Environmental stewardship

Mining and metals operations, local communities and others all depend on clean air, water, land and energy.

Securing fair access to these shared resources increasingly depends on demonstrating responsible stewardship and recognising the needs of others. Failure to effectively manage the potential adverse impacts of mining on these shared resources can result in the deterioration of environmental resources and have adverse consequences for human health. IMMA members commit to the responsible stewardship of environmental resources, balancing the needs of communities, conservation interests and the requirements of other stakeholders. In short, they commit to be part of the solution to climate change.

Focus Areas

Water - The mining industry recognises the significant water challenges facing societies around the world. As an industry we have a leading role to play in contributing practical solutions to water resource challenges. Our members show leadership by making firm commitments to water stewardship. These commitments include robust water governance within their businesses, sector leading transparency and disclosure around water use, managing water more effectively at a site level and working with others to resolve shared challenges at the catchment-scale. While IMMA and our members have taken up the challenge, it is only by working with others that we will secure a sustainable future for our shared water resources.

Biodiversity and ecosystems - Biodiversity and ecosystems provide us with life’s essentials (eg nutrients for growing crops, resources such as water and timber, and the ability to absorb waste and carbon dioxide). They also have intangible benefits, eg they may have cultural value or provide space for recreational pursuits.

While metal and mineral production helps to promote social progress, the associated use of land and water resources, and the emissions and waste produced, pose a risk to biodiversity and the ecological resources we depend on and value. IMMA members recognise that they have an important role to play in conserving biodiversity. They commit not to mine in World Heritage Sites and to respect legally protected areas. They also commit to assess risks and impacts to biodiversity and address these by applying the mitigation hierarchy, with the ambition of no net loss.

Climate change - Climate change is a global challenge for us all. Rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases are increasing the severity and occurrence of extreme weather events (eg droughts and heatwaves) and accelerating rises in sea level. IMMA members recognise the need for an urgent global response to the threat of climate change, across all areas of society and the economy, and are committed to being a part of the solution.

In addition, the mining and metals industry has an important role to play in providing the minerals and metals needed for a low carbon future, including renewable energy and battery technology.

Mine closure - Planned mine closures are expected to increase around the world over the next decade, offering a unique opportunity to improve closure-related performance.

Mine closure has become one of the most challenging issues facing mining companies, communities and governments around the world. For mining companies, there may be safety, environmental and social risks, and significant financial provision will be required to manage and address these risks. How well these closures are handled has the potential to influence global debates on the costs and benefits of mining.

The industry has a responsibility to leave a sustainable environmental and social legacy after a mine has closed. Planning, designing and implementing closure in consultation with relevant stakeholders to address environmental and social aspects, while making sufficient financial provision to address these, is required in order to achieve this. IMMA is working with its members and other stakeholders to address closure challenges by continuing to share good practice and guidance to improve performance around closure.

Tailings waste - Tailings production is inherent to mining and metals processing and will remain so for the foreseeable future. IMMA believes that the application of appropriate design and management standards and practices can make tailings facilities safe. IMMA members commit to the prevention of catastrophic failures of tailings facilities and to the continual improvement in the design, construction and operation of tailings facilities.

IMMA encourages all mining companies to improve their management of tailings facilities by adopting the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management and leveraging technological innovation to support continual improvement.