Responsible Mining

Framework for Responsible Mining

The Framework for Responsible Mining explores state-of-the-art social and environmental improvements.  It addresses issues related primarily to hard-rock mining (base and precious metals).  However, some issues outlined in the discussions on no-go zones, social issues, and governance are broadly relevant to all extractive industries (e.g. coal) and even to some major development projects (e.g., dam construction). 

Over the last ten years civil society groups, including NGOs and communities impacted directly by mining, have successfully campaigned for more responsible corporate behavior.  There is growing recognition of the benefits of, and responsibility for, responsible practice throughout the investment and product chain, including in the metals sector.

Retailers and other businesses have recognized the risks associated with damage to reputation and brand value from association with irresponsibly sourced and produced products.  Consumers in some industrialized countries have also shown preference for environmentally and socially responsible choices, and investors and insurers have begun to understand and respond to financial benefits that can accrue from lowered environmental and social risks.

Recognizing these trends, some corporations have moved to distinguish themselves from their competitors by subjecting their operations to independent scrutiny and establishing a verifiable chain-of-custody.  A necessary element of any such system is agreement on a set of environmental and social principles, standards and criteria against which a mining operation can be tested.

This report is a working document intended to be used as expert guidance and to catalyze further debate and discussion among stakeholders interested in improving mining standards.  As such, it aims to provide a well-researched and thoughtful analysis of the key issues that should be addressed when defining “responsible mining.” 

It is important to note that this paper does not represent the views or positions of any specific NGO or civil society group.  The Framework document is open to debate and discussion; the authors encourage feedback and hope that the Framework can be improved with stakeholder input.