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Our Approach

It is self-evident that no matter where we are in the world, metals and minerals are a part of our everyday life.

Simply put, the ‘green’ version of almost anything means the use of more metals. But ICMM doesn’t see this as a license for industry to mine them at all costs. Quite the contrary, we see the imperative to mine with principles.

Strategy and Action Plan 2022–2024

Our Strategy and Action Plan (SAP) 2022–2024 delivers on our purpose of 'leadership through collaboration to enhance the contribution of mining and metals to sustainable development' by enabling ambitious collective action that drives performance improvement at scale.

In stating our Purpose, we asked ourselves “what would the world miss if ICMM didn’t exist?” For our CEO Ro Dhawan the answer is – an example of the progress that’s possible when we collectively focus on helping to improve the lives of people and the state of our planet.

Our Areas of Work

We have set out strategic priorities that put us on course towards achieving breakthroughs for the mining and metals industry in the critical areas of climate and environmental resilience, social performance, governance and transparency, and innovation for sustainability. You can effectively read these as ESG-I.

Environmental Resilience

Our goal is the responsible management of natural resources and our interfaces with them, for the benefit of people and planet.

Our Priorities
  • Climate change is a real and undeniable threat, affecting human wellbeing and environmental health in every country on every continent. As stewards of the minerals and metals that are critical to decarbonisation and sustainable development, our industry has a responsibility to lead from the front and minimise the impact of operations on the environment. Our work in the years ahead will focus on developing short-and-medium term pathways towards our net zero goal. This includes developing Scope 3 target setting and reporting guidance, and advancing our Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative (ICSV) towards the ambition of enabling mining operations to adopt GHG-free surface mining vehicles as soon as possible.
  • Nature is an increasing focus of our work and that of others who are equally concerned about the sixth mass extinction that our planet is living through. Our work will focus on delivering current commitments, developing the metrics, standards and practices to maximise members’ contribution, and those of others, towards a Nature Positive Agenda. We will be working closely with the Task Force on Nature Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) in this regard – as well as with other nature conservation and management groups – to scale best practices on nature-based solutions.
  • Water is a precious shared resource with high environmental, social, cultural, and economic value. Our work will focus on supporting the full implementation of our water reporting guidance, both by ICMM members and more widely by our industry. We will also seek to develop scalable solutions that allow for sustainable water management at a catchment level.

Social Performance

Our goals are to contribute to the resilience of host communities so that they prosper into the future, and the creation of the conditions for a more inclusive and respectful workforce.

Our Priorities
  • Community resilience has never been more important. Current and future disruptions from climate change, automation, and the changing footprint of mining are affecting the ability of communities to take part in opportunities in and beyond mining. Our work on the Skills Initiative will focus on consolidating what we have learnt over the last three years to define a skills agenda to build resilience within the mining sector and host communities for the next decade and beyond. We will also be supporting the roll out of our social and economic reporting framework, which commits members to report against a set of indicators that effectively assess the contribution of mining to social and economic development.
  • Indigenous Peoples and human rights ought to occupy the highest levels of focus for any industry, particularly one with the impact and reach of ours. Our work will build on long-standing commitments to ensure the respect for and enhancement of human rights, with special focus on the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples. We will be reviewing key aspects of our guidance and exploring opportunities to meaningfully contribute in other areas such as human rights defenders.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion remains an enduring challenge for our sector and society at large, as evidenced by troubling findings on workplace culture and practices in the mining and metals sector. Our work will focus on identifying systemic barriers to the creation of truly inclusive cultures within the industry, and to developing a leadership position on DEI with members and external stakeholders.

Governance and Transparency

Our goal is promoting governance that helps realise benefits from natural resources, and standards and reporting systems that support transparency and accountability.

