Updated version of Standard for Responsible Mining released
The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) has published a revised draft Standard for Responsible Mining for a 60-day review and public comment period ahead of the first-ever global certification program for industrial-scale mine sites, planned to begin in late 2016.
This second draft reflects the input from more than 70 organisations and individuals worldwide, including industry and technical experts. Additionally, in October 2015 and March 2016, IRMA conducted two field tests of the Standard for Responsible Mining through simulated mine audits in the United States and in Zimbabwe. Auditors hired by IRMA reviewed company documentation, made first-hand observations at the mine site, and conducted interviews with company representatives and other stakeholders to verify the requirements in the standard are clear, practicable, and measurable.
With growing awareness and demand for ecologically and socially-responsible products, companies such as jewellers and electronics businesses have sought assurances that the minerals they purchase are mined responsibly. Joan Krajewski, General Manager, Compliance and Safety, Microsoft, commented: “Microsoft believes that fairly applied global mining standards such as outlined in the Standard for Responsible Mining are key to helping solve labour, human rights and environmental issues at the far reaches of industry’s supply chains. Collaborative initiatives like these can help improve practices associated with mining of metal ores at their source, which is why we work closely with and support IRMA.”
Alan Knight, General Manager, Head of Corporate Responsibility at ArcelorMittal, added: “ArcelorMittal believes that, although challenging and rigorous, the Standard for Responsible Mining is possible to implement over time. It serves as a credible multi-stakeholder tool to allow participating mines to differentiate themselves as leaders in environmental and social responsibility. We commend the addition of a scoring tool that allows mines at all levels to demonstrate continuing improvement in the areas of environmental and social responsibility.”
The Standard for Responsible Mining’s best practice requirements for mining include elements such as health and safety for workers, human rights, community engagement, pollution control, mining in conflict-affected areas, rights of indigenous peoples, transparency in revenue payments from companies to governments, and land reclamation once mining is done.
Stakeholders are invited to participate in this next round of feedback and input. After the 5 June comment deadline, the Steering Committee will make another set of revisions to the draft Standard for Responsible Mining and release the final standard in late 2016.
Read the April 2016 issue of Mining Global
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.