Annual Report, 2020
ICMM was created nearly twenty years ago, at a time when the mining industry urgently needed to acknowledge and responsibly address external concerns. Since then, members have been at the forefront of efforts to raise performance standards and enhance the contribution of mining and metals to society. I have been a part of ICMM since almost the beginning and can testify to the positive changes in the industry. However, societal expectations are changing rapidly and more needs to be done to continue to demonstrate care for people and our planet, while supplying the metals and minerals required for the global economy, the well-being of people and addressing climate change.
In 2020, every individual, business, sector, community, and government across the globe had to adapt and respond quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic. The mining industry was no different, and our top priority from the outset has been to protect the health, safety and well-being of our global workforces, their families, and communities close to our operations. As an industry, we faced a steep learning curve. While we could have done some things better, I believe we demonstrated our capacity to handle this crisis responsibly. By working in partnership with communities, local and national governments, NGOs and other companies, we benefited from decades of meaningful stakeholder engagement. Our deep connection to local communities helped support our response efforts in some of the hardest to reach and poorest places on Earth.
Our individual and collective actions were strengthened by the collaborative efforts of ICMM. Company and national association members, including practitioners working across health and safety, community support and communications in every corner of the globe, came together regularly to share learnings, insights, ideas and good practices that were invaluable as we sought to respond to the pandemic.
This has been, and remains, a devastating crisis, with millions of lives lost and great economic hardship for many. However, as we have seen before, severe crises force change, and we are determined to capture the learnings from this pandemic. This includes making use of technologies to increase efficiency, continued and sustained engagement with communities, and adapting infectious disease controls to ensure we are prepared for any future pandemics.
Responsible mining practices
In recent times, we are experiencing increasing demands from stakeholders for improved disclosure of environmental, social and governance issues, particularly at the asset level. In response, ICMM has undertaken efforts to strengthen its 10 founding principles for sustainable development, incorporating supporting performance expectations for issues such as human rights, water, mine closure, pollution and waste. ICMM’s Mining Principles are a condition of membership and apply at the asset level, with robust validation, assurance and transparent disclosure. ICMM’s members collectively operate more than 650 assets in over 50 countries, driving performance improvement and transparency at scale.
ICMM was founded on a commitment to leadership and collaboration, and this remains central to our values driven approach today. In 2020, after 18 months of close collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Principles for Responsible Investment, we collectively published the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management.
As the first global standard that can be applied to both existing and future tailings facilities, this is a significant step forward for the industry in demonstrating our unwavering commitment to manage tailings facilities safely.
Looking to the future
ICMM made significant progress in 2020, and in the final year of our current Strategy and Action Plan, stakeholders can expect to see a great deal more from ICMM. This includes publication of two further resources on tailings: ICMM’s Good Practice Guide on Tailings Management and Conformance Protocols to support implementation of the Standard. We will continue to champion the Mining Principles as the benchmark for responsible mining practices, and further discussions on measuring and reporting on Scope 3 emissions.
Looking forward, there will be continued demand for minerals to support a greener, safer, low-carbon and more sustainable future. We will continue to work hard towards our vision of mining and metals being a respected industry, trusted to operate responsibly and contribute to sustainable development. We further recognise the expectation of our industry to respect the social, economic and cultural rights of indigenous peoples, and this will be at the forefront of our discussions as we set the next strategy.
In closing, I recognise Tom Butler for his outstanding contribution to ICMM over the last six years. On behalf of the Council, I thank him for his leadership, dedication and unwavering commitment.
I am pleased to welcome Rohitesh Dhawan as Chief Executive Officer. His passion for sustainable development and his extensive knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing our industry will be invaluable as we
work together to address the sector’s biggest issues, as we advance important initiatives that reflect our collective commitment to continuous performance improvement.
President and CEO, Freeport-McMoRan