Anglo American leads the way on IRMA standard for responsible mining

By Daniel Brightmore
Anglo American’s Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe is the first to publicly commit to be independently audited by the Initiative for Responsible Mining A...

Anglo American’s Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe is the first to publicly commit to be independently audited by the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance’s (IRMA).

IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining has been developed over ten years through a public consultation process with more than 100 different individuals and organisations, including mining companies, customers and the ultimate downstream users of mined products, NGOs, labour unions, and communities. 

An initial self-assessment was completed by Unki ahead of the independent on-site audit and the operation performed well against the 26 areas covered by the Standard for Responsible Mining, including working conditions, human rights, community and stakeholder engagement, environmental impact, and planning and financing reclamation and closure. 

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Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “We have a longstanding commitment as a leader in responsible mining, with numerous examples of our progressive business decisions across many decades. We are pleased that Unki will be the first mine in the world to publicly commit to a third-party audit to determine its performance against IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining. As our customers and end consumers who rely on our metals and minerals rightly expect the highest standards of ethical production, we will be putting all our managed mines through such rigorous certification processes by 2025.” 

Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA commented: “While IRMA is a voluntary certification system meant to complement strong laws and government oversight, it is also the world’s first and only global definition of what constitutes leading practices in social and environmental responsibility for large-scale mining operations developed through consultation with a range of stakeholders. It is the product of ten years of collaboration between our stakeholders that seeks to emulate for mining what has been done with certification programmes in fair-trade agriculture, responsible forestry and sustainable fisheries, as examples. 

“We are extremely pleased to see Anglo American’s Unki mine take the lead and begin the third- party certification process. We hope that this paves the way for others across the industry to make a similar commitment.” 

Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, added: “The IRMA self-assessment tool has provided us with a valuable opportunity to measure our performance at Unki mine against international best practice on a wide range of environmental and societal factors. We are immensely proud of the work the team has been doing at Unki on responsible and sustainable mining, and we look forward to continue leading the way for our other mining operations.” 

Unki is the first of many Anglo American operations to be measured against the IRMA standard, in line with the commitment in our Sustainable Mining Plan to have all of our operations assessed against credible responsible mining standards by 2025. 

Other Anglo American operations currently completing the IRMA self-assessment stage include the Barro Alto nickel operation in Brazil and the Amandelbult PGM operation in South Africa. 

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