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Stakeholder Newsletter: October, 2020

14 October 2020

Over the years ICMM has made significant progress in strengthening the performance and reputation of the mining and metals industry, however we are approaching an important crossroads. Owing to fast changing societal expectations there is, quite rightly, far greater scrutiny of where materials have come from and whether they have been produced responsibly. Perceptions of mining remain challenging, largely because of tragic events like those seen at Brumadinho in January 2019 and at Juukan Gorge in May of this year.

If we are to successfully navigate our way through this pivotal moment, we must be open to listening and responding to the concerns and expectations of a wider group of stakeholders. The benefits of this approach can already be seen in the recent development of ICMM’s Mining Principles – our enhanced membership requirements – and in the launch of the Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management, where open and transparent engagement with a variety of stakeholders delivered more impactful outcomes.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shine a spotlight on inequalities and vulnerabilities in society, ICMM’s members continue to rise to the challenge, showing their deep connection with the local communities in which they operate. Our recently published 'Building Forward Better Framework' shares some of the learnings that our members have gained to date and I encourage you to read the framework, which has been specifically tailored to support the wider mining sector – and potentially other sectors.

Finally, we are delighted to welcome Richard Adkerson, CEO, Freeport-McMoRan, as ICMM’s new Chair. I would like to thank Don Lindsay, CEO, Teck Resources, for his valuable contribution as the previous Chair of ICMM. His tenure has seen the achievement of significant milestones in our progress towards driving performance improvements in the industry at scale, some of which are recognised below.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope that you and your families are staying safe and well.

Tom Butler


Responding to Covid-19: Building Forward Better

ICMM has published Building Forward Better Framework: Building Forward Better: Mining as a Partner in Supporting More Inclusive and Resilient Societies, which provides practical tools and resources for the mining industry – and other sectors – to help guide them through the pandemic, and to lay pathways for building forward towards a more resilient future post-COVID-19.

Developed in collaboration with Business Fights Poverty and The Partnering Initiative (TPI), in consultation with the Harvard Kennedy School’s Corporate Responsibility Initiative, it has the aim of encouraging learning, and to promote thinking on mining’s role in supporting communities through the immediate and long-term phases of COVID-19.

The Framework was created collaboratively, using the existing 'Business COVID-19 Framework' developed by Business Fights Poverty and the Harvard Kennedy School. It incorporates ICMM’s practical knowledge and learnings from its members’ COVID-19 responses to specifically tailor the Framework to the mining sector.

Explore the full Framework and associated article from Nicky Black, Director for Social and Economic Development at ICMM, can be viewed on the ICMM website. Also available is an article by Tom Butler that has been published on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda platform.

Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management

The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management launched in August 2020, established the first global standard on tailings management that can be applied to existing and future tailings facilities, wherever they are and whoever operates them.

The Standard was developed through an independent process – the Global Tailings Review (GTR) – that was co-convened in March 2019 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and ICMM following the tragic tailings facility collapse at Brumadinho, Brazil, on 25 January 2019.

The Standard sets an ambition of zero harm to people and the environment; elevating accountability to the highest organisational levels and adding new requirements for independent oversight. It integrates social, environmental, local economic and technical considerations in the governance and operation of tailings facilities across the entire facility lifecycle. The Standard also establishes clear expectations around global transparency and disclosure requirements, helping to improve understanding by interested stakeholders.

ICMM company members – representing about a third of the global industry – have an unwavering commitment to safer tailings facility management. The Standard will be integrated into ICMM’s existing member commitments, with all facilities with ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ potential consequences will be in conformance with the Standard within three years, with other facilities within five years. To support implementation of the Standard, ICMM is developing guidance – focused on fostering a safety culture for the management of tailing facilities. Once the guidance is ready, it will be publicly available on our website for the benefit of the wider industry.  

Explore the full Standard and associated article from Tom Butler on our website.

ICMM Appoints Richard Adkerson as New Chair

In August, ICMM announced Richard Adkerson, President, CEO and Vice Chairman of Freeport-McMoRan as its new Chair.

Adkerson said: “as modern mining companies, we produce commodities and materials essential to the global economy and for the well-being of people throughout the world. ICMM will continue to advance initiatives to manage responsibly impacts of our operations on the environment and to promote the economic and social sustainability of communities where we operate for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

ICMM is governed by the CEOs of its 27 company members, with officers appointed from within this group for approximately a two-year term. The Chair leads Council on the mission of strengthening the environmental and social performance of the mining and metals industry and building recognition of its contribution to local communities and society at large.

