decision to use the optional corrective action period to make improvements. The public has long awaited opportunity to review the information included here, and we applaud Anglo American for volunteering the first iron and nickel mines for audit against such comprehensive criteria.” Ms. Boulanger went on to say, “That said, the IRMA Standard is relatively new for companies that volunteer to be audited, and even our accredited auditors are still learning. The same is true for community members and workers who are interviewed as part of the process, some of whom may not yet feel comfortable engaging. So the Barro Alto and Minas-Rio audit reports need to be read with this in mind.”

The report also provides an honest accounting of IRMA’s own progress as the Standard and assessment process continue to mature.

“If the results don’t fully reflect the experience of communities, Indigenous rights holders or other affected groups, we want to hear from them,” Ms. Boulanger said. “We’ll help them communicate with the company to better understand its performance, and with the auditors on any issues they feel were overlooked in the review. This is a cornerstone of our own commitment to transparency. We invite anyone who has criticisms of our work to join us in making it better. Finding ways to improve is built into our system — and a measure of its success.”

The IRMA Standard is being updated in 2024; input on how to improve the IRMA Standard is welcomed. Chapters in the IRMA Standard include requirements on protection to human rights, water resources, worker health and safety, biodiversity, Indigenous free, prior, informed consent and more.

“Committing to an IRMA audit reflects our desire to improve and our openness to dialogue”

Ana Sanches, CEO of Anglo American in Brazil, said: “Anglo American’s achievement of IRMA 75 is a first for a nickel and an iron ore mine and is a testament to the hard work of our teams at Barro Alto and Minas-Rio. Participating in IRMA audits for our operations serve as recognition and proof of our commitment to high standard best practice, transparency and assurance, while it also provides independently verified next steps for further improvement. This transparent positive-feedback loop ensures we continue to improve our sustainability practices, leads to better ways to do business and creates greater value for employees, governments, NGOs, customers and communities alike.

Feb 8th Webinar Q&A – slides

Português – Webinar IRMA sobre relatórios de auditoria de Barro Alto/Minas-Rio

English – IRMA webinar re Barro Alto/Minas-Rio audit reports

 For More Information:

 

 

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Audits

ArcelorMittal commits Andrade operation to IRMA audit

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce that ArcelorMittal has committed to the third-party independent assessment of its Andrade iron operation in Brasil’s State of Minas Gerais against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining.

SCS Global, an IRMA-approved independent audit firm, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an onsite audit (stage 2). After the SCS draft audit report is reviewed by IRMA and ArcelorMittal, the company may release the report or has the option to take up to twelve months to implement corrective actions and be re-assessed before a final report is published and a Performance Level assigned.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can sign up to receive updates about the Andrade independent assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 onsite visit, link to public summary of audit results). The Mines Under Assessment page of IRMA’s website will also provide up-to-date information on all assessments.

Members of the community, public officials, representatives of the workforce, or other organizations are invited to submit comments regarding how the mine site is managing their impacts to the environment including air, water, waste, greenhouse gases, and ecosystems; how the mine supports their workforce; and how the mine interacts with the surrounding community, and how it impacts the community, positively or negatively.

Interested parties may contact the independent audit firm, SCS Global, to share comments or to ask to be interviewed as part of the audit process. The audit firm can be reached via its webform.

Please share this announcement, and feel free to contact SCS Global directly to provide names and contact information for other Andrade stakeholders who may be interested in knowing about and participating in the mine site assessment process.

For more information

  • For general information on the IRMA mine site assessment process, visit the IRMA website.
  • IRMA: ArcelorMittal Andrade Mine independent assessment status page
  • If you would like more information on how the audit of the Andrade operations are conducted against the IRMA standard — contact IRMA’s Director of Assurance: Michelle Smith, msmith@responsiblemining.net
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Balama Graphite operation in Mozambique. Credit: Syrah ResourcesBalama Graphite operation in Mozambique. Credit: Syrah ResourcesAudits

On-site audit announced for Syrah’s Balama mine

Feedback requested during the on-site, independent audit under the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining of Syrah’s Balama Graphite Operation, Balama District, Mozambique

This coming January and February, SCS Global Services (SCS) auditors will be conducting on-site third-party, independent audit of Syrah’s Balama Graphite Operation to evaluate its performance under the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) Standard for Responsible Mining.

The audit began in September 2023 with a desktop review of documents provided by the mine. This next on-site phase provides all affected stakeholders the opportunity to give feedback on the mine’s environmental, health, safety, and community performance. Feedback is welcome from December 15, 2023 until February 15, 2024.

During the on-site part of the audit the auditors will ask local stakeholders, including community members and organizations, public officials, and non-management mine workers to participate in interviews or meetings, or to provide information using other means including email or on-line. SCS will use stakeholder comments to help determine how Balama Graphite Operation performs relative to the IRMA Standard.

Please contact SCS if you would like to provide your views. You can do so by interview or in writing. Interviews can take place in person, or virtually (telephone or videoconference), until February 15th. Use the links, QR code, or email below to contact SCS to request an interview, ask questions, or provide comments. Commenters’ identities and remarks are kept confidential upon request.

