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IRMA releases draft IRMA-Ready Standard for Responsible Mineral Exploration and Development

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: comments@responsiblemining.net.

How to comment

Please send comments or questions on the draft IRMA-Ready Standard to: comments@responsiblemining.net

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).

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IRMA Announcement: On-site audit of Minas Rio, in December

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce that, in addition to the five audits recently announced, another on-site audit has been scheduled. Auditors will be carrying out on-site audit activities at the Minas Rio iron ore mine in December 2021.

  • Minas Rio, Zona Rural, Conceição do Mato Dentro, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
    On-site audit dates: 9 – 12 December.

SCS Global Services , an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the on-site assessment at the Minas Rio site.

Stakeholder engagement in the assessment

Stakeholders should contact SCS Global Services if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. Interviews with local stakeholders will be scheduled to take place during the on-site audit and may be virtual or in-person, taking into consideration COVID-19 precautions.

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

SCS Global Services

Email: scourter@scsglobalservices.com

Mail: 2000 Powell Street, Ste. 600 Emeryville, CA 94608 USA

Phone: +1 (510) 993-0127

Please forward this announcement, and feel free to contact SCS Global Services 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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IRMA Announcement: on-site audits scheduled at five mines

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce that auditors will be carrying out on-site audits at five mines, starting in late November.  The mine sites, and on-site audit dates, are as follows:

  • Amandelbult, near Chromite, in Limpopo province, South Africa.
    On-site audit dates: 29 November – December 4.
  • Barro Alto, near Barro Alto, in the State of Goiás, Brazil.
    On-site audit dates: 29 November – December 3. (View the audit announcement in Portuguese)
  • Kolomela, near Postmasburg, in Northern Cape province, South Africa.
    On-site audit dates:  6 December – December 11.
  • Mototolo-Der Brochen, near Steelpoort, in Limpopo province, South Africa.
    On-site audit dates:  6 December – December 11.
  • Sishen, near Kathu, in Northern Cape province, South Africa.
    On-site audit dates: 29 November – December 4.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the on-site assessments at these sites.

Stakeholder Engagement in these Assessments

Stakeholders should contact ERM-CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. According to ERM-CVS, “When possible, interviews with local stakeholders will be scheduled to take place during the on-site audit and may be virtual or in-person, taking into consideration COVID-19 precautions.” (See audit announcements on ERM-CVS website)

Stakeholders for any of the listed sites are also invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of any of the mines (in particular, how the site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

ERM Certification and Verification Services

Email: post@ermcvs.com

Mail: Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8A

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

  • Direct specific inquiries about the mine site assessment process to IRMA’s Director of Standards and Assurance: lsumi@responsiblemining.net
  • Visit the IRMA website for information on the IRMA mine site assessment and certification process, including the determination of audit scope.

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IRMA Announcement: Kolomela Mine Site Assessment

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Kolomela iron ore mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The mining complex, operated by Sishen Iron Ore Company (parent company Anglo American) is located near Postmasburg, in Northern Cape province, South Africa.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an on-site audit (stage 2).

Scope of the Assessment

The assessment will include Kolomela operations and facilities, including an open pit mine, crusher, beneficiation (gravity separation, cyclone and drum), tailings  storage facilities, and waste rock disposal areas. During the assessment the impacts and issues associated with all mining operations and the associated facilities will be reviewed, and each site will be visited. For more on assessment scope, see the Kolomela assessment page on the IRMA website.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Kolomela stakeholders and interested members of the public can visit the Kolomela page on the IRMA website for up-to-date information on the assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results).

Stakeholders affected by or interested in the Kolomela mine are invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of the mine’s operations (in particular, how the site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Kolomela stakeholders may also contact ERM-CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed as part of the audit process should be submitted by email or mail to:

ERM Certification and Verification Services

Email: post@ermcvs.com

Mail: Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8A

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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IRMA Announcement: Sishen Mine Site Assessment

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Sishen iron ore mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The mining complex, operated by Sishen Iron Ore Company (parent company Anglo American) is located near Kathu, in Northern Cape province, South Africa.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an on-site audit (stage 2).

