Draft standard released today backed by members of multiple sectors
including mining, labour, NGOs, affected communities and downstream
TORONTO, July 22, 2014 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) is pleased to support today's release of a proposed international
Standard for Responsible Mining.
The draft standard is being released for public comment by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). IRMA includes stakeholders from the mining industry, organized
labour, nongovernmental organizations, affected communities and
businesses. The USW serves on the IRMA steering committee.
The proposed Standard for Responsible Mining is a set of principles to
improve social and environmental performance and is the result of eight
years of collaboration between groups that have historically been at
odds. It seeks to emulate for industrial-scale mine sites what has been
done with certification schemes in agriculture, forestry and
"Each of us wants a future where mining companies make a positive
contribution to local communities and minimize any impact on land and
water, while serving the needs of modern society," said Jon Samuel,
Group Head of Government and Social Affairs at international mining
company Anglo American. "Though we don't always see eye to eye on every issue, IRMA has
developed a draft set of leading edge practices and a new definition of
more responsible mining."
"As Canada's mining union, we are proud of our contributions and that of
IndustriALL Global Union, a global union federation to which we are
affiliated," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.
"This is a joint effort to develop a credible multi-stakeholder
certification and assurance reporting system for the mining industry
which is responsive to the urgent challenges of sustainable
development," said Glen Mpufane, Mining Director at IndustriALL and a former underground miner from South Africa.
While IRMA's Steering Committee has confidence that the draft Standard
for Responsible Mining has successfully integrated varied perspectives
from each sector, it is important to note that the individuals,
organizations and companies on the Steering Committee have not reached
agreement on all aspects of the standard. However, they believe it is
time to open up the standard to broader consultation and are therefore
asking for a first round of feedback and input from the public, businesses and other stakeholders.
After the Oct. 22 comment deadline, revisions will be made to the draft Standard for Responsible Mining and a second draft will be released for an additional comment period
before the final standard is prepared. The goal is to develop a
certification scheme based on independent third-party verification and
in compliance with ISEAL Alliance's Code of Good Practice for standard setting.
"With this set of new guiding principles for mine sites, we are raising
the bar on environmental and human rights standards for mining," said
Jennifer Krill, executive director at Earthworks, an international mining reform group. "The credibility of this
proposed new system lies in the unprecedented participation of leaders
from every sector involved in mining."
Gold, iron ore, copper and other minerals and metals are used in
everything from jewelry and cell phones to building materials and auto
parts. The process for mining these materials can have significant
social and environmental impacts and result in conflict between mining
companies, local communities and other stakeholders. With growing
awareness and demand for environmentally and socially responsible
products by consumers, mining companies' customers - jewelers,
electronics businesses and others - have sought assurances that
minerals are mined responsibly.
The Standard for Responsible Mining will cover mine sites, not mining companies, and will not certify
extraction of energy fuels (e.g. uranium, coal, oil or gas). The best
practices for mining will include elements such as consideration of
ecologically and culturally significant areas with regard to the
location of the mine; reducing environmental impacts such as habitat
loss and pollution; health and safety provisions for workers; free,
prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples; and transparency in
revenue payments from companies to governments.
"With this draft Standard for Responsible Mining we have an unprecedented opportunity to better the lives of communities
sitting on natural resources," said Larson Bill of the Western Shoshone
Defense Project. "By giving feedback on this draft, native peoples
around the globe can help ensure greater respect of our rights and
better control over our future when evaluating mine proposals on our
"We believe IRMA will do much to improve the entire industry by
motivating mine operators to work towards, and ultimately achieve,
certification," says Anisa Kamadoli Costa, Vice President, Global
Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Tiffany & Co. "We've witnessed great success in similar certification initiatives,
such as the Forest Stewardship Council, in raising the bar for an
entire industry and increasing consumer awareness of responsible
practices. Because IRMA includes the same key components - credibility
in the marketplace through a multi-stakeholder approach and independent
third-party verification - we hope this initiative will have similar
In addition to the USW, the IRMA Steering Committee is made up of Anglo
American, Tiffany & Co., Jewelers of America, Earthworks, Canadian
Boreal Initiative and Western Shoshone Defense Project.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, email@example.com
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org
Aimee Boulanger, IRMA Coordinator, tel. +1-360-969-2028, email@example.com
Liz Banse, Resource Media, tel. +1-206-261-3185, firstname.lastname@example.org