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IRMA Announcement: Salar Plant, Salar de Atacama (Albemarle) Assessment

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is pleased to announce the commencement of a third-party independent assessment of Albemarle’s Salar de Atacama “Salar Plant” brine extraction site against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. The site produces a lithium-rich brine, potash, bischofite, halite, and sylvinite. The Salar Plant is located inside Albemarle’s mining concession area in the Salar de Atacama sector, in the commune of San Pedro de Atacama, El Loa Province, Antofagasta Region, Chile.

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 brine extraction, concentration, and waste disposal areas at the Salar de Atacama Salar Plant site. During the assessment the impacts and issues associated with the site will be reviewed, and each operation and facility will be visited.

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

Stakeholders are invited to submit comments to ERM-CVS on the social and environmental performance of the Salar Plant operations (in particular, how the site measures against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining).

Salar Plant 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 stakeholders who may be interested in knowing about and participating in the Salar Plant assessment process.

For More Information

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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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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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