February 18, 2021 /3BL Media/ - Today, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) released the audit report of the Unki Mine in Zimbabwe, the first from Anglo American's portfolio of mines to be assessed against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. Anglo American has long served as part of IRMA’s multi-stakeholder governance, committing to a model which represents the interests of industry and civil society equally. By doing so, the company has supported the creation of IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining, the most rigorous and high-bar set of metrics currently available for measuring responsible practices at the mine site.
Anglo American is now sharing its performance against the Standard publicly, a commitment each mine must agree to from the outset of the audit process. The report details results from an independent assessment, carried out by SCS Global Services. Within the IRMA system, this moment is significant, as it is the second report released in the IRMA system, the first from a mine in Africa and the first from a site producing platinum group metals.
“Anglo American’s leadership has been pivotal to the success of IRMA,” said Aimee Boulanger, IRMA’s Executive Director. “During the ten-year process of crafting IRMA’s Standard, they did not shy away from difficult conversations about how to best measure responsible mining in a way that is at once practicable for the industry and meets the expectations of civil society. Now, they are sharing the results of their own operations as measured against the world’s most robust definition of responsible mining. We commend their continued leadership in advancing IRMA’s vision.”
Within IRMA’s system, a mine can achieve one of four levels: IRMA Transparency, in which a mine is third-party-assessed and publicly shares its scores; IRMA 50 or 75, representing that a mine meets at least 50% or 75% of the requirements in each principle area of the Standard (Business Integrity, Planning for Positive Legacies, Social Responsibility and Environmental Responsibility), as well as a set of critical requirements; and IRMA 100, which signifies the mine meets IRMA’s full Standard. Unki achieved IRMA 75, a first in the system and a representation of both Anglo American’s leadership in the sector and the improvements made over the last few years to align with IRMA’s high-bar expectations.
Natasha Viljoen, Chief Executive of Anglo American’s Platinum Group Metals business, said: “Anglo American has a longstanding commitment as a leader in sustainability. Consumers around the world are increasingly and rightly demanding products made from metals and minerals that are responsibly sourced, meeting the highest ethical and sustainability standards. Our alignment with IRMA is part of our Sustainable Mining Plan commitment to assure all our operations against a recognized responsible mining standard by 2025.”
The detailed audit report is now available for public review, including by the mine’s stakeholders, such as nearby communities and civil society organizations, as well as clients both current and potential. Those reviewing the report will note there are some requirements that were not scored as part of the audit process. These requirements were identified as needing additional guidance to enable a more accurate and consistent rating. In order to be responsive to these challenges, IRMA will update its auditor guidance in 2021 and the Unki mine will then have these requirements re-audited during its surveillance audit, a process which will occur within 18 months of today’s release. Such learning and adjustment was expected as part of IRMA’s first years of auditing and the mines who have stepped into the process at this early phase have allowed IRMA to learn and improve for the benefit of all stakeholders.
About the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA)
IRMA envisions a world where the mining industry respects the human rights and aspirations of affected communities; provides safe, healthy and supportive workplaces; minimizes harm to the environment, and leaves positive legacies. IRMA offers objective, independent third-party verification of industrial-scale mine sites against a comprehensive definition of responsible mining agreed to through a collaborative, multi-stakeholder process. This definition, which forms the basis of IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining, covers the full range of issues related to the impacts of mining.
IRMA’s Board is composed of representatives from: Anglo American, ArcelorMittal, Earthworks, First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (Canada), Human Rights Watch, IndustriALL Global Union, Microsoft, Mining Affected Communities United in Action (South Africa), Tiffany & Co., and United Steelworkers.
Learn more at: responsiblemining.net
KEYWORDS: Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, irma, zimbabwe