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IRMA Mining Engagement Sep 2022Blog

IRMA Mining Engagement Update – Sep 2022

IRMA Mining Engagement Sep 2022

As of September 2022, 65 mining companies are now engaged in IRMA representing 76 sites:

  • 56 sites are self-assessing under the IRMA Standard, the first step before an independent audit;
  • 9 are piloting the draft IRMA exploration (IRMA Ready) or mineral processing standard self-assessments
  • 11 independent audits under way: nine initial audits (South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Argentina) and two surveillance audits (Mexico, Zimbabwe)
  • 2 independent audit reports have been released — Anglo American’s Unki mine in Zimbabwe, and Carrizal’s Zimapán mine in Mexico
  • They encompass 25 countries:
    1. Argentina
    2. Australia
    3. Brazil
    4. Canada
    5. Chile
    6. Colombia
    7. Dominican Rep.
    8. Finland
    9. France
    10. Indonesia
    11. Liberia
    12. Mexico
    13. Mozambique
    14. Namibia
    15. New Caledonia
    16. Panama
    17. Philippines
    18. Russia
    19. South Africa
    20. Spain
    21. Sri Lanka
    22. Turkey
    23. Ukraine
    24. United States
    25. Zimbabwe
  • And 52 minerals and mineral types:
    1. Aggregates
    2. Barite
    3. Bauxite
    4. Cerium
    5. Chromite
    6. Chromium
    7. Coal (metallurgical)
    8. Cobalt
    9. Copper
    10. Diamonds
    11. Europium
    12. Feldspar
    13. Gadolinium
    14. Gold
    15. Graphite
    16. Iridium
    17. Iron
    18. Kyanite
    19. Lanthanum
    20. Lead
    21. Limestone
    22. Lithium
    23. Magnesium
    24. Mica
    25. Mineral sands
    26. Molybdenum
    27. Monazite sand
    28. Neodymium
    29. Nickel
    30. Osmium
    31. Palladium
    32. Praseodymium
    33. Platinum
    34. Potash
    35. Quartz
    36. Rare earth elements
    37. Rhodium
    38. Ruthenium
    39. Samarium
    40. Sand
    41. Selenium
    42. Silver
    43. Staurolite
    44. Sulphur
    45. Talc
    46. Tellurium
    47. Titanium
    48. Tourmaline
    49. Vanadium
    50. Xenotime
    51. Zinc
    52. Zircon
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Lonely tree after the Jagersfontein mine tailings spill. Credit: MACUABlog

What will we learn from another mine waste tragedy?

(Note: this blog appeared in the Sep 22, 2022 IRMA newsletter)

On September 11 in South Africa about 500km southwest of Johannesburg, the tailings dam failed at the Jagersfontein mine waste impoundment. Three people were killed, four more are still missing, and 40 were hospitalized.

This is a tragedy, and all the more so because it was predictable.

IRMA Board member Meshack Mbangula of Mining Affected Communities United in Action and other MACUA leaders are currently in the region, gathering the perspectives of communities. Meshack shares that some are still without water, electricity, sewage management, and with road blockages limiting children’s access to school.

From the world’s repeated recent experience with mine waste disasters, we know that poor tailings facility designs, aging facilities, and increasing frequency of extreme weather associated with climate change will combine to cause more mine waste tragedies around the world for communities living near mining operations.

We can act to minimize that threat. We join with others asking three questions:

  1. How can we prevent the construction of new mining waste facilities with this type of risk to fail?
  2. How can we provide sufficient funds for communities and governments to protect public safety from these mine waste risks even when mine ownership changes?
  3. The unbelievably difficult question of how to put protection of human life first at the thousands of places around the world where these dams already exist?
Meshack Mbangula of MACUA and IRMA's board, witnessing the Jagersfontein tailings spill aftermath. Credit: MACUA
Meshack Mbangula of Mining Affected Communities United in Action and IRMA board member, witnessing the Jagersfontein tailings spill aftermath. Credit: MACUA

The disaster, and reports of years of community effort to raise concern and attention to the risks, shows the importance of ongoing community involvement in addressing a mine’s impacts – for as long as the mine’s impacts exist.

IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining seeks to address these issues in not only our chapter on waste management, but also chapters on emergency preparedness and responseprotecting water resourcesstakeholder engagement, and reclamation, closure and financial assurance.  Learning from this experience will inform the update of how diverse stakeholders together define “best practices” in the IRMA Standard, due out in 2023.

