Closing the Gaps – Opportunities to accelerate Progress on responsible Mining Featured

Accelerated progress on responsible mining can only happen with intentional and collective action by all key stakeholder groups. While some companies have shown progress on responsible practices, tens of thousands of large and small companies, operating countless mine sites, show little sign of ESG awareness. In a new report, Closing the gaps, the Responsible Mining Foundation considers what is getting in the way of accelerated progress on ESG issues and fundamental rights across the this globally critical industry.

The report pinpoints where the most radical and urgent shifts are needed to close the gaps between current practices and society expectations.
Referencing the 20-year anniversary since the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) initiative that set so much in motion for the industry, the report highlights the MMSD recommendations that still require a meaningful response from the industry at large. And in a world where the economic narrative dominates, the report asks the question: what is the role of the normative narrative, of the rights narrative – does there always need to be a business case for the industry to do the right thing?

Closing the gaps presents a systemic view of opportunities and critical conditions for normalising responsible mining, including the role played by those with influence on industry practices and the global system, such as governments, investors, lenders, downstream customers, industry associations, voluntary initiatives, civil society and labour unions.

The report outlines some of the contextual contradictions and tensions that influence industry responses. These include society’s conflict of conscience between the need for the products of mining and the potential harm caused by extraction, the power disparities in the system, the search for trust, the reluctance of many governments to regulate faced with the need for FDI, investors’ conflict between ESG and profits, and evolving geopolitical divides.

Opportunities for accelerating the normalisation of responsible practice address important issues such as: access to information as a levelling tool for meaningful engagement, access to justice, open space for civic discourse, site-level focus, and harmonisation of internationally agreed norms for responsible extraction.

The report presents four potential indicators that can be used to help track major shifts towards responsible mining: 1) ESG-led business models; 2) Meaningful information-sharing; 3) Rights-based approach to harm prevention; and 4) An international instrument on responsible extractives.

RMF research has shown that it is eminently achievable for companies of all sizes to do what is necessary to rise to the challenge and to benefit from doing the right thing. The industry knows what responsible mining looks like and how to make it happen.

What is needed most from companies is courageous leadership on the part of mining executives to go beyond industry norms and incremental improvements, and to develop transformative approaches to preventing and minimising ESG risks and providing remedy when risks become realities.

And consumers, regulators, commodity traders, supply chain customers, investors, multilateral and multistakeholder organisations, and others with influence on the industry need to leverage their power in the system to accelerate responsible practices, hold companies to account, ensure accessible pathways to remedy in the event of harm, and normalise responsible mining.

Hélène Piaget, CEO of RMF, concludes “Ultimately, it is up to all of us to make sure that society’s demand for metals and minerals does not continue to come at the cost of harm and injustice to people and environments.”
Read the report: here

Source: Responsible Mining Foundation

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