ICMM steps up game for miners with membership requirements update

Miners face greater scrutiny from communities at host countries, end consumers and society at large, demanding transparent, ethical supply chains, as well as a lower carbon footprint. (Stock image)

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has released new, tougher requirements for members and an updated set of principles for responsible mining amid increased pressure for miners to carry out socially-responsible investments and operations.

The group’s principles have been revised to include site-level validation and transparent disclosure to maximize the industry’s benefits to host communities and to lessen negative impacts.

The fresh set of principles will apply to roughly 650 assets in over 50 countries

The move is ICMM’s latest effort to keep up with rising stakeholder expectations around environmental, social and governance (ESG) best practices.

“Our aim has been to develop a holistic set of requirements that establish a benchmark for responsible mining practices,” ICMM’s chief operating officer, Aidan Davy, said in the statement.

The principles, last updated in 2003, will apply to roughly 650 assets in over 50 countries, held by 27 companies, including BHP, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, Anglo American, Codelco and Glencore.

“In an industry with a checkered history of accidents, environmental disasters and eye-watering corruption scandals, is seems that the balance is finally starting to tip in favour of ‘good’ ESG,” Jonathan Brooks, head of Mining and Metals at European law firm Fieldfisher, recently wrote.

Miners have been taking note. According to an annual study published by consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) in October, almost half of the global mining and metals executives interviewed believe that losing social support, or social licence to operate (SOL), is the main risk the industry currently faces.