Online Comment Form or Email Scan QR Code to Comment
https://info.scsglobalservices.com/irma-public-announcements-and-stakeholder-feedback

https://info.scsglobalservices.com/irma-stakeholder-feedback

feedback@scsglobalservices.com

QR code for SCS-IRMA-feedback

IRMA will publish the completed audit report at https://responsiblemining.net. The report will explain how SCS scored the mine site against the requirements of the 26 chapters of the IRMA Standard, and why. SCS will assign scores for each chapter. After the report is published, stakeholders may still comment on the mine’s performance to help guide the operation’s improvement as it moves through the IRMA 3-year audit cycle.

You can also view a pdf of this announcement in Portuguese and English.

SCS is an IRMA-approved audit firm with head offices in Emeryville, California. For more information about SCS, please visit www.scsglobalservices.com.

The IRMA Standard is the world’s most comprehensive mining standard for industrial-scale mines and the only one equally governed by all stakeholders: mining companies, mineral purchasers, investors, organized labor, communities, and civil society NGOs. Mine site verification under the IRMA Standard is voluntary. For more information on the IRMA Standard requirements and certification, visit www.responsiblemining.net.

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GCO operation. Credit: ErametGCO operation. Credit: ErametAudits

On-site audit announced for Eramet’s GCO

Feedback requested during the on-site, independent audit under the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining of Eramet’s Grande Côte Operations (GCO), Departments of Tivaouane (Thies Region) and Kébémer (Louga Region) Senegal

This coming January, SCS Global Services (SCS) auditors will be on-site as part of the ongoing third-party, independent audit of Eramet’s Grande Côte Operations (GCO) mineral sands operation to evaluate its performance under the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) Standard for Responsible Mining.

The audit began in May 2023 with a desktop review of documents provided by the mine. This next on-site phase provides all affected stakeholders the opportunity to give feedback on the mine’s environmental, health, safety, and community performance.

During the on-site part of the audit the auditors will ask local stakeholders, including community members and organizations, public officials, and non-management mine workers to participate in interviews or meetings, or to provide information using other means including email or on-line. SCS will use stakeholder comments to help determine how GCO performs relative to the IRMA Standard.

Please contact SCS if you would like to provide your views. You can do so by interview or in writing. Interviews can take place in person, or virtually (telephone or videoconference). Use the links, QR code, or email below to contact SCS to request an interview, ask questions, or provide comments. Commenters’ identities and remarks are kept confidential upon request.

Online Comment Form or Email Scan QR Code to Comment
https://info.scsglobalservices.com/irma-public-announcements-and-stakeholder-feedback

https://info.scsglobalservices.com/irma-stakeholder-feedback

feedback@scsglobalservices.com

QR code for SCS-IRMA-feedback

IRMA will publish the completed audit report at https://responsiblemining.net. The report will explain how SCS scored the mine site against the requirements of the 26 chapters of the IRMA Standard, and why. SCS will assign scores for each chapter. After the report is published, stakeholders may still comment on the mine’s performance to help guide the operation’s improvement as it moves through the IRMA 3-year audit cycle.

You can also view this document as pdf in English or French.

SCS is an IRMA-approved audit firm with head offices in Emeryville, California. For more information about SCS, please visit www.scsglobalservices.com.

The IRMA Standard is the world’s most comprehensive mining standard for industrial-scale mines and the only one equally governed by all stakeholders: mining companies, mineral purchasers, investors, organized labor, communities, and civil society NGOs. Mine site verification under the IRMA Standard is voluntary. For more information on the IRMA Standard requirements and certification, visit www.responsiblemining.net.

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Unki on-site audit discussion. Credit: IRMAUnki on-site audit discussion. Credit: IRMAStandards

Recording of the IRMA Deep Dive for Mining Companies

Thursday, December 14th, IRMA hosted a dedicated webinar for mining companies to learn more about the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance. It was simultaneously interpreted in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Indonesian, French, and Chinese.

Given our service to multiple sectors, we’re aware investors and companies who purchase mined materials are increasingly asking for mines to be independently assessed in IRMA system. Just as we seek to provide value to these sectors, as well as civil society, communities and labor unions, we’re equally committed to serving the mining sector.

The webinar was an open and candid discussion between representatives of mining companies that have been IRMA-audited, purchasing companies engaged in IRMA, and the key IRMA Secretariat staff who are dedicated to serving the mining sector. It highlighted the tools and training we’re developing to help mining companies better understand the standard and our assessment process. It also addressed common questions, hesitations, doubts and even frustrations, all with the aim of ensuring IRMA is responsive and useful to the mining sector.

The slides (English-only) are here. The webinars are available on our youtube channel and embedded below in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Indonesian, French, English and Chinese.

Spanish

Russian

Portuguese

Indonesian

French

English

Chinese

NOTE: At one point both interpreters talk simultaneously for a few minutes.

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Introduction to the IRMA Audit Firm Approval Process - thumbnailIntroduction to the IRMA Audit Firm Approval Process - thumbnailAudits

Introduction to the IRMA Audit Firm Approval Process

Co-hosted by IRMA Assurance Services International (ASI), held a meeting introducing the IRMA audit firm approval process, and how IRMA oversees its approved audit firms. The meeting recording and slides are below.

