Mining's New Role in Sustainable Development
In recent years, there has been a conceptual shift from how mining can be sustainable to how mining, metals and minerals can contribute to sustainable development.
A report from the International Council of Mining and Metals report says this change is significant since it looks at the wider implications and contributions of the industry rather than dwelling on the negative.
"This is a conceptual shift away from a singular analysis and mitigation of impacts to a more comprehensive analysis that looks at the wider contribution of the industry and its products,” the report said.
The report emphasises that regulatory systems are outdated and need to be updated to reflect this conceptual change.
Currently, most legal mining licences are granted when there are sufficient mitigation plans in place to combat the negative impacts of mining. Not many licenses consider the long term contributions of mining activities. In fact, it is only recently have there been ‘social licenses’ to operate, where miners consider how they will give back to the local community and environment.
According to the report, this ‘contribution-first’ mentality is a “tougher but fairer approach” for mining companies since requires them to demonstrate their positive contribution to society and the environment - not just how they will mitigate negative impacts.
The report highlights ten different ways mining can continue to contribute to a sustainable future, including:
• Reporting and assurance
• Mining and development
• Revenue transparency
• Human rights
• Health and safety
• Climate change
• Relationship building and shared value
• Full project life cycle, long time horizon
• Sustainable footprint and tracking responsible performance across the full life cycle
To read the full eight page report, please click the download button above.