6. Environmental Performance

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Pursue continual improvement in environmental performance issues, such as water stewardship, energy use and climate change.

Industry has a responsibility to be proactive in contributing practical solutions to the significant environmental challenges facing society. ICMM members commit to apply the ‘mitigation hierarchy’ to address adverse impacts of operations and deliver sustainable benefits for people and planet. They also commit to the responsible production of the metals needed for a low-carbon future.

The performance expectations

Developed with extensive input from NGOs, international organisations and academics, our Mining Principles establish baseline performance expectations for a responsible mining and metals industry. These five requirements define ICMM's environmental performance expectations of company members.

  • 6.1: Plan for closure

    Plan and design for closure in consultation with relevant authorities and stakeholders, implement measures to address closure-related environmental and social aspects, and make financial provision to enable agreed closure and post-closure commitments to be realised.

  • 6.2: Implement water stewardship practices

    Implement water stewardship practices that provide for strong and transparent water governance, effective and efficient management of water at operations, and collaboration with stakeholders at a catchment level to achieve responsible and sustainable water use.

  • 6.3: Effectively manage tailings

    Design, construct, operate, monitor and decommission tailings disposal/storage facilities using comprehensive, risk-based management and governance practices in line with internationally recognised good practice, to minimise the risk of catastrophic failure.[1][2]

  • 6.4: Prevent pollution and manage releases and waste

    Apply the mitigation hierarchy to prevent pollution, manage releases and waste, and address potential impacts on human health and the environment.

  • 6.5: Improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions

    Implement measures to improve energy efficiency and contribute to a low-carbon future, and report the outcomes based on internationally recognised protocols for measuring CO2 equivalent (GHG) emissions.

About ICMM's Mining Principles

ICMM’s Mining Principles strengthen social and environmental requirements, on issues such as labour rights, resettlement, gender, access to grievance mechanisms, mine closure, pollution and waste. Watch our film to learn more.

1. As of 5 August 2020, all ICMM members committed to implement the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM). All tailings facilities operated by members with “Extreme” or “Very high” potential consequences will be in conformance with the Standard by 5 August 2023. All other tailings facilities operated by members not in a state of safe closure will be in conformance with the Standard by 5 August 2025.

2. Riverine tailings, freshwater lake and/or shallow marine tailings disposal may be considered only if deemed to be the most environmentally and socially sound alternative, based on an objective and rigorous environmental and social impact assessment of tailings management alternatives. The scope of the assessment should be agreed between the company member and the host government.