Richard has been a member of ICMM since 2005 and previously served as Chairman from 2008-2011. He succeeds Don Lindsay, CEO of Teck Resources Limited as Chair of ICMM. Iván Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta PLC, is ICMM’s Deputy Chair. Learn more about the structure of ICMM on our website.

Where is Mining on the Water Stewardship Journey?

Collaboration and learning from others are central to the water stewardship journey. To support member companies in achieving their water stewardship commitments, ICMM hosts a number of workshops, knowledge shares, webinars and troubleshooting sessions, leveraging the collective experience of practitioners across 650 sites in over 50 countries. To this end, one of the many water related activities supported by ICMM this year includes a water innovation roundtable facilitated by Golder, a global organisation providing consulting, design, and construction services in our specialist areas of earth, environment, and energy.

Through discussion, several key themes were identified as critical to progressing the water stewardship approach. In a joint article ICMM water lead Hayley Zipp and Mike Lelliott, Principal Hydrogeologist at Golder reflect on insights and progress on water stewardship, exploring the importance of collaboration and leadership in addressing shared water challenges.

If you missed out, you can also access the webinar on demand. And as an added bonus, it is eligible for 2.0 professional development credits.

In Conversation with ICMM

The London Stock Exchange Discusses Tailings

The development of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management has set a new and significantly higher global benchmark for good practice. In this webinar for the London Stock Exchange Group, moderated by Ayuna Nechaeva, our COO Aidan Davy joined Daria Grigoreva from Polyus and Adam Matthews from the Church of England Pensions Board to discuss cross-industry perspectives on the Standard, how it strengthens existing ESG practices in the mining industry, and the implementation steps companies are taking. Watch the recording here.

Up-Coming Events

ICMM will be taking part in a number of online forums alongside government, civil society, business, academia, the investor community and the wider mining industry. These include:

Financial Times Commodities Mining Summit

On Friday 16 October, ICMM will join leaders and commentators to discuss a new narrative for the mining industry at FT Live's: Commodities Mining Summit. Among the speakers are CEOs from several ICMM company members, including: Anglo American, Barrick Gold, BHP, Freeport-McMoRan, Glencore, Newmont Goldcorp, Sibanye-Stillwater, South32 and Vale.

Tom Butler will provid opening remarks alongside Neil Hume, Natural Resources Editor at the Financial Times, while Nicky Black, Director for Social and Economic Development at ICMM, will join a panel with Casper Edmunds of the International Labour Organization, Daniel Litvin of Critical Resource and the Rt Rev. David Urquhart on mining and society. The panel will discuss how the industry can strengthen its social, political and cultural "antennae", while making sure that the positive contributions of mining to local communities and host nations are not overlooked.

We hope you'll be able to join us for a very interesting day of discussion.

ICMM Engage Government Stakeholders at the IGF Annual General Meeting

On Tuesday 20 October ICMM will be participating in a number of sessions at the 16th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). The theme of this year's event is 'Mining and COVID-19: From crisis to sustainability'. Among the speakers:

  • Aidan Davy will be a panellist on the Global Standards for Environmental and Tailings Management session.

  • Nicky Black will be moderating The Future for Mining Employment and Skills discussion.

  • Dawn Brock, Manager at ICMM, will be a speaker during a session on 'Global Mine Closure Needs: Government and industry responses'.

Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles to be Profiled at IMARC Online Leaders Panel

Two years on from the launch of the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative, ICMM will be returning to IMARC Online to share what the innovative collaboration has achieved to date, and what’s next. On Tuesday 24 November, Tom Butler will lead a discussion with panellists Mike Henry, Chief Executive Officer, BHP; Nick Holland, Chief Executive Officer, Gold Fields; and, Denise Johnson, Group President, Caterpillar, on what has been achieved to date, what is different about this initiative, and next steps.

And Finally...

Keep up-to-date with all ICMM speaking engagements by bookmarking our Events page. Here you'll be able to find information on the above events, as well as others, including:

CSR Europe's SDG Summit 29 October

Aidan Davy will be speaking on a plenary session, 'Environmental Protection & Human Rights in Supply Chains: From a Due Diligence Approach to Impact'.

Mining Indaba webinar • 18 November

Tom Butler will moderate a panel discussion on Sustainability: Mining for a Low-Carbon Future with representatives from the World Bank, Newmont, Sibanye-Stillwater and Absa Group on how Africa can benefit from an increase in demand for minerals and metals while managing the mining sector in a sustainable manner.

Energy and Mines Virtual World Congress • 9–11 December

Sarah Bell, ICMM's Director of Health and Safety, will be presenting on ICMM's Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative during a moderated panel discussion.