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Stakeholder Newsletter: June, 2021

11 June 2021

A couple of weeks ago, I was honoured to join the United Nations’ Global Roundtable on Transforming Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development to deliver our message on how we can maximise the transformative potential of mining.

I believe that mines of the future will have strong sustainable development “balance sheets”, in other words, they will make positive contributions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while minimising or eliminating negative impacts. In fact, many mines already do. The health of these balance sheets will be influenced by many complex forces. Aidan Davy’s latest blog for World Economic Forum introduces five proximate and five remote forces that are shaping the future of the mining industry.

Every balance sheet has two sides, and the nature of mining unfortunately creates some SDG “liabilities”. I believe acknowledging these openly and transparently is the first step towards building trust and finding solutions in collaboration with others. ICMM’s Mining Principles establish good practice environmental, social and governance requirements for a responsible mining and metals industry, but as an industry we must still do better. In terms of safety, ICMM’s 2020 benchmark of members’ safety data report offers a stark reminder of the relentless efforts required to eliminate fatalities. Sadly, 44 people lost their lives in members’ operations in 2020. Through strong leadership, embedding a zero fatalities mindset, knowing what the biggest risks are, and putting in place effective management and controls we are taking vital steps towards our goal of achieving zero harm.

The final aspect of a balance sheet is equity. I believe that for the mining industry, this equity represents the trust between the industry and society – to do the right thing and to be a responsible development partner. This includes rebuilding trust in industry’s ability to manage tailings storage facilities effectively. Tailings storage facilities (TSFs) are with us for the long term and must be responsibly managed. In August 2020, the Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management was launched to identify ‘what’ companies should do to responsibly manage TSFs. Last month, ICMM followed this with the publication of two additional resources that support industry with the ‘how’. These resources underscore the sustained commitments of ICMM’s members to implement the Standard in a timely manner.

Having recently returned to the sector after nearly a decade, I have seen first-hand a real deepening of the commitment to maximise the assets for society, minimise liabilities, earn trust and build equity. This newsletter captures some of the highlights from my first three months at ICMM.

Ro Dhawan


Benchmarking Safety Performance

ICMM members have an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of their workers and are working to eliminate fatalities, towards a goal of zero harm. Effective benchmarking is an important device for driving performance improvement, and since 2012 ICMM has worked with company members to compile, analyse, and publish annual safety data to encourage knowledge-sharing, and catalyse learning across the industry.

As an industry we must still do better. Regrettably, in 2020, ICMM company members recorded 44 occupational fatalities, which is a stark reminder of the relentless efforts required to eliminate fatalities and achieve our goal of zero harm. Read the full report: Safety Performance: Benchmarking Progress of ICMM Company Members in 2020.

Health and Safety at the Heart of Responsible Mining

For this year’s ‘World Day for Health and Safety at Work’, ICMM’s Health & Safety Director Sarah Bell explores how mining has inherent material risks that needs to be managed and controlled through a process called ‘critical control management’.

Now, with a new and previously unknown ‘material unwanted event’ in Covid-19, we have seen extraordinarily quick implementation of critical controls by ICMM members. In practice, these critical controls rely on a balance of measures. To find out what these are, read Sarah’s blog.

Supporting Continual Improvement in Tailings Management

When the Global Industry Standard for Tailings Management launched in August 2020, ICMM members committed that all facilities with ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ potential consequences would be in conformance within three years, and all others within five years. To support this ambitious timeline, ICMM has published Conformance Protocols to help operators and independent third parties assess implementation against the requirements of the Standard.

In addition, ICMM has published a new Tailings Management: Good Practice Guide. Informed by the requirements of the ‘Standard’ and the commitments in ICMM’s Tailings Governance Framework: Position Statement, this guidance highlights good governance and good engineering practices that support continual improvement in the management of tailings. These new resources are available on our website for use by the wider mining and metals industry. To find out more, read ICMM COO and Director for Environment, Aidan Davy's blog.

Now that we have a Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, we are very supportive of practical resources that seek to bridge the Standard and implementation.

Preparing the Workforce of the Future

The mining industry has a critical role to play in supporting host communities in developing the skills needed for the economy of the future. Data from ICMM's report (with the World Economic Forum), Future of Jobs in Mining and Mining Regions: Sector Briefing, reveals insights to help the industry plan for the future of work.

