The IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining was developed through a process that included public comment periods on two drafts of the standard (2014 and 2016), expert input (through working groups and review sessions) and learning from on-the-ground field tests.

Standard Development Procedure

IRMA developed a draft IRMA Standard Development Procedure document that outlines the requirements and procedures to be followed by IRMA for the development, review, modification and approval of IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining. These procedures are designed to comply with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards (2010). The objective of these procedures is to ensure the credibility of IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining by incorporating the values of transparency, participation and fairness into the processes for their development, and through compliance with international best practice for standards development.

Early Drafts of the IRMA Standard

As part of its Standard development process IRMA has endeavored to follow an extensive stakeholder feedback process, including webinars and workshops with interested stakeholders, to gather input and respond to stakeholder suggestions and concerns about the draft Standard for Responsible Mining. IRMA has kept records of its early draft Standards and stakeholder consultations on these drafts, and has also responded to all comments submitted during public comment periods.

Interested stakeholders can access early drafts of the IRMA Standard, and view IRMA’s responses to stakeholder comments by visiting the resources page.

Field Testing of the Draft IRMA Standard

The draft Standard was field tested at specific mine sites to test how it works “on the ground” and how it reads to an independent auditor. The field tests involved simulated audits, where auditors hired by IRMA reviewed company documentation, made first-hand observations at the mine sites, and conducted interviews with company representatives and other stakeholders, including workers and community members, to determine where improvements might be made to the Standard. The auditors provided IRMA with feedback on whether the requirements in the draft Standard were clear and understandable, if the requirements seemed achievable, and whether the requirements were auditable (i.e., it would be possible for a company to provide an auditor with sufficient evidence to verify that a requirement had been met).

  • The first field test was conducted in October 2015, at the Stillwater Mining Company’s platinum/palladium mine in Montana, USA. Read the Stillwater mine field test report on our resources page.
  • In March 2016, a second field test was conducted in Zimbabwe, at Anglo American’s Unki Platinum mine. Read the Unki mine field test report on our resources page.
  • In June 2016, a desktop field test of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent chapter was conducted with First Nations leaders and technicians and independent auditors in British Columbia.

Input from field tests was used to inform revisions to the draft Standard as well as the design of IRMA’s verification program.