Scope of the Assessment

The assessment will include Sishen operations and facilities, including an open pit mine, crusher, beneficiation (gravity separation, cyclone and drum), tailings  storage facilities, and waste rock disposal areas. During the assessment the impacts and issues associated with all mining operations and the associated facilities will be reviewed, and each site will be visited. For more on assessment scope, see the Sishen assessment page on the IRMA website.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Sishen stakeholders and interested members of the public can visit the Sishen page on the IRMA website for up-to-date information on the assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results).

Stakeholders affected by or interested in the Sishen mine are invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of the mine’s operations (in particular, how the site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Sishen stakeholders may also contact ERM-CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed as part of the audit process should be submitted by email or mail to:

ERM Certification and Verification Services

Email: post@ermcvs.com

Mail: Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8A

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

  • Visit the Sishen page of the IRMA website
  • View the Sishen profile on the Responsible Mining Map.
  • Direct specific inquiries about the Kolomeal mine site assessment to IRMA’s Director of Standards and Assurance: lsumi@responsiblemining.net
  • Visit the IRMA website for information on the IRMA mine site assessment and certification process, including the determination of audit scope.

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IRMA Announcement: Salar Plant, Salar de Atacama (Albemarle) Assessment

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of Albemarle’s Salar de Atacama “Salar Plant” brine extraction site against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The site produces a lithium-rich brine, potash, bischofite, halite, and sylvinite. The Salar Plant is located inside Albemarle’s mining concession area in the Salar de Atacama sector, in the commune of San Pedro de Atacama, El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an on-site audit (stage 2).

Scope of the Assessment

The assessment will include brine extraction, concentration, and waste disposal areas at the Salar de Atacama Salar Plant site. During the assessment the impacts and issues associated with the site will be reviewed, and each operation and facility will be visited.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can visit the Mines Under Assessment page of IRMA’s website to view up-to-date information on the Salar Plant assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results).

Stakeholders are invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of the Salar Plant operations (in particular, how the site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Salar Plant stakeholders may also contact ERM-CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed as part of the audit process should be submitted by email or mail to:

ERM Certification and Verification Services

Email: post@ermcvs.com

Mail: Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8A

Please forward this announcement, and feel free to contact ERM-CVS directly to provide names and contact information for other stakeholders who may be interested in knowing about and participating in the Salar Plant assessment process.

For More Information

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IRMA Announcement: Minas-Rio (Anglo American) Mine Site Assessment

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Minas-Rio iron ore mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The Minas-Rio mine, located north of Conceição do Mato Dentro in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, is operated by Anglo American.

SCS Global Services (SCS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an onsite audit (stage 2).

Scope of the Assessment

The assessment will include the open pit mine, milling and mine waste facilities at the Minas-Rio mine site. During the assessment the impacts and issues associated with the mining and associated facilities will be reviewed, and each facility and mining location will be visited.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Minas-Rio mine stakeholders and members of the public can visit the Mines Under Assessment page of IRMA’s website to view up-to-date information on the Minas-Rio assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results) and other assessments.

Stakeholders affected by or interested in the Minas-Rio mine are invited to submit comments to SCS on the social and environmental performance of the mine (in particular, how well it performs against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Minas-Rio mine stakeholders may also contact SCS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed should be submitted by email or mail to:

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

Email: scourter@scsglobalservices.com

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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IRMA Announcement: Mototolo/Der Brochen Mine Site Assessment

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Mototolo/Der Brochen platinum group metals (PGM) mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The mining complex, operated by Rustenburg Platinum Mines Ltd. (parent company Anglo American) is located near Steelpoort, in southern Limpopo province, South Africa.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an on-site audit (stage 2).

