Certification

Companies such as those in jewelry, electronics, building and autos want assurance that the minerals they buy are mined responsibly.  Civil society organizations and communities expect adherence to a standards system that is comprehensive, robust and accountable to all affected stakeholders.

IRMA seeks to drive positive change in industrial-scale mining using credible third-party certification: a tool that has been proven to deliver better social and environmental outcomes in industries such as agriculture, forestry and fishing.  IRMA offers the only third-party certification of industrial-scale mine sites for all mined materials that is governed equitably by the private sector, local communities, civil society, and workers.  It is the most comprehensive standard and is available now for mines all over the world.

Our long-standing collaboration with the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance has given us the opportunity to partner and address important and challenging issues in the mining sector across the areas of ethics, labor, human rights, health and safety, and the environment.
Ephi Banaynal dela Cruz
Senior Director, Responsible Sourcing, Microsoft

 More information about Microsoft’s implementation of the Microsoft Devices Responsible Sourcing of Raw Materials policy, including its commitments, approach and progress, is available here.

What makes IRMA certification unique?

IRMA verifies performance of mine sites. Our robust, independent audits include desk review and on-site visits to every mine that applies for assessment, as well as stakeholder engagement in the verification in the verification process. Here are some important facts about our assurance program:

  • It is the mine site, not the company, that gets certified.
  • A mining company can choose to commit to putting a percentage of its mines into the program, or reach a verified performance level at all of its mines, and make claims about that commitment and achievement.
  • We use a step-by-step approach, not a pass/fail certification system.
  • Our Standard describes ‘best practice’ for mines globally but also encourages mines at any level to come in and be recognized for continuously improving (see levels below).
  • We offer a self-assessment tool, third-party independent verification and public reporting on performance (called IRMA Transparency), and the IRMA 50, IRMA 75 and IRMA 100 Certified levels for further improved performance.  In the 50, 75, 100 levels of achievement, we always ensure a set of critical requirements are covered.  See more in the graphic below.

IRMA Achievement Levels

There needs to be a high bar, which is why all mines should follow the safeguards outlined in IRMA's Standard for Responsible Mining. We call on companies around the world to ensure the products they buy from mines meet these standards.
Michael Brune
Executive Director, Sierra Club

Start your certification journey today

Self-Assessment / Audit Preparation

The first step in the certification process is for mines to conduct a self-assessment using our Mine Measure self-assessment and audit preparation tool.

The Mine Measure tool can also be used by any mine that is interested to see how its practices compare with the Standard for Responsible Mining. In 2021, all mining companies are being offered one free use of the self-assessment tool.

Completing a self-assessment and sharing a commitment or results on the Responsible Mining Map is a powerful way to signal to stakeholders that mines plan to deliver on their promises.

Why use the audit preparation tool to self-assess?

  • Identify gaps in environmental or social performance
  • Reassure buyers and clients
  • Improve engagement with communities
  • Prepare for, and save time and money during, the independent audit

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Independent Assessment

IRMA is the only multi-stakeholder-governed standards system that offers third-party independent assessment at the site of the industrial mine and for all mined materials (except energy fuels). IRMA meets mines where they are, at any place in their journey to make improvements. We  independently verify the steps in a mine’s journey towards full certification, and offer customer-facing claims along the way. To learn about the process from start to finish, read our Assessment Manual for Mines.

Mine sites can start by being audited and disclosing their results publicly (IRMA Transparency).  Some mines will go beyond and show they are meeting IRMA’s set of critical requirements, and additional multi-stakeholder-developed requirements.  As their performance improves mines can get recognition for reaching the IRMA 50, IRMA 75 and IRMA 100 levels.

In mid-2019 we began our auditing program of mine sites against version 1.0 of the Standard for Responsible Mining. Visit our Mine Sites Under Assessment page to view mines currently undergoing 3rd-party audits.

Mines that wish to undergo independent assessment should begin by filling out the Mine Site Assessment Application Form.

If mining companies are unsure whether their mines are ready for an independent audit, they are encouraged to start with a self-assessment through our ‘Mine Measure‘ tool and to publicly share their intentions and scores on the Responsible Mining Map.

IRMA is working with SCS Global Services and ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM-CVS) as its first audit program partners.  Both SCS and ERM-CVS have experience auditing social, environmental and technical issues at industrial-scale mines.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Purchasing Certified Materials

Buying mined materials that originate from mines engaged in IRMA gives value to companies that seek to offer a responsible value chain to their customers.  In 2019, more than 60 civil society organisations have come forward publicly and called for companies to source mined materials from mines that meet IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining.

As a first general step purchasers can demonstrate their commitment and make contact with mines working towards certification by getting on the Responsible Mining Map.  Purchasers can also join IRMA as a member, and make a commitment to sourcing from responsible mines.  They can then encourage their suppliers to engage with IRMA. Membership also offers many benefits including participation in our multi-stakeholder governance.  Purchasers receive tools to help them source from responsible mines and to help them create appropriate incentives for mines to enter the IRMA system.

Read more on how mining companies and purchasers can engage in IRMA.

Responsible Mining Map

The Responsible Mining Map

The Responsible Mining Map is an interactive tool that allows diverse stakeholders involved in mining (ranging from affected communities to mining companies) to identify global progress in responsible mining.

To explore the map and find out how to get your organization listed: