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Stakeholder Newsletter: May 2024

3 May 2024

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I’ve come to believe that mining has something to offer the world that is even more critical than minerals for the energy transition; a belief in our ability as a species to achieve the impossible.

From the largest underground mine in the world in the Chilean Andes to Europe’s largest open pit in the Arctic Circle, responsible mining continues to defy the odds and change the world for the better.

At a time when pessimism seems to define the global mood, I hope the inspirational stories of responsible mining that I got to see first-hand in Chile, thanks to ICMM members Codelco and Gold Fields, remind us of our infinite potential to be and do better. You can read my personal photo diary here.

Without for a moment denying the many challenges we still must overcome as a sector, this sense of optimism and hope is what I tried to convey in my keynote speech at CESCO week. Read it, including the stories of Maria, Mbasa and Andi, here.

It’s the same can-do attitude we got to experience as a team at the Aitik mine operated by ICMM member Boliden. In the far North of Sweden, Aitik is Europe’s largest open pit and one of the most efficient and productive copper mines in the world.

Aitik is iconic for many reasons - one of the most poignant applications of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM); a trailblazer in the use of trolley assist and other decarbonisation technology; a deeply thoughtful approach to closure; one of the most gender-balanced mines in the world, with women making up 34 per cent of the workforce and 61 per cent of truck drivers; and a complex and dynamic relationship with the Sámi People, an indigenous community in Sweden and neighbouring countries.

Another example of the industry doing the seemingly impossible is the consolidation of ICMM’s Mining Principles with The Copper Mark, Towards Sustainable Mining and Responsible Gold Mining Principles. The goal is a consolidated global standard with a multi-stakeholder oversight system and robust assurance process that mines anywhere can use.

I have just come away from a brilliant couple of days with participants of the Consolidated Mining Standard Initiative, and while lots of work remains, it was fantastic to see a deep commitment to the process, and a shared sense that this process is necessary and timely.

It’s these messages that we hope to share at the many important forums coming up, including the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Conference in Miami and FT Moral Money Summit in London. Speaking of Forums, I’m pleased to say that ICMM has accepted the invitation to join the UN Secretary General’s Panel on Critical Energy Transition Minerals.



ICMM Joins UN Secretary-General’s Panel on Critical Energy Transition Minerals

A world powered by renewables is a world hungry for critical minerals. For developing countries, critical minerals are a critical opportunity – to create jobs, diversify economies, and dramatically boost revenues. But only if they are managed properly.

ICMM will be taking up the invitation from the UN Secretary General to provide the industry’s perspective alongside a diverse group of governments, civil society organisations and other stakeholders across the entire minerals value chain in the newly established UN Panel on Critical Energy Transition Minerals.

The objective of the Panel, aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Framework Agreement on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, is to build trust and certainty towards harnessing the potential of minerals to unlock shared prosperity, leaving no one and no place behind. Find out more here.

Climate Change and Safety and Health at Work

This year's World Day for Safety and Health at Work, marked on 28 April, put a spotlight on the impact of climate change on workplace safety. With over 70 per cent of the global workforce facing heightened risks, the ILO emphasises the urgent need for policies and actions to address hazards such as excessive heat, UV radiation, air pollution, and pesticide exposure.

In a recent report, ILO highlights the plight of millions of workers confronting health risks, including fatalities and chronic diseases. It urges a concerted effort to integrate occupational safety and health considerations into climate change responses, underscoring our commitment to ensuring safe and healthy work environments for all.

Respect for health and safety sits at the heart of everything we do and encourage everyone to check out ICMM’s Fatality Prevention: Eight Lessons Learned as a step towards making our industry safer for everyone. Discover more about our work on health and safety here.

Doing the impossible: The indomitable spirit of mining

In his recent visit to Chile, Ro Dhawan, got to see first-hand some of the remarkable feats being championed by the mining industry.