Scope of the Assessment

The assessment will include operations and facilities in the Mototolo/Der Brochen mining area, which is made up of two underground mining shafts (Lebowa and Borwa), as well as above-ground milling, concentrator, chrome recovery and waste facilities (closed and operating). During the assessment the impacts and issues associated with all mining operations and the associated facilities will be reviewed, and each facility and mining location will be visited. For more on assessment scope, see the Mototolo/Der Brochen assessment page on the IRMA website.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Mototolo/Der Brochen stakeholders and interested members of the public can visit the Mototolo/Der Brochen page on the IRMA website for up-to-date information on the assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results).

Stakeholders affected by or interested in the Mototolo/Der Brochen mine are invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of the mine’s operations (in particular, how the site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Mototolo/Der Brochen stakeholders may also contact ERM-CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed as part of the audit process should be submitted by email or mail to:

ERM Certification and Verification Services

Email: post@ermcvs.com

Mail: Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8A

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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IRMA Announcement: Amandelbult Mine Site Assessment

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Amandelbult platinum group metals (PGM) mining complex against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The mining complex, operated by Rustenburg Platinum Mines Ltd. (parent company Anglo American) is located between the towns of Northam and Thabazimbi in Limpopo, South Africa.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS), an IRMA-approved certification body, will be carrying out the assessment, which includes a desk review (stage 1) followed by an on-site audit (stage 2).

Scope of the Assessment

The assessment will include operations and facilities in the Amandelbult mining complex area, which is made up of Dishaba and Tumela underground mines and the Zizwe Batlase open pit operation, and concentrator and mine waste facilities. During the assessment the impacts and issues associated with all mining operations and the associated facilities will be reviewed, and each facility and mining location will be visited. For more on assessment scope, see the Amandelbult assessment page on the IRMA website.

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Amandelbult stakeholders and interested members of the public can visit the the Amandelbult page on the IRMA website for up-to-date information on the assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results).

Stakeholders affected by or interested in the Amandelbult mining complex are invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of the Amandelbult operations (in particular, how the site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Amandelbult stakeholders may also contact ERM-CVS if they are interested in being interviewed as part of the assessment process. Stakeholder comments and expressions of interest in being interviewed as part of the audit process should be submitted by email or mail to:

ERM Certification and Verification Services

Email: post@ermcvs.com

Mail: Exchequer Court, 33 St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8A

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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Comment period open: IRMA draft Mineral Processing Standard

Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to release its draft Standard for Responsible Mineral Processing (Mineral Processing Standard) for a 60-day global public comment period. Download the draft standard (as a Word document or in pdf format).

The draft Mineral Processing Standard is IRMA’s response to stakeholder requests for a global set of best practices that go beyond ensuring responsible practice at the mine site by clarifying expectations at other key points in minerals and metals supply chains.

IRMA’s Mineral Processing Standard will serve as the basis of a global, voluntary system offering independent third-party review and certification of environmental and social performance measures at smelters, refineries and other operations involved in the processing and extraction of minerals and metals from ores, concentrates and scrap materials. It was developed through multi-stakeholder collaboration and the innovation that comes from working across diverse sectors, disciplines, and geographic locations.

The Mineral Processing Standard is incomplete without your valuable feedback. The public comment period begins today and remains open through 16 August 2021.

Learn more

IRMA is hosting two webinars to introduce the draft Mineral Processing Standard and highlight some questions that we have for stakeholders. Please join us for one of the following sessions:

How to comment

Next steps

The 60-day public comment period ends 16 August 2021.  Based on the comments and direct feedback from one or more pilot projects, we will revise the Mineral Processing Standard. We aim to release the final Standard in late 2021. We will make the final Mineral Processing Standard available on the IRMA website as well as via the IRMA e-newsletter (sign up here).

 

Photo information: Mineral processing operation (lead, zinc, copper and other metals), La Oroya, Peru.
Photo credit: Earthworks/Scott Cardiff.

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