Annual Report, 2018
Metals and mining have always been central to the growth and development of society, and this is perhaps never more true than it is today. Every aspect of our modern world – from clean technology to infrastructure to telecommunications – is built on a foundation of mineral products. Lithium for electric vehicle batteries, gold for connectors, steel for rapid transit, computer servers with miles of copper wiring– people talk about data being stored in “the cloud”, but the fact is the cloud is really made of metal. The growing demand for these products, and more, will drive increasing demand for the materials of mining in the years ahead.
At the same time, we know that the expectations of people and communities are also increasing. They want to have confidence that the metals and minerals in the products they depend on have been extracted in the most socially and environmentally-responsible manner possible.
Sadly, that confidence was shaken earlier this year. The failure of a tailings dam in Brumadinho Brazil in January 2019 is a tragedy that has impacted countless families and communities. We have all been deeply saddened by the stories and images of devastation in its wake. It is one of the worst disasters in modern mining history, and a tragedy that challenges us to step up as an industry.
As the global voice of the mining industry, ICMM recognises its responsibility to offer more than just words in response to this tragic incident. Following the failure, ICMM’s member CEOs engaged extensively about how we as an industry can take steps to ensure this does not happen again. Based on those discussions, ICMM is now working to establish an international standard for tailings dams, with the aim of creating a step change in the safety and security of these facilities.
This work on tailings is a natural extension of ICMM’s mission: to strengthen the social and environmental performance of the mining and metals industry. We work collaboratively to engage with stakeholders and bring about lasting benefits for society, and the tailings review that we have announced will seek to do just that.
It is through processes of collective action that ICMM is able to strengthen the practices of the mining and metals industry. In 2018, with the support of members, ICMM announced new performance expectations, which will put our members at the forefront of efforts to enhance the contribution of mining and metals to sustainable development.
ICMM is also driving improvements in technology to support safety and environmental performance by convening leading mobile equipment manufacturers to improve collision avoidance technology and reduce diesel particulate and emissions.
At the heart of these initiatives is Mining with Principles, the overarching theme that guides our approach to improving performance and engaging with stakeholders. Through 2019, we will continue to work hard as an industry to deliver on the promise of Mining with Principles and on our commitment to responsible mining.
Donald R. Lindsay
President and Chief Executive Officer, Teck