At this unprecedented time, IRMA recognizes there is much to be learned as the mining sector responds to COVID-19 in the weeks and months ahead.
Communicable diseases at active mine sites can present a significant health risk to workers and communities, given there are often hundreds of employees at a mine site who may live in or interact with nearby communities.
The mining sector also has tremendous opportunity—and responsibility—to protect public health. Indeed, large-scale mines can serve as one of the most powerful institutions, especially in rural contexts, for dissemination of information, collaboration with governments and providing resources to respond to a health emergency.
The sector has responded to various health crises in the past (e.g., threats from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, Ebola) and, over time, best practices for public and occupational and health and safety have emerged. Many of these lessons are reflected in the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining, most specifically in the chapters on: Community Health and Safety, Occupational Health and Safety, Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Visionary leadership is needed now, and unprecedented collaboration across stakeholder groups, to avoid further public health crises. IRMA commits to working with others to invest what is learned from our losses to proactively address the broader need for environmental and social responsibility – including response to our global climate challenge.
Below, we share responses and guidance on the current crisis from a number of our board members, representing the multi-stakeholder composition and governance of IRMA. We hope these will be useful in illustrating how various stakeholders are responding and also serve as a resource for others in the sector:
We also share information from some of our colleagues on discussions taking place, as well as guidance that may be useful for mining companies and other businesses.
From our colleagues at UNICEF:
From our colleagues at ResponsibleSteel:
Additional Responses and Guidance on COVID-19: