Industry groups aim to deliver unified global standard for responsible mining

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Four leading industry groups, including the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), are banding together to create a new globalized standard for responsible mining.

London, UK-based International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) said that it, the Copper Mark, MAC and the World Gold Council are working to consolidate their individual voluntary responsible mining standards into a single global standard with a multi-stakeholder oversight system.

As investor focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors has grown, both mining companies and investors have found it difficult to keep up with the ever expanding number of ESG standards — often referred to as ‘alphabet soup‘ as each has its own acronym.

“This collaboration responds to direct feedback from investors, civil society, customers, policy makers and mining companies that confirmed the appetite for a less crowded and complex standards landscape that is more transparent, robust and encourages wider industry participation to drive impact at scale,” reads the ICMM release.

The proposed standard could have the widest coverage of any voluntary responsible mining standard to date, with initial implementation by more than 80 mining companies with around 700 operations in almost 60 countries worldwide. Broader participation by companies beyond the four organizations will help support the industry to further raise the bar on ESG (environment, social and governance) performance.

The process aims to take the best attributes of each organization’s standard while ensuring the resulting standard would be practical for any mine operator to follow, regardless of commodity, geography or size. Implementation of the single standard would be overseen by an independent, multi-stakeholder governance body and a credible assurance process, both of which are yet to be defined and developed.

Multi-stakeholder and industry advisory groups will play an essential role in providing a balanced perspective on the standard, assurance process and governance model. ICMM expects to launch a wide ranging public consultation and stakeholder engagement process next year.