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Stakeholder Newsletter: January, 2020

27 January 2020

In our last newsletter, I wrote of the importance of caring for the safety, health and wellbeing of industry workers, their families and wider society. As we start 2020, I want to emphasise the importance of another of our core values: respect. The mining industry has a responsibility to demonstrate ever improving performance in this area by applying business practices that promote respect for people, the environment and the values of host communities.

As we note the one year anniversary of the collapse of the Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil on 25 January, we remember the victims of this catastrophic event and those who lost loved ones. The anniversary is a stark reminder that, while the mining and metals industry has come a long way in improving how it operates, there is still much more to do to safeguard lives, improve its environmental performance and demonstrate transparency.

Shortly after the disaster, in an effort to drive change and establish best practice, ICMM, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) co-convened the Global Tailings Review to establish an international standard for the safer management of tailings storage facilities. The Global Tailings Standard, once endorsed by all three co-conveners, will be published later this year. The Standard will become a commitment of ICMM membership and we will encourage others to join us in advocating for it to be adopted more broadly across the industry.

The value of respect carries through our work. As you will read below, based on learnings and expertise from across ICMM's membership, we have developed guidance to catalyse meaningful progress on climate adaptation and conservation of biodiversity. We have also published updated guidance on handling and resolving local-level concerns and grievances, integrating the eight effectiveness criteria of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

This coming year is looking set to be one of the most important for ICMM and the wider mining and metals sector. As we collectively move to address shared environmental and societal challenges, respect must always be a key embedded value if we are to maximise the benefits of mining and metals and minimise negative impacts. I wish you all the very best for 2020 and hope you will continue to follow our work with interest.

Tom Butler


Adapting to a Changing Climate

Around the world, we are already experiencing some of the impacts of climate-related change. These include more frequent and extreme weather and climate events, along with gradual shifts in other climate-related factors, such as rainfall patterns, sea levels, sea ice and glacial retreat. ICMM company members recognise the need for an urgent global response to the threat of climate change. They are committed to being part of the solution by mitigating CO2 emissions at site level and across the supply chain, building resilience and contributing to the responsible production of the commodities essential for clean energy and sustainable cities.

Building on the experiences and insights of ICMM members and other experts, our new report 'Adapting to a Changing Climate: Building resilience in the mining and metals industry' provides an overview of how a changing climate could impact the industry, identifies ways that companies can integrate climate considerations into existing risk management processes and sets out a step-wise process for building climate resilience. For the mining and metals industry, reducing exposure to climate-related risks can reduce costs, preserve or enhance revenues, improve stakeholder relationships and help identify new business opportunities.

The mining and metals industry has always faced the challenges of working in varied physical environments, and has well established methodologies, tools, data, resources and people in place to identify and manage related risks and opportunities.

Verónica Martinez, ICMM's climate change lead in Mining Magazine

Protecting Biodiversity by Mining Responsibly

In May of 2019, the UN Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published findings that show, in no uncertain terms, biodiversity is declining at rates unprecedented in human history. This rapid reduction of the world’s precious natural diversity is cause for great alarm, but as the report also states, it’s not too late to make a difference. To stop this decline of the natural systems that support us and all other animals on the planet, we need to find ways of meeting the needs of a growing global population without damaging nature or exacerbating climate change. Everyone – governments, businesses and communities – have a part to play.

Over several decades, much progress has been made by responsible mining companies in developing policies, systems and processes to better manage and maintain biodiversity affected by operations. Nonetheless, the private sector rightly still faces increasing pressure to manage its negative impacts on biodiversity and promote sustainable growth to help deliver societal and environmental benefits. There are a number of steps responsible businesses should take to reverse the impacts of global biodiversity loss and contain the negative impact they may have on the Earth’s vital ecosystems. Find out about these steps in ICMM's biodiversity lead Hafren Williams' latest blog on ICMM.com.

ICMM Launches a Knowledge Hub for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles

We're pleased to announce the beta-launch of a knowledge hub that supports our Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) programme. Created to address three of the most critical performance issues in the mining and metals industry, ICSV aims to make collision avoidance technology available to mining companies by 2025, minimise the operational impact of diesel particulate matter by 2025 in underground mining and introduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040.