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Zortman-Landusky mine complexBlog

The IRMA Standard – A Tool For U.S. Mining Law Reform

IRMA a Tool for U.S. Mining Law Reform_Examples of Gaps in U.S. Framework - coverOn Tuesday August 30, the IRMA Secretariat submitted a letter to the Biden Administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) on mining reform.

The letter provides examples of areas where there are gaps between the good practices in the IRMA Mining Standard and the U.S. legal framework governing the mining sector. Although not comprehensive, the examples identify areas where gaps can be addressed to ensure conformity with good international practice.

These examples are based on a preliminary review of the U.S. legal framework. A requirement-by-requirement comparison between the IRMA Standard and the U.S. legal framework would be necessary to identify all the gaps, and could guide the work of the IWG and support recommendations for improvements to the U.S. legal framework. We recommend that such a study be funded and completed to inform IWG efforts.

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Carrizal home pageBlog

Carrizal Mine Surveillance Assessment Update

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the upcoming third-party independent surveillance assessment of the Carrizal Mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The Carrizal Mine is located near Zimapan in the Hidalgo province of Mexico. The on-site portion of the surveillance audit will occur 24-27 August 2022.

What is a Surveillance Audit?

A surveillance audit is a mid-cycle verification to ensure no material negative changes have occurred at a site. It is not a re-assessment of all IRMA requirements. Surveillance audits follow much of the same process as a certification audit and include document review, on site-assessment, and community and stakeholder engagement. An IRMA surveillance audit confirms continued performance against critical requirements, verifies ongoing regulatory compliance processes, and evaluates progress on corrective actions. It also follows up on stakeholder input received since the prior audit and areas of risk identified in the previous audit and confirms no major changes have occurred that would impact the previously assessed achievement level.

ERM CVS is the IRMA-approved certification body carrying out the surveillance assessment.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can sign up to receive updates about the Carrizal mine assessment. The Mines Under Assessment page of IRMA’s website will also provide up-to-date information on all assessments.

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

Carrizal Mine stakeholders may also contact ERM CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process or being notified of the publication of the public report.

Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed as part of the audit process should be submitted by email to post@ermcvs.com.

Email: visit the ERM CVS website for this information and more on the audit.

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

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Blog

IRMA Mining Engagement Update – Aug 2022

As of August 2022, 62 mining companies are now engaged in IRMA representing 74 sites:

  • 62 sites are self-assessing under the IRMA Standard, the first step before an independent audit;
  • 11 sites are piloting the draft IRMA exploration (IRMA Ready) or mineral processing standard self-assessments
  • 2 independent audit reports have been released — Anglo American’s Unki mine in Zimbabwe, and Carrizal’s Zimapán mine in Mexico;
  • 11 audits are under way — 9 initial audits (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Africa), and 2 surveillance audits (Mexico, Zimbabwe)
  • They are located in 23 countries:
    1. Argentina
    2. Australia
    3. Brazil
    4. Canada
    5. Chile
    6. Colombia
    7. Dominican Rep.
    8. Finland
    9. France
    10. Indonesia
    11. Liberia
    12. Mexico
    13. Mozambique
    14. New Caledonia
    15. Panama
    16. Philippines
    17. Russia
    18. South Africa
    19. Spain
    20. Sri Lanka
    21. Ukraine
    22. United States
    23. Zimbabwe
  • They encompass 27 minerals:
    1. Aggregate
    2. Barite
    3. Bastnaesite
    4. Chrome
    5. Cobalt
    6. Copper
    7. Clay
    8. Diamonds
    9. Gold
    10. Graphite
    11. Iron
    12. Lead
    13. Limestone
    14. Lithium
    15. Magnesium
    16. Mineral sands
    17. Nickel
    18. Palladium
    19. Platinum
    20. Rhodium
    21. Sand
    22. Silver
    23. Strontium
    24. Titanium
    25. Vanadium
    26. Zinc
    27. Zirconium
    28. Rare Earth elements
READ MORE
Unki audit picture with Anglo IRMA SCS logosBlog

Unki Mine Surveillance Assessment Update

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the completion of the on-site portion of the third-party independent surveillance assessment of the Unki platinum group metals (PGM) mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The Unki mine, located in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe, is operated by Anglo American Platinum. The on-site surveillance assessment occurred Aug 3-5.

What is a Surveillance Audit?

A surveillance audit is a mid-cycle verification to ensure no material negative changes have occurred at a site. It is not a re-assessment of all IRMA requirements. Surveillance audits follow much of the same process as a certification audit and include document review, on site-assessment, and community and stakeholder engagement. An IRMA surveillance audit confirms continued performance against critical requirements, verifies ongoing regulatory compliance processes, and evaluates progress on corrective actions. It also follows up on stakeholder input received since the prior audit and areas of risk identified in the previous audit and confirms no major changes have occurred that would impact the previously assessed achievement level.

