In December 2021, IRMA released a draft IRMA Standard for Responsible Mineral Exploration and Development (the IRMA-Ready Standard) for public consultation. We value your feedback on any aspect of the draft . The public comment period is open through 15 April 2022. Download the draft IRMA-Ready Standard.
The IRMA Standard for Responsible Mineral Exploration and Development (IRMA-Ready Standard) is a response to requests from exploration and mining companies, directly affected communities, purchasers, and others for a comprehensive standard that defines best practices during mineral exploration and development, prior to the operational phase of a mine. We refer to this as the “IRMA-Ready” Standard because an exploration or proposed mining project that meets the requirements in this pre-operational Standard should be well prepared to meet requirements in the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining if the project is developed and a mine becomes operational.
Why an IRMA-Ready Standard?
The IRMA-Ready Standard is particularly important now because the green economy transition is increasing materials demand. Even as companies, investors, governments, and NGOs work to create more circular supply chains, gaps between supply and increasing demands are driving proposals for new mineral exploration and pre-extraction development. Standards for these early phases are often overlooked, yet activities and decisions made during exploration and project development have significant positive and negative environmental, social, and economic impacts with long-term implications on operations, closure, and post-closure phases of a mine. Accordingly, it is important that a definition of responsible practices for the earliest stages of the mine life cycle be developed that meets the needs of diverse stakeholders.
What is in the draft IRMA-Ready Standard?
The draft IRMA Ready Standard is based foremost on content already in practice in the 2018 IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining for mines in production. It differs in that it focuses on requirements that are most relevant for the early phases of mineral exploration and mining project development.
IRMA recognizes that requirements at different stages of exploration and development must be appropriate to the types of activities undertaken at that stage. As a result, the draft IRMA-Ready Standard covers six stages: three Stages of exploration (Stages 1, 2, and 3) and three Stages of development (Pre-permitting, Mine Permitting, and Construction). Office work and desk-based reviews would be part of Exploration Stage 1, for example, while geological examinations would be part of Exploration Stage 2, and drilling and underground work would be part of Exploration Stage 3. Requirements differ for each Stage commensurate with its level of impacts and risks.
You can download a version of the draft IRMA-Ready Standard that includes all six stages of exploration and development, or choose to review a version of the standard that pertains to the stage or stages of most interest to you. The draft Standard is also available in a spreadsheet format.
How is the IRMA-Ready Standard being developed?
This first draft of the IRMA-Ready Standard used the comprehensive IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining, which was developed through a robust multi-year, multi-stakeholder process, as its foundation. The IRMA Secretariat, along with expert consultants, reviewed materials related to mineral exploration and development, and revised the Standard for Responsible Mining to make it more applicable to the various stages of mineral exploration development.
The IRMA Board of Directors has not endorsed this first draft of the IRMA-Ready Standard, but has agreed to release the draft to catalyze global discussion and input on the appropriate metrics to guide responsible mineral exploration and development.
Following a 4.5-month stakeholder engagement and comment period (during which exploration and development companies will also pilot the draft Standard), the IRMA Secretariat will undertake another round of revisions based on stakeholder feedback and learning from the pilots. A second draft will then be released for public consultation.
For more information, see IRMA Standard Development Procedure, which outlines the requirements and procedures to be followed by IRMA for the development, review, modification and approval of IRMA’s standards. These procedures are designed to comply with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards by incorporating the values of transparency, participation and fairness into the processes into standards development.
Who should comment on the draft IRMA-Ready Standard?
We encourage a full range of feedback from exploration and development companies, from communities affected by mineral exploration and development, from NGOs, labor advocates, investors, purchasers of mined materials, governments, subject experts and any others with an interest in forwarding more responsible exploration and mineral development.
We also encourage the pilot testing of this draft Standard at locations where exploration is happening or mining projects are being proposed, to best inform ways this content should be changed and clarified to serve value for diverse stakeholders who are interested in or affected by mineral exploration and development. (More on pilot testing below)
How do I comment on the draft IRMA-Ready Standard?
Please send comments or questions on the draft IRMA-Ready Standard to: email@example.com.
Comments will be accepted in any format.
If you’d like to receive a Word document version where you add comments and track suggested changes please request a copy from: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I participate in pilot testing the draft IRMA-Ready Standard?
IRMA leaders invite and encourage the pilot testing of this draft Standard by companies engaged in actual exploration or proposed mining projects, and by stakeholders of existing or proposed projects.
This type of involvement will help to ground-truth the proposed requirements and inform ways that content should be changed and clarified to create value for the diversity of stakeholders who are interested in or affected by mineral exploration and development
Companies or others engaged in the pilot program will test the draft Standard using the Mine Measure self-assessment tool, which has been adapted for the exploration and development stages, and will provide feedback to IRMA through the tool. Read the participants guide.
Input from pilot tests will be used to inform revisions to the draft IRMA-Ready Standard.
To participate in the pilot program, please fill out an application form and send it to: email@example.com
View Webinars and Presentations on IRMA-Ready
Additional topic-specific IRMA-Ready webinars will be offered in 2022. Suggest a topic that interests you by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org.