Disruptions in the jobs market – driven by new technology and changes in economic outlook – have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The reskilling revolution is one of the key challenges ICMM and WEF have been working on together. In a blog for 'Agenda', ICMM's Social and Economic Development Director Nicky Black and WEF's Jörgen Sandström, Head of Mining and Metals identify seven key insights on the future of work for the industry. To find out what these are, read the blog here.

Global Forces Shaping the Future of Mining

Responding to the publication of the 16th edition of the World Economic Forum’s The Global Risks Report 2021 and analyses by the big-four consulting firms of the risks facing the mining industry, ICMM’s COO Aidan Davy questions how companies can think through the implications of the issues raised in these reports for their businesses.

One approach is to look at risk and issues not in isolation, but to consider how they manifest themselves as forces shaping the future of the mining industry. Whereas risks vary from year to year, forces endure over a longer timeframe. These forces are broadly dividable into the categories of ‘proximate’ or ‘remote’. Read Aidan’s blog here.

Biodiversity in Focus

All human activity depends on nature. Nature is also critical in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): helping to end poverty and address the impacts of climate change.

ICMM members commit to addressing risks and impacts to biodiversity and ecosystems in their activities by applying the mitigation hierarchy with the ambition of no net loss. This means avoiding or otherwise mitigating negative impacts. While there are technical challenges in measuring biodiversity impacts and gains, applying the mitigation hierarchy remains the primary means for companies to contribute to global efforts to halt biodiversity loss.

In Conversation with ICMM

To mark the launch of the Conformance Protocols and Tailings Management: Good Practice Guide, ICMM’s COO Aidan Davy moderates a 60-minute panel with Professor Norbert Morgenstern, Adam Matthews (Church of England Pensions Board), Tamara Butler Johndrow (Freeport-McMoRan), and Charles Dumaresq (Mining Association of Canada). Together they discuss their connection with and interest in these resources, and how they complement other guidance that support the safe and transparent tailings management.

EITI & Gender: Towards a More Equitable Future

In May, ICMM's Nicky Black joined the Rt Hon Helen Clark, EITI Board Chair, and representatives from FEMNET, PWYP and the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum for Afghanistan, for a workshop hosted by EITI on advancing gender equality in the extractive sector. Watch the event here.

Collaboration and Benchmarking Between Mining and Metals Standards

ICMM's COO Aidan Davy discussed how ICMM is collaborating with other sustainability standard owners to develop equivalency tools that promote simplification, efficiency and transparency at the OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains. Watch the event here.

Up-Coming Events

Join us for the launch of ICMM’s new report: Social Progress in Mining-Dependent Countries: Analysing the role of Resource Governance in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

On Wednesday 14 July 2021 ICMM CEO Ro Dhawan will be moderating a virtual panel session examining the role of good governance in driving progress in mining-dependent countries, and how this will help us to deliver the UN SDGs. We will hear from industry leaders and civil society including former Prime Minister of New Zealand and current EITI Chair, Helen Clark. Registration details to be published on the Upcoming Events webpage on the ICMM website.

In the coming months, ICMM will also be taking part in a number of online forums alongside government, civil society, business, academia, the investor community and the wider mining industry:

IBRAM e-mineração
16 June 2021.

ICMM water lead Dawn Brock will be joining a panel of experts to discuss water resources and mining: the relevance of standardising water balance and reporting methodologies.

World Materials Forum
17 June 2021.

Ro Dhawan will be joining a roundtable at the 7th World Materials Forum to discuss the decarbonation of bulk materials. The theme of the this year's forum is 'Green Technologies and Materials'.

Mining Indaba General Counsel Forum
29–30 June 2021.

ICMM's Marcus Addy will be joining this virtual forum, aimed at in-house legal professionals in the extractives industries, to discuss the importance of meaningful community outreach.

Africa Mining Convention
13–15 July 2021.

Nicky Black will be joining speakers from across the entire mining value chain to discuss the strengthening of social performance for investor, consumer and community confidence.

In Case You Missed It

In April 2021, ICMM published updated guidance that supports the mining and shipping industries in minimising the risk of accidents in maritime transportation. The Hazard Assessment of Ores and Concentrates for Marine Transport: Guidance, 2021 brings the previous guidance issued in 2014 in line with recent regulatory updates from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and advancements in knowledge in assessing hazards. Find out more here.