SCS Global Services (SCS) is the IRMA-approved certification body carrying out the surveillance assessment.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can sign up to receive updates about the Unki mine assessment. The Mines Under Assessment page of IRMA’s website will also provide up-to-date information on all assessments.

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

Unki mine stakeholders may also contact SCS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process or being notified of the publication of the public report.

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

SCS Global Services
2000 Powell St. #600
Emeryville, California, USA 94608

Email: visit the SCS website for this information and more on the audit.

Please forward this announcement, and feel free to contact SCS 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

 

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Future of Batteries webinarBlog

Panel discussion on the future of batteries

Hosted by Battery.mba, on July 25th our Senior Policy Advisor Kristi Disney Bruckner joined Rebecca Gordon (CEO at CRU Consulting), Lars Carlstrom (Founder/CEO at Italvolt & Statevolt, and Paul Charles (CEO/President at American Battery Factory). to offer perspectives on the future of batteries.

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Digging for Climate Change WebinarBlog

Can miners achieve net-zero & satisfy growing demands?

In late July Mining Journal’s Digging for Climate Change hosted a panel discussion on the challenges involved with meeting net-zero ambitions while satisfying growing demand for raw materials.

Participants:

  • Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director, Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance
  • Andrew van Zyl, Principal Consultant and Director, SRK Consulting
  • Kirsten Hund, Head of Carbon Neutrality, De Beers Group
  • Veronica Martinez, Senior Manager, Innovation and Climate Change, International Council on Mining and Metals

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U.S. State Department logoBlog

IRMA presents to the U.S. State Department

Today IRMA executive director Aimee Boulanger, and senior policy advisor Kristi Disney Bruckner presented before the Department of State’s Clean Energy Resources Advisory Committee (CERAC). CERAC “advises the Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources on strategies, programs, and policies related to clean energy mineral supply chains.”

IRMA made nine recommendations to CERAC:

  1. Recognize the importance of equal governance in multi-stakeholder leadership, engagement, and public access to information.
  2. Adopt a holistic lens to mining sector management, including a wide range of environmental and social factors.
  3. Use the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining to assess gaps in domestic legal frameworks, and incorporate best practices on international to local levels.
  4. Promote an inclusive, participatory, transparent rights-based approach to relationships between mines and communities, with access to remedy.
  5. Use IRMA standards and audit reports to guide more responsible sourcing of mined materials.
  6. Encourage mines to engage in IRMA, which connects market value with environmental and social responsibility, and encourages continuing improvement while striving toward best practice.
  7. Identify and act on opportunities for the U.S. to be a “first mover” on responsible sourcing of mined materials, due diligence, and circularity.
  8. Foster innovation, strategic planning, and meaningful engagement of workers, communities, NGOs, companies, and investors in the “green” transition
  9. Collaborate with other governments to enhance environmental and social performance and transparency of the mining sector and supply chains.
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Blog

Mining engagement with IRMA update

As of this June, 55 mining companies are now engaged in IRMA representing 72 sites:

  • 61 sites are self-assessing, the first step before an independent audit;
  • 2 independent audit reports have been released — Anglo American’s Unki mine in Zimbabwe, and Carrizal’s Zimapán mine in Mexico;
  • 11 audits are under way — 9 initial audits (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, South Africa), and 2 surveillance audits (Mexico, Zimbabwe)
  • They are located in 23 countries:
    1. Argentina
    2. Australia
    3. Brazil
    4. Canada
    5. Chile
    6. Colombia
    7. Dominican Rep.
    8. Finland
    9. France
    10. Indonesia
    11. Liberia
    12. Mexico
    13. Mozambique
    14. New Caledonia
    15. Panama
    16. Philippines
    17. Russia
    18. South Africa
    19. Spain
    20. Sri Lanka
    21. Ukraine
    22. United States
    23. Zimbabwe
  • They encompass 27 minerals:
    1. Aggregate
    2. Barite
    3. Bastnaesite
    4. Chrome
    5. Cobalt
    6. Copper
    7. Clay
    8. Diamonds
    9. Gold
    10. Graphite
    11. Iron
    12. Lead
    13. Limestone
    14. Lithium
    15. Magnesium
    16. Nickel
    17. Palladium
    18. Platinum
    19. Rhodium
    20. Sand
    21. Silver
    22. Strontium
    23. Titanium
    24. Vanadium
    25. Zinc
    26. Zirconium
    27. Rare Earth elements
READ MORE