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IRMA Announcement: Minas-Rio 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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Blog

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 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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Blog

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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Blog

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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Blog

IRMA cited in White House report on building resilient supply chains

We are pleased to share that the U.S. White House mentions IRMA in their recent report from Biden’s Executive Order on building resilient supply chains. Both the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense reference the IRMA Standard as a road map for best practices in mining materials needed for large capacity batteries related to renewable energy and for critical minerals related to electronics and mobility:

“The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is an international coalition of businesses, nongovernmental organizations, labor unions, mining operators, and other stakeholders that has developed a Standard for Responsible Mining and established a system for independently certifying mines worldwide that adhere to that standard. IRMA may provide a method for U.S. companies and the Federal Government to ensure that minerals are being sourced from mines with robust environmental, social, and financial responsibility policies, and also could provide a model for responsible development of additional mines in the United States.”

With a measurement model built on social responsibility, environmental responsibility, business integrity and planning for positive legacies, a governance model founded on consensus across multi-stakeholder interests, and a reporting model capturing unprecedented detail while prioritizing transparency, IRMA provides the most credible assurance standard for the mining industry. As recognized by the Biden Administration, IRMA’s standard can inform and provide a template for improved laws and regulations for mines developed in the United States (and elsewhere), and IRMA’s independent assurance program can help to recognize and foster more responsible mineral supply chains globally.

This important recognition is thanks to the commitment and years of collaborative work invested by IRMA’s visionary multi-stakeholder board.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

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Unki AuditBlog

IRMA’s 2nd Audit Report released: Anglo American’s Unki Mine

Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to publish the results from Unki Mine’s independent, third-party assessment. The platinum group metals mine, located in Zimbabwe, is the first of Anglo American’s portfolio of mines to be assessed against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining – the most rigorous and high-bar set of metrics currently available for measuring responsible practices at mine sites globally.

The audit report details results from an independent assessment carried out by SCS Global Services. SCS awarded Unki an achievement level of IRMA 75, a first in the IRMA system and a representation of both Anglo American’s leadership in the sector and the improvements made at the site over the last few years to align with IRMA’s high-bar expectations. The achievement level of IRMA 75 means that a mine has met at least 75% of the requirements in each of the four principle areas of the Standard (Business Integrity, Planning for Positive Legacies, Social Responsibility and Environmental Responsibility), as well as a set of 40 critical requirements.

The audit report is now available for public review. Those reviewing the report should note that some requirements were not scored as part of the audit process. These requirements were identified as needing additional guidance to enable a more accurate and consistent rating of them. In order to be responsive to these challenges, IRMA will update its auditor guidance in 2021 and the Unki mine will have these requirements assessed during its surveillance audit, a process which will occur within 18 months of today’s release. Such learning and adjustment was expected in the first years of assessing mines against the IRMA Standard, and those mines that have stepped into the process during this early phase have allowed IRMA to learn and improve for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Anglo American has long been engaged with IRMA, and for close to a decade has served on IRMA’s Board of Directors and has helped inform and support the creation of IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining. The Unki mine was also the site of a field test of an early draft of the IRMA Standard.

“Anglo American’s leadership has been pivotal to the success of IRMA,” said Aimee Boulanger, IRMA’s Executive Director. “During the ten-year process of crafting IRMA’s Standard, they did not shy away from difficult conversations about how to best measure responsible mining in a way that is at once practicable for the industry and meets the expectations of civil society. Now, they are sharing the results of their own operations as measured against the world’s most robust definition of responsible mining. We commend their continued leadership in advancing IRMA’s vision.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

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Carrizal Case StudyBlog

First IRMA Audit Report published: Carrizal’s Zimapán Mine

Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) took a bold step toward increasing transparency in the mining sector. With the release of the certification system’s first audit report (view report in Spanish), IRMA is demonstrating the type of clear, consistent reporting it provides for all stakeholders with an interest in mining. The release of this first audit report presents IRMA’s vision for the future of minerals sourcing—one in which information is readily available and objectively verified.

IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining represents a precedent-setting definition for responsible mining and also provides an unprecedented depth of information, opening the pathway to constructive conversation among diverse stakeholders, including those living closest to mines around the world. Through a certification system that is accountable to all stakeholders, IRMA seeks to drive meaningful, positive change in the mining industry.

A core tenet of IRMA is to improve accountability in the mining sector through increased transparency, with a commitment to sharing audit results publicly as a prerequisite for a mine to be independently audited. The first company to release a report in IRMA’s system is Carrizal Mining, a medium-sized lead, zinc, copper and silver miner in Mexico. Following an independent, third-party audit of the mine carried out by the IRMA-approved firm ERM Certification and Verification Services, Carrizal’s Zimapán Mine achieved IRMA Transparency, meaning it was assessed against all of IRMA’s relevant requirements and agreed to share its results publicly.