Our Priorities
  • Metrics and standards are of growing importance to customers and investors, as they seek assurances on the provenance of responsible minerals and metals. But the proliferation of standards and metrics undermines – and in some cases work counter to – these aims, so our work in this area is focussed on reaching alignment on a smaller number of metrics and standards across all aspects of responsible mining. We will work actively with other standard owners and users of this information to prompt a ‘race to the top’ of a small number of the highest quality standards and metrics.
  • Mineral resource governance is key to mining’s contribution to sustainable development by ensuring that citizens receive maximum benefit from the development of these natural resources. Over the next three year we will increase our contribution to and engagement with the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and other key partners including the Natural Resources Governance Initiative (NRGI) and the Intergovernmental Forum (IGF) to find opportunities to improve international norms. We will also be providing an institutional home for CRIRISCO to advance standards of reporting mineral deposit estimates and exploration progress.
  • Mine closure is one of the most significant industry challenges facing mining companies, communities and governments around the world: requiring significant financial provision to manage and address associated safety, environmental and social risks. Our work in this area will build on successful closure pilots championed by members to demonstrate that closure can be done in a way that promotes social, economic and environmental benefit post the life of mine. We will also be working to strengthen industry approaches to closure practices, including at tailings facilities.

Innovation for Sustainability

Our goal is the creation of new products, processes or approaches that enable significant progress on key mining sustainability challenges.

Our Priorities
  • Health and safety is a primary focus for the mining and metals industry, but we are still short of our goal of zero harm. Our work in this area aims to achieve breakthrough progress on eliminating harm; exploring the root causes of why harm continues to occur, and exploring new and unexplored ways to drive this down to zero. We will also continue our work on reducing Diesel Particulate Emissions from mining vehicles as part of our Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles initiative (ICSV).
  • Tailings continues to be a key focus for our industry and stakeholders in the wake of the tragedy at Brumadinho in 2019. Our work focuses on two main areas. The first is on supporting members to achieve the fastest and widest adoption and implementation of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, including engaging with the development of the Global Tailings Management Institute (GTMI). The second is exploring breakthrough technologies – through our Tailings Reduction Roadmap – to help significantly reduce the production of tailings through innovations across the mining cycle.
  • Circular economy is a global imperative for a truly sustainable economy, and the mining and metals sector has a critical role to play. Our work will focus on defining the agenda for mining and metals in the circular economy. We will explore the contributions our sector can make given the inherent circular potential the mining process can have as it moves towards precision mining, and seek to understand and work towards resolving the reasons why we have not yet achieved circular production and consumption models.

Our Values

We have five values that guide our work and how we interact with others.

  • Care for the safety, health and well-being of workers, contractors, communities and consumers.
  • Respect for people, the environment and the values of host societies.
  • Integrity in dealings with employees, communities, governments and others.
  • Accountable to do what we say we will do and uphold our commitments.
  • Collaborate as a preferred means of working with others in an open, transparent and inclusive manner.

How We Work

We want to be judged by our actions and not simply by our words. This is why the commitments we make are enshrined in our Mining Principles. These principles define good practice environmental, social and governance requirements for the industry through a comprehensive set of performance expectations. The implementation of these expectations is supported by robust site-level validation, transparent disclosure of the outcomes and credible assurance of corporate sustainability reports.

These principles are neither static nor do they represent the ceiling of our ambition. We are always challenging ourselves to go ever further in setting the highest of standards for responsible mining, and for delivery. Any additional or changed commitments are approved by our Council, which comprises the CEOs of our company members. This ensures that they are understood and endorsed at the highest levels within our company members. Although we strive for unanimity, we recognise that on occasion there may be reasonable grounds why individual companies may not be able to commit to positions at the time of approval. That is why, under a policy known as ‘conform or explain’ introduced in 2021, we adopt a common position when at least 75 per cent of members are able to commit to implementation. Any company members that are unable to do so at the time have 12 months to either adopt the position or publicly explain the reasons why they cannot.

In addition to our company members, we count over 35 national and commodity associations as members, who each share our commitment to responsible and sustainable mining practices. By working together, we hope to achieve a positive impact on our wider industry that enhance the contribution of mining and metals to sustainable development. This embodies our purpose of providing leadership through collaboration. To maximise our reach in the future, we will seek to enhance opportunities for collaborate with as broad range of partners from outside the industry, including organisations from civil society, international development, the financial sector, and linked industries in the future.

As we embark on our new strategy, we are doubling down on the spirit of partnership and collaboration. Our project set was developed with this very much in mind, and we commit to working with others for maximum impact at scale. In short, if you share our vision for a safe, just and sustainable world and believe in the power of voluntary corporate leadership, then there’s a good chance we should be working together. If we aren’t already, please get in touch.