Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life on earth, and its conservation requires leadership and collaboration from all sectors.
According to the global conservation organisation WWF the rapid loss of species being seen today is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. To help address this, one of the ICMM 10 Principles requires member companies to ‘contribute to conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use planning’. In doing so, members are expected to:
- respect legally designated protected areas
- disseminate scientific data on and promote practices and experiences in biodiversity assessment and management
- support the development and implementation of scientifically sound, inclusive and transparent procedures for integrated approaches to land use planning, biodiversity, conservation and mining.
ICMM supports the ‘mitigation hierarchy’ – an internationally recognised approach designed to help limit, as far as possible, the adverse impacts of development projects on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The mitigation hierarchy comprises a sequence of four key actions:
- avoid – anticipation and prevention of adverse impacts on biodiversity before actions or decisions are taken
- minimise – reduction in the duration, intensity, significance and/or extent of impacts that cannot be realistically avoided
- restore – measures taken to repair degradation or damage to specific biodiversity features and ecosystems
- offset – conservation outcomes applied to areas not impacted by a project to compensate for significant and adverse impacts of a mining project that cannot be avoided or restored.
Through implementing these commitments and approaches, ICMM members have produced significant improvements in their biodiversity management. And in working to international leading practice, members have been able to demonstrate that the biodiversity conservation and mining can co-exist
Mining and protected areas
World Heritage Sites are places identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for their outstanding cultural or natural value to humanity. At present, there are almost 200 sites listed for their natural value.
Human activity, which includes the activities of some extractive industries, continually threatens the protection and preservation of some of these sites. ICMM and its member companies in 2003 adopted an industry leading stance, committing to not explore or mine in World Heritage properties. A position that firmly recognises the significant and irreplaceable value of these sites to society. The position also ensures existing and future operations adjacent to World Heritage properties are not incompatible with the outstanding universal value for which they are listed.
More generally, the ICMM 10 Principles commits members to respect legally designated protected areas. And we work together with the world conservation union, IUCN, to strengthen systems for protected area categorisation.