IRMA’s ultimate goal is to drive value for improved social and environmental responsibility in mining. Carrizal has shown how engaging in IRMA and undergoing an audit helps a mine on that journey. Their first step was self-assessment, followed by investments in improvements before the audit. Now, Carrizal’s leadership is using the audit results as a guide for where to focus next. By using the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining as a guidebook throughout its journey, Carrizal Mining has taken important steps to learn where its mining practices meet global best practice and where there is room for further change. Most importantly, the mine’s leadership has used its engagement in IRMA to plan for improvements in its performance over time.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  • View the Carrizal (Zimapán) Mine Audit Report (English and Spanish)

  • Learn about Carrizal’s journey in the case study “Responsible Mining Begins with Transparency.” (English and Spanish)

  • View IRMA’s Press Release for the Carrizal Audit Report (English and Spanish)
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Blog

IRMA Announcement: Barro Alto Mine Site Assessment Stage 1

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Barro Alto nickel mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The Barro Alto mine, located in Brazil, is operated by Anglo American Brasil. For more information on Barro Alto mine check out their profile on the Responsible Mining Map.

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).

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 Barro Alto assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 on-site visit, link to pubic summary of audit results).

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

Barro Alto mine 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 on the Barro Alto Mine Site Assessment, contact IRMA’s Director of Standards and Assurance: lsumi@responsiblemining.net

For general information on the IRMA mine site assessment and certification process, visit the IRMA website.

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Blog

A Call for Urgent Support for S. African Communities Facing Covid-19

The majority of our communities live in desperate poverty and the Covid-19 Lock Down is set to multiply the misery experienced by so many South Africans…

Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA) and
Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA)

We reach out to you during these critical times for your urgent assistance to support those who will face the coming shutdown without the safety net enjoyed by some.

South Africa has roughly 58 million people living in 17 million households. About 1000 households are added to this number every day. South Africa has a very high number of young people – almost half of its population is under 24.

If we divide the country by household income (that is, all the earners in the household combined), then 7 million would fall into the category of middle class and above. That means 50 million people are living in households below the level needed to support a middle-class lifestyle. These 50 million people are likely to be using public transport and public health care and living with very little financial margin.

As one goes into the ultra-poor and survivor category, households regularly run out of food before the end of the month. A hallmark of living in this kind of household is a dependence on social grant income and a food shortage by the third week of the month. In addition, most poorer households live at least one taxi ride away from the closest supermarket and pay for extra seats on the taxi if purchasing more than a few bags of groceries.

In short, the majority of our communities live in desperate poverty and the Covid-19 Lock Down is set to multiply the misery experienced by so many South Africans.

As MACUA/WAMUA, we have undertaken to use our branch network to run soup kitchens in support of the most vulnerable in our communities along the following lines:

  • We have already been in contact with the Presidency around obtaining clarity on essential services and whether local support groups will fall under essential services.
  • We will also ensure that our volunteers are fully aware of the protective measures that they need to take, and we will monitor activities and outcomes through our regular reporting structures, WhatsApp groups and online meetings.
  • Volunteers will wear distinctive clothing and we will provide letters to all volunteers explaining their role and work.
  • We currently have 20 branches throughout the country, mostly in rural areas where poverty is at its worst, and we hope to provide each branch with regular funding support to run soup kitchens at least twice a week for at least the next 3 months.

Donate online, through the MACUA website

Or send a donation to:

MACUA/WAMUA Advice Office (MWAO)
First National Bank (FNB)
Account Number: 62805769893
Branch Code: 250655

All donations are tax deductible:
Registered in South Africa as MACUA/WAMUA ADVICE OFFICE under the Non-Profit Organisations Act, 1997 (ACT 71 OF 1997)
Registration number 228-294 NPO
MACUA WAMUA NPC 2019/360083/08

For more information contact:
Meshack Mbangula, MACUA National Coordinator, mbangulam@gmail.com

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Blog

The EV revolution will take batteries, but are they ethical?

Up-and-coming IRMA positions itself as the most rigorous third-party mining standard to emerge. . . Microsoft, Tiffany and Anglo American are already IRMA members; BMW is the first carmaker to sign up.

Adria Vasil, Corporate Knights

“. . .The EV revolution has been racking up a whole supply chain of trouble around the globe (including a recent lawsuit) related to an onslaught of often-contentious new mines opening to meet surging battery-metal demand, not to mention the coming tide of e-waste from old batteries.

If we want to fix this before e-cars take over the roads (30% of car sales should be electric across the EU and North America by 2030, analysts forecast), the time to ensure it’s done right is now. A handful of companies are trying to get out ahead of looming environmental and social risks. . .”

Read the full Corporate Knights article >

Photo credit: Lithium mines in Chile, Open Commons.

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