Statement of Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), regarding the tragic loss of life of 46 mine workers at ArcelorMittal’s Kostenko mine in Kazakhstan on Saturday, 28 October 2023.

ArcelorMittal has served on IRMA’s Board of Directors since 2015.

The heartbreaking disaster at ArcelorMittal’s Kostenko mine weighs heavily on me, our staff, and IRMA board members. IRMA’s vision is a world where the mining industry respects the human rights and aspirations of affected communities; provides safe, healthy and supportive workplaces; minimizes harm to the environment; and leaves positive legacies. Devastating loss of life, such as has occurred in Kazakhstan, brings into sharp focus the urgency of bringing this vision into reality. At too many mine sites around the world, workers labor under unsafe conditions—and this urgently needs to change. IRMA exists to help create this change.

In coming weeks, IRMA’s labor sector leaders will meet with ArcelorMittal representatives. IRMA, as an organization, won’t take a further stance on this issue until informed by the outcomes of conversations between IndustriALL, USW and ArcelorMittal, as these are the organizations best set to make a recommendation to the IRMA Board of Directors.

IRMA is a system seeking to drive more responsible mining practices around the world, responsive to the values of six governing houses, including labor unions, mining companies, NGOs, affected communities, investors and companies who purchase mined materials. These six houses equally govern IRMA’s multistakeholder system.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those whose lives were lost at this ArcelorMittal mine site. May our work together prevent future losses of life and ensure greater welfare for people and the lands they rely on.