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.

IRMA verifies performance of individual mines. Our robust, independent audits include both desk review and onsite visits to every mine that applies for assessment. 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, verification of individual chapters of our Standard (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.


Learn more and apply…

Self-Assessment / Audit Preparation

The first step for mines is to conduct a self-assessment using our audit preparation tool (view our webinar by going to the Resources page > Webinars). For the most up-to-date information on the tool, and its functionality, please download the latest version of the Self-Assessment Instruction Manual (May 2020).

Self-assessment with our audit preparation tool ‘Mine Measure’ allows you to see how your practices compare with the Standard for Responsible Mining.

Completing a self-assessment and sharing your commitment or score on the Responsible Mining Map are a powerful way to signal that you deliver on your promises.  This is an important way to prepare for independent auditing.

Why use the audit preparation tool to self-assess?

  • Improve your mine site
  • Reassure buyers and clients
  • Improve engagement with communities
  • Prepare for, and save time and money during, the independent audit

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).

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.

IRMA meets mines where they are, at any place in their journey to make improvements. 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.

We emphasize continuous improvement, independently verify those steps in a mine’s journey towards full certification, and offer customer-facing claims along the way.

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

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.

For more information on independent certification, write to us at


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 purchasers can engage in IRMA.

“Microsoft Devices is committed to increasing the sustainability of our upstream supply chain. We believe that globally recognized standards, developed in consultation with different stakeholders, will help define the expectations that protect and treat people with equity and dignity. 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.

“We at the Sierra Club understand that mining by its very nature is destructive and hazardous. When mining is necessary to meet human needs it must be conducted in a manner that doesn't result in significant environmental destruction, exploitation of workers, or lead to human rights violations. 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. We call on banks and investors to consider how a mining operation could threaten the environment and human rights before lending.``
Michael Brune
Executive Director, Sierra Club