Anglo American says its Unki platinum mine in Zimbabwe has become the first operation to publicly commit to be independently audited against the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance’s (IRMA) ‘Standard for Responsible Mining’.
IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining has been developed over 10 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, non-governmental organisations, labour unions, and communities.
An initial self-assessment was completed by Unki ahead of the independent on-site audit and, according to Anglo, 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.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said the company had a longstanding commitment as a leader in responsible mining, with numerous examples of its 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,” he said. “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, said 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 10 years of collaboration between our stakeholders that seeks to emulate for mining what has been done with certification programs in fairtrade agriculture, responsible forestry and sustainable fisheries, as examples,” she said.
“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, said the IRMA self-assessment tool had provided the business with a valuable opportunity to measure the 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.
Unki has not yet been independently assessed against the standard nor achieved a level of recognition at the time of this announcement, Anglo said.