IRMA’s approach to responsible mining is to certify social and environmental performance at mine sites globally using an internationally recognized standard that has been developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.
Publicly available audit results provide credible information to purchasers interested in the responsible sourcing of mined materials, and meet civil society’s desire for transparency and truthfulness about whether a mine is taking steps to reduce potential harm and make continuous improvement.
Membership in IRMA supports achievement of IRMA’s vision and mission, as members are required to take concrete actions to advance responsible mining. For example, mining sector members must start the audit process at least at one mine site within a year of joining IRMA, and purchasing members agree to encourage mining companies to engage in IRMA through third-party assessment of their mine sites.
IRMA leaders recognize that in the past there may not have been incentive for mines to go beyond host country laws, and that some mines may currently have unique circumstances that pose particular challenges to implementing certain best practices. Rather than only rewarding the small group of mines that are already achieving best practices, IRMA leaders have developed a system to also recognize lower tiers of achievement in hopes that more mines will come into the IRMA system and gain some market benefits, while continuing to make progress toward meeting IRMA’s comprehensive set best of practices over time. The decision to give each mine a score—rather than taking a pass-fail approach—was deliberate, as a score allows a mine to demonstrate achievement, as well as show improvement over time. For more information, go to Certification.
Our global standard, developed over ten years and in consultation with more than 100 companies and organizations, covers all mined materials, except for energy fuels, for all sizes of industrial mines and in all parts of the world.
We are governed by labor unions, mining-affected communities, environmental and social justice organizations, as well as mining companies and those businesses that buy mined materials. In IRMA, no single type of organization or industry can make decisions that do not work for other stakeholder groups. This is what makes IRMA accountable to all.
Learn more about our multi-stakeholder leadership.
“Earthworks believes that IRMA’s strength lies in the authentic engagement of both corporate and civil society stakeholders, and its commitment to raising the bar on environmental and human rights standards for mining. This kind of debate and dialogue between parties who don’t always see eye to eye isn’t easy – but it’s essential to building a robust, credible system for improving mining practices.”
Mining Program Director, Earthworks
Everything we do is in collaboration. This ranges from facilitating working groups on special topics, to connecting companies and organizations through the IRMA Engagement Map, to testing the IRMA standard in places or on issues where stakeholders are invested.
We also work with other sustainability standards and ensure our activities are compatible with recognized chain-of-custody or traceability solutions for different products, such as jewelry, electronics or green building.
We engage deeply with both our members and a wide range of other interested groups and individuals. Learn more about our members and partners.
“In responding to the urgent challenges of sustainable development, IndustriALL Global Union, as the world’s biggest global union, is proud to be associated with IRMA in a joint effort to develop a credible multi-stakeholder certification and assurance reporting system for the mining industry.”
Assistant General Secretary, IndustriALL Global Union
Engaging in IRMA is not difficult. Industrial mine sites that engage with IRMA can do the following:
- Use IRMA’s Mine Measure self-assessment tool to perform a gap analysis against IRMA’s comprehensive social and environmental best practices
- Get independent, 3rd-party validation of mine site performance.
- Be transparent about their practices.
- Demonstrate they are committed to continuous improvement
Associated claims are offered to all mines participating in independent, third-party audits. View IRMA’s Communications and Claims Policy.
The IRMA system recognizes different performance levels, with the highest level of certification awarded to mines meeting all relevant best practice requirements.
Visit IRMA’s Certification page to learn more.
“As interest in the responsible sourcing of metals and minerals grows, it is important to have standards that meet the needs of the wide variety of customers that mining serves, and address the expectations of society as a whole. We look forward to trialling the IRMA Self-Assessment Tool and to continuing to contribute to the development of IRMA as a demonstration of our commitment to responsible mining.“
Group Head of Social Performance and Engagement, Anglo American