Large mining mobile equipment currently makes up around 30-50% (and up to 80%) of the Scope 1 emissions at a mine. To help companies start a conversation on how to meet the ambition on GHG-emissions, ICMM, in partnership with equipment manufacturers and other technology providers, has developed a 'maturity framework' to help operations access industry case studies and other technical documents to understand what good looks like. A self-assessment guide to use the GHG Maturity Framework can be downloaded here.

The programme and the knowledge hub is intended to benefit the entire mining sector, not just ICMM members and is open to other equipment manufacturers who would like to join. Find out more here.

Global Tailings Review Public Consultation Concludes

The global public consultation on the draft Global Tailings Standard, launched by Dr Bruno Oberle, Chair of the Global Tailings Review, in November 2019, has now ended. The consultation collected feedback from a diverse range of stakeholders to enhance the development of a robust, fit-for-purpose global standard for the safer management of tailings. It was available online in seven languages, and in-person consultations were also held in Kazakhstan, China, Chile, South Africa, Ghana and Australia.

The Chair and Expert Panel will now consider all comments and submissions received in the consultation. The final Standard, once endorsed by all three co-conveners, will be published later this year. The Standard will become a commitment of ICMM membership and we will encourage others to join us in advocating for it to be adopted more broadly across the industry. Visit GlobalTailingsReview.org for more information.

Issue in Focus

Handling and Resolving Local-Level Grievances

For any project with potentially significant impacts – even those managed to the highest standards – community grievances are inevitable. Having effective operational-level grievance mechanisms in place to systematically handle and resolve the grievances that arise helps to diffuse potential problems and provides channels for resolving issues that might otherwise escalate into protests, conflicts or legal disputes.

In recent years, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) effectiveness criteria have become the key international benchmark for implementing operational-level grievance mechanisms in a way that supports companies’ broader responsibility to respect human rights, including cooperating in remediation where a company has caused or contributed to harm. These criteria state that, to be effective, a grievance mechanism should be legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, transparent, rights-compatible, a source of continuous learning and based on engagement and dialogue.

To coincide with Human Rights Day, 10 December 2019, ICMM published updated guidance on 'Handling and Resolving Local-Level Concerns and Grievances: Human rights in the mining and metals sector', which integrates the eight effectiveness criteria of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Demonstrating transparency and accountability is fundamental to meaningful engagement with host communities. Effective grievance mechanisms are a key part of a company’s responsibility to respect human rights and can benefit both the company and host community by providing channels for resolving issues and building trust. I hope that ICMM’s updated guidance will become an effective tool that responsible companies can use to put this into practice.

Tom Butler, CEO of ICMM

Connect with ICMM

In the coming months, ICMM will be participating at a range of forums alongside government, civil society, business, academia, the investor community and the wider mining industry. For a full list of our activities visit our website for details.

Mining Indaba • Cape Town, 2-5 February
ICMM will participate in a number of engagements with key external stakeholders to advance discussions on topical issues in the mining industry such as the future of work, leadership and water.

ICMM’s Tom Butler and Aidan Davy will be participating in a number of sessions during the main Mining Indaba programme including: 'Mining 4.0: How technology and innovation are transforming the mining sector', and 'Winning back the millennial generation: How should mining companies position themselves to attract millennial investors' and 'Redefining Responsible Mine Leadership - What Can the Leaders of Today and Tomorrow Learn from the Mining and Faith Reflections Initiative?' For more information on the Mining Indaba programme click here.

BMO 29th Global Metals & Mining Conference • Miami, 23-26 February
Tom Butler will open the conference with a keynote speech on the state of the mining industry, including ICMM's priorities for 2020. 

PDAC • Toronto, 3–4 March
Chair of the Global Tailings Review (GTR), Dr Bruno Oberle will share the progress on developing the Global Tailings Standard, along with members of the Expert Panel who are drafting the Standard and the co-convenors of the GTR.

And Finally...

Check it out: Global provider of independent intelligence and insight Chemical Watch is offering a new on-line course – 'Metals and Inorganic Metal Compounds in Toxicology and Ecotoxicology' – developed by Eurometaux, Arche Consulting and ICMM to help improve the assessment and management of risks associated with metals around the world. The aim of this course is to ensure regulatory authorities, environmental science professionals and researchers have an understanding of the specific properties of metals and their impact on toxicity and management. Find out more, or book a place here.