At Codelco's El Teniente mine, nestled 2,200 meters above sea level in the Andes, Ro witnessed the convergence of engineering marvels and environmental stewardship. Producing two per cent of the world's copper, El Teniente operates with a fraction of the region's water resources while pioneering circular economy initiatives, including the reprocessing of waste materials.

Similarly, Gold Fields' Salares Norte mine defied odds by becoming one of the world's highest altitude solar plants, demonstrating a steadfast dedication to environmental responsibility amidst challenging terrains. Through collaborative efforts with local communities, Salares Norte exemplifies a model for sustainable mining practices.

Ro’s trip was rounded off by a visit with Chile's mining students. Their passion for sustainability reaffirmed the transformative potential of mining, echoing the sentiment that, with determination and ingenuity, the impossible becomes possible. Read the photo diary in full.

Consolidated Mining Standard Initiative (CMSI)

ICMM is continuing to work with The Copper Mark, Mining Association of Canada and the World Gold Council to simplify the mining standards landscape, consolidating our four individual standards into one global mining standard that is practical and implementable by any mine in the world.

Inspired by ISEAL’s Codes of Good Practice, the draft standard, assurance process and governance model will be shared for two rounds of public consultation, the first of which will last for two months. Check out the Consolidated Mining Standard Initiative website for more information and to subscribe for alerts.

And, if you happen to be attending the OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, consider joining CMSI’s side event where members will be discussing the drivers for the initiative and providing an update on progress. 

ICMM in the News

World Business Report

On Earth Day, Ro Dhawan sat down with Sally Bundock to shed light on the strides mining is making in responsibly supplying the minerals and metals needed for the energy transition. From adopting low carbon technologies to championing the use of desalinated water and advocating for nature positive policies and practices, modern mining is different from what you may think.

Combining the power of technology with an unwavering commitment to mining with principles, our members are working to make responsible mining the norm.

We are a nature based industry and we're so conscious of minimising our own footprint on this precious planet.

If you’re in the UK you can watch the interview in full on BBC iPlayer.

Respecting Indigenous Rights as Mineral Mining Booms

Danielle Martin, ICMM Director of Social Performance and Co-Chief Operating Officer, spoke to Mongabay recently about our ongoing process of reviewing our position statement on Indigenous Peoples and Mining.

We recognise the need to work harder to achieve greater equity and involvement of Indigenous Peoples in decision-making.

Read Danielle's comments here.

Connect With Us

41st Annual Conference Bank of America Merril Lynch
Miami FL, U.S.A • 14 May

Responsible mining not only underpins environmental sustainability but also fosters social responsibility and ethical business practices. Ro will be speaking on a panel on ESG with member CEOs Jonathan Price and Jakob Stausholm.

EIT RawMaterials 6th Edition Raw Materials Summit 2024
Brussels, Belgium • 16-May

ICMM senior manager Antonia Mihaylova will be speaking on mineral traceability solutions, as part of a panel on ‘Reputation Management and Mineral Transparency‘. Join her for an insightful discussion that will touch on important ethical considerations in the sector. Find out more here.

Water in Mining Global Summit
Vancouver, Canada • 16 May

Water is a precious shared resource with high environmental, social, cultural, and economic value. Environment Director Dr Emma Gagen will be part of a conversation addressing the evolving societal and stakeholder perceptions regarding water management in mining. The discussion will explore avenues to enhance trust, engagement, and advance initiatives for water stewardship. Find out more here.

SNMPE International Mining Symposium - SIMPOSIO XV
Lima, Peru • 22 May

ICMM will be at the SIMPOSIO XV, organised by Sociedad Nacional de Mineria Petroleo y Energia (SNMPE), where Rohitesh will be giving a keynote presentation on responsible mining and moderating a panel with member CEOs on nature. Find out more here.

Financial Times Moral Money Summit Europe
London, U.K. • 23 May

This is a critical moment in time for the energy transition, with governments in December committing to triple renewable capacity. Aidan Davy will be speaking at the summit on demand for raw materials, and its environmental and social impacts and challenges. Find out more here.