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SDG3: Good Health and Wellbeing

With our strong focus on sustainable development there is great potential for ICMM to support the mining and metals industry in making an important and lasting contribution towards the UN’s global goals. We work with members and partners to catalyse lasting social and economic progress that supports an end to poverty, protects the planet and ensures prosperity for all.

SDG3 calls for the eradication of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and certain other infectious diseases, major reductions in child and maternal mortality and in non-communicable disease, universal provision of access to quality healthcare services and essential medicines, and substantial reductions in the number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents.

Health is key to the attainment of sustainable development and is also a leading measure of development failure or success. Significant progress has been made in recent decades to increase life expectancy and reducing some of the common causes of child and maternal mortality. In addition, major progress has been made to reduce malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Health improvements have been shown to bring significant economic benefits. However, much more effort is needed to fully eradicate a wide range of illnesses, including non-communicable diseases such as heart disease or cancers and to promote mental health and reduce road traffic deaths.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

Mine workers may be exposed to increased occupational health risks such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (such as silicosis), as well as communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Certain working arrangements such as fly-in/fly-out have been linked to mental illness, substance abuse and domestic violence. Community health can also be of concern where mining takes place in poorer areas with limited healthcare facilities, making communities more vulnerable to disease. In addition, mining companies often make use of public roads, which results in a risk of traffic accidents. Lastly, uncontrolled discharges to local water sources may adversely affect the health of water users.

What companies need to know to manage impacts or make a positive contribution

  1. The workforce and community health issues local to the company’s operations.

  2. The status of existing healthcare service provision, gaps in that provision, and plans to address these gaps by the responsible authorities.

  3. Opportunities to align company investments in employee healthcare with existing public plans.

Minimising negative impacts

Maximising positive contributions

  • Establish a rigorous workplace health and safety culture.

  • Implement effective health monitoring and follow-up actions for mine workers and any community members at risk of adverse health impacts.

  • Ensure effective environmental management to minimise the risk of harmful discharges into local water sources or onto land.

  • Run HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing and counselling programmes and community road safety programmes.

  • Invest in capacity building for community health workers.

  • Take leadership role in combatting poorly understood, under-prioritised or stigmatised diseases.

  • Support public responses to health emergencies and epidemics.

  • Extend workforce health and wellbeing programmes to contractors and the local community.