Development of robust standards are only one half of the IRMA system. Just as important to our mission is the work of highly competent and accountable audit firms to measure mine performance against those standards. 100+ mines owned by 75+ companies are engaged in the IRMA system. We are bringing on additional audit firms in response to increasing demand for IRMA audits.

More resources for audit firms are available on the Resources page.


Slides from the presentation

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Unki on-site audit discussion. Credit: IRMAUnki on-site audit discussion. Credit: IRMAStandards

IRMA: a deep dive session for mining companies

On Thursday, December 14th, IRMA is hosting a dedicated webinar for mining companies to learn more about the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance.

Given our service to multiple sectors, we’re aware investors and companies who purchase mined materials are increasingly asking for mines to be independently assessed in IRMA system. Just as we seek to provide value to these sectors, as well as civil society, communities and labor unions, we’re equally committed to serving the mining sector.

This will be an open and candid discussion between mining company representatives, purchasing companies engaged in IRMA, and the key IRMA Secretariat staff who are dedicated to serving the mining sector. In particular, we’ll highlight the tools and training we’re developing to help mining companies better understand the standard and our assessment process.

We’ll also address common questions, hesitations, doubts and even frustrations, all with the aim of ensuring IRMA is responsive and useful to the mining sector.

Our draft agenda is as follows:

  • An introduction to IRMA, including addressing some of the most common questions we receive from mining companies
  • Short presentations from representatives from purchasing and finance, sharing their motivations for participating
  • Insights from mining companies who have undertaken third-party assessments, sharing their experience and learnings
  • A Q&A session with attendees

Register here for the session, taking place from 10:30AM – 12PM Eastern on December 14th. In case you’re not able to make this date, please register in any case, as a recording will be shared.

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Listening to CommunitiesListening to CommunitiesAudits

Audit Community Engagement Learnings

For companies that depend on mined materials to make their products, any assessment of supply chain impacts must include a focus on the point where minerals are extracted from the earth.

There are various tools companies can use to better understand impacts at the point of extraction, including assessment of a specific mine’s performance against an established standard for responsible mining. The value of such an assessment depends on the quality of the standard and on the rigor and independence of the actual audit process. Among the diverse ways auditors assess a mine’s environmental and social impacts, one of the most crucial is direct engagement of communities and Indigenous rights holders.

Community members should have the opportunity to ask questions, to express concerns or outright opposition, and to learn firsthand how a mining company intends to address their needs and share the long-term benefits. People everywhere want a say in decisions that will shape their lives and they rightly expect their voices to be heard.

Over the past several years, as we’ve overseen an increasing number of independent audits, we’ve been exploring various approaches to better include communities living near mines in the process. We’re doing a great deal of testing and learning along the way, making small refinements and a few major course corrections, guided by insights from the six diverse constituencies who govern our initiative.

Supporting us in this effort is Mercedes-Benz Group AG, an IRMA member since 2020.

In 2022, Mercedes-Benz provided funding for IRMA to enhance and further explore how best to engage with mining communities. By implementing new practices and experimenting with alternative approaches to the auditing process, we’ve found ways to improve the community engagement already built into IRMA’s audit process.

The result of our collaboration is this report. It will guide our own practices as we continue to improve and, we hope, illustrate to all purchasers of mined materials — as well as mining companies, investors, regulators, other standards systems, NGOs and, of course, affected communities — how assessments in the industry might be strengthened, ultimately accelerating our common aim: to protect human rights and make mining more responsible.

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Audits

Sibanye-Stillwater commits two operations to IRMA audit

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce that Sibanye-Stillwater has committed to third-party independent assessments of two of its platinum group metals (PGM) operations against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining: the Sibanye-Stillwater SA PGM Rustenburg Operations and the US (PGM) Operations. SA PGM Rustenburg Operations is located in the North West Province of South Africa and the US PGM Operations in the state of Montana.

ERM-CVS, an IRMA-approved independent audit firm, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an onsite audit (stage 2). After the ERM-CVS draft audit report is reviewed by IRMA and Sibanye-Stillwater, the company may release the report or has the option to take up to twelve months to implement corrective actions and be re-assessed before a final report is published and a Performance Level assigned.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can sign up to receive updates about the Sibanye-Stillwater independent assessments (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 onsite visit, link to public summary of audit results). The Mines Under Assessment page of IRMA’s website will also provide up-to-date information on all assessments.

Members of the community, public officials, representatives of the workforce, or other organizations are invited to submit comments regarding how the mine site is managing their impacts to the environment including air, water, waste, greenhouse gases, and ecosystems; how the mine supports their workforce; and how the mine interacts with the surrounding community, and how it impacts the community, positively or negatively.

Interested parties may contact the independent audit firm, ERM-CVS, to share comments or to ask to be interviewed as part of the audit process. The audit firm can be reached by email at:

ERM Certification and Verification Services Limited
Email: post@ermcvs.com

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

For more information

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