The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) envisions a world where the mining industry is:
- respectful of the human rights and aspirations of affected communities;
- provides safe, healthy and respectful workplaces;
- avoids or minimizes harm to the environment;
- and leaves positive legacies.
IRMA is establishing best practice standards that improve the environmental and social performance of mining operations, as well as a system to independently verify compliance with those standards. To view a short set of slides providing an overview of the IRMA process, please click here.
Since 2006, the participants, who represent the private and not-for-profit sector, have met semi-annually to develop and define the IRMA framework and standards.
The IRMA System is expected to begin certifying mine sites in 2015
We are currently inviting new Founding Organizations to participate in the IRMA process. To learn more about becoming an IRMA participant click here.
IRMA joins others in the sustainability standards movement, such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Marine Stewardship Council, using market-based approaches to shape the environmental and social performance of industry. As consumer awareness continues to increase in many retail sectors stakeholders recognize the need/demand for metals free from associations of harmful labor practices, environmental degradation or other unsustainable conditions.
How is IRMA Different?
IRMA is the only assurance program for responsible mining that has, since inception, fully embraced a multi-stakeholder approach to developing credible standards as well as a commitment to independently verified certification.
Five key sectors with a stake in the environmental and social performance of mining are involved including:
- mining companies
- downstream users of mining products, such as jewelry retailers
- environmental and human rights focused nonprofits
- affected and indigenous communities
IRMA seeks to build on the foundation of research, tools, and initiatives ranging from the Framework for Responsible Mining, the ICMM Sustainable DevelopmentFramework, to the findings of the Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development project, to the Mining Certification Evaluation Project. IRMA differs from various approaches by putting primary emphasis on full third-party development of standards and independent verification in which NGOs, communities and labour unions are full partners along with the mining industry and other businesses who purchase metals for processing/profit.