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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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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BMW Group joins the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance

BMW Group has become the first carmaker to join the global effort for the third-party certification of social and environmental performance at mine sites.

“Sustainability is an important aspect of our corporate strategy and we are fully aware of our responsibility in mineral value chains.” said Dr. Andreas Wendt, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network. “For the BMW Group and its stakeholders, it is of the utmost importance that environmental and social standards are adhered to throughout the entire value chain. Raw materials form the basis for every industrial production process and our need will continue to grow accordingly,” underlined Wendt. “We believe that IRMA, with its ambitious certification standard, will contribute to enhancing responsibility in global value chains and improving environmental and social performance.”

. . . “The auto sector is a powerful purchaser of materials that come from mines. We are happy to have the BMW Group join IRMA and we look forward to supporting their commitment to increasing environmental and social responsibility in their supply chains,” said Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA.

Read the full article on miningglobal.com >

Photo credit: Andreas Riedelmeier from Pixabay.

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Carrizal Mine Site Assessment Announcement

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Carrizal lead, zinc, copper and silver mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The Carrizal mine, located in Mexico, is operated by Carrizal S.A. de C.V.

ERM Certification and Verification Services (CVS), 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).

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can sign up to receive updates about the Carrizal mine assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 onsite visit, link to pubic summary of audit results). 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 performance of the mine site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Stakeholders of the Carrizal mine 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 Carrizal stakeholders who may be interested in knowing about and participating in the mine site assessment process.

For more information on the Carrizal 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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Unki Mine Site Assessment Announcement

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of the Unki platinum group metals (PGM) mine against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The Unki mine, located in Zimbabwe, is operated by Anglo American Platinum.

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).

Stakeholder Engagement in the Assessment

Interested stakeholders and members of the public can sign up to receive updates about the Unki mine assessment (e.g., the timing of the stage 2 onsite visit, link to pubic summary of audit results). 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.

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 on the Unki 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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News

China, e-silk roads and a plea for change

The EV revolution is in its infancy, but it is gaining traction, and its minerals, whatever they are, will have to be mined responsibly.  

Author, John Harker

What if China, the EU, and North America co-operated to undertake a major survey of Responsible Mining and Rare-Earths? A survey in which major mining houses such as BHP, Glencore, and Anglo-American would have much to offer, especially as they are increasing or refining their own focus on “battery” minerals.

In fact, their involvement is key. They know the ups and downs in mining as the EV revolution unfolds. A year ago, Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of Glencore, stressed that his company has “a key role to play in enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy”. This is true, but the company has seen its profits drop due in large part to its “battery minerals” business.

Anglo-American is the world’s largest supplier of platinum and palladium, which are essential to the smooth running of cars fueled by Petrol/Gas, and the company is now intent on developing a lithium battery which will use the platinum-group metals instead of cobalt and nickel.

The great mining houses are among the companies which created the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, a body which would also be a source of strength for any such survey.

Read the full article on Mining.com >

Photo credit: Electric taxi in Shenzhen, China. (Image: Brücke-Osteuropa | Wikimedia Commons.)

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BC Mining Law Reform Issues Recommendations for Legal Reform

BC Mining Law Reform was created in May 2019 to push for certain changes in the BC mining regulatory landscape. The new reports offer 69 recommendations that range from broad policy updates to small changes in current legislation. They include the adoption of free, prior, and informed consent for indigenous communities affected by mining projects and major changes to BC’s mineral tenure system.

Waste Disposal and Management: BC Mining Law Reform recommends reducing the number of existing tailings dams; moving away from wet tailing impoundments; adopting the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) Standard for Responsible Mining for waste management; and banning disposal of wastes into lakes, rivers, or oceans.

Water Protection: BC Mining Law Reform recommends the adoption of the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining water management standards, including full consultation with communities and stakeholders on critical water-related issues, with third party independent reviews. The network also recommends the prohibition of mines likely to require perpetual water treatment unless able to meet exceptional criteria.

Read full article >

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Are There Potential Downsides of Going to 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

A new study looks at the danger to biodiversity that could come from increased mining of minerals used to create batteries for renewable energy technologies . . . EV and battery industry are urged to source from IRMA-certified mines.

Until recycled materials become a feasible alternative to mining, the researchers say, the industry will continue to mine new materials to meet the growing needs of the energy sector, and renewable energy companies will be on the hook for ensuring that their emissions-free technologies aren’t causing potentially irreversible environmental degradation.

“ best practice is to source metals through verified high-bar standards/certification schemes (such as the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance) industry self-monitoring,” said report co-author Dominish.

According to the report summary, the EV and battery industries urgently need to take action to ensure sustainability in their supply chains, particularly for the sourcing of lithium, cobalt, and rare earth metals.

Access the full article in the Pacific Standard.

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Canadian mining companies will now face human rights charges in Canadian courts

“Canada is the undisputed powerhouse of the mining industry, home to 75 per cent of its companies — but the industry is plagued by allegations of rape and slavery abroad. Now those who feel harmed or violated can seek justice back in Canada,” according to an article published in The Narwhal on June 7, 2019 (Read full article here). In the piece, IRMA Executive Director, Aimee Boulanger is quoted where author Andrew Findlay says that Canadian companies need to do more to be responsible and cites IRMA as the independent standard that activists and industry are watching for as it becomes fully operational after its 12 years of development.

“‘We don’t yet have any Canadian mines that have come in asking to be recognized by system, but we hope some soon will,’ Boulanger says.”

The article also states: “Boulanger places mining in a similar phase as the garment and forestry industries more than a decade ago, when consumers and activists began placing their practices in a glaring spotlight, whether it was a sweatshop in Bangladesh or old-growth clear-cutting in B.C. Such pressure helped put corporate and social responsibility at the top of boardroom agendas in those industries; Boulanger believes mining’s day of reckoning is next.”

“‘My hope is that CEOs will realize that they won’t be able to avoid this level of corporate responsibility indefinitely,’ she says.”

Access the full article on The Narwhal.

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Can Lab-Grown Diamonds Ever Really Be Sustainable?

In recent weeks, we have seen several lab-created diamond producers move away from calling themselves “eco-friendly.” That’s largely due to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) warning to lab-grown diamond producers that they should stop using “general benefit environmental claims” like eco-friendly and sustainable, and in part due to a growing cry that companies need to actually prove their eco-friendliness, beyond saying bad things about diamond mines.

Natural diamond miners will soon get a chance to label their gems with a similar phrase—“responsibly mined”—thanks to the work done by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), Mathuram notes. That label could also be used to certify the gold and other mined metals used to create lab-diamond jewelry.

Read full article on JCK Online

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