About IRMA

The IRMA Vision

Mining is a complex and intensive process that causes environmental and social change no matter where it occurs. IRMA's vision is that of a world in which the mining industry respects human rights and the aspirations of affected communities; provides safe, healthy and respectful workplaces; avoids or minimizes harm to the environment; and leaves positive legacies.

IRMA Fundamentals

  • The IRMA Standard is targeted at industrial-scale mines. IRMA collaborates with initiatives for responsible small-scale and artisanal mining.
  • IRMA works across all locations, commodities and mine types. However, IRMA does not provide assurance for oil, gas, uranium and other energy fuels.
  • IRMA collaborates with other sustainability standards initiatives for the extractives sector to provide complete solutions for certification, traceability and labeling.

The IRMA Mission

To establish a multi-stakeholder and independently verified responsible mining assurance system that improves social and environmental performance.

IRMA Background

Founded in 2006 by a coalition of nongovernment organizations, businesses purchasing minerals and metals for resale in other products, affected communities, mining companies, and trade unions, IRMA is developing standards for environmental and social issues related to mining, including labor rights, human rights, indigenous peoples and cultural heritage, conflict response, pollution control and site closure; and it is developing a system of independent, third-party verification to enable mine sites to credibly demonstrate that they are operating in a manner that is consistent with healthy communities and environments, and that leaves positive long-term legacies.

IRMA is planning to beta test its certification system in 2017. Mine sites participating in the beta test phase of IRMA's development will be eligible for certification. Learn more about IRMA's responsible mining certification. 

IRMA joins others in a growing sustainability standards movement, such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Marine Stewardship Council, that are using market-based approaches to shape the environmental and social performance of industry.

IRMA is seeking to improve the environmental and social performance of mining operations through the multi-stakeholder development of a set of best practice standards, as well as a system to independently verify implementation of those standards.

IRMA is the only multi-commodity assurance program for responsible mining that fully embraces a multi-stakeholder approach for developing credible standards as well as a commitment to independent verification. Five key sectors with a stake in the environmental and social performance of mining are involved:

  1.  mining companies
  2.  jewelry, electronics and other downstream users of mining products
  3.  environmental and human rights nonprofits
  4.  organizations representing affected communities
  5.  labor

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page to find answers to questions about the History and Purpose of IRMA; IRMA Governance and Membership; the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining; IRMA Certification; and Next Steps in the IRMA Process.

IRMA is designing a Responsible Mining Assurance System with six integrated elements, all of which are essential to the performance of the system:

  1. Best practice standards that are endorsed by key stakeholders from all key stakeholder groups, that describe environmentally and socially responsible mine operation and legacy mine site management. 
  2. An independent, third-party mechanism to verify implementation of the standards;
  3. A subscriber program designed to generate and maintain long term support for the system from all key stakeholder groups;
  4. Communication tools (such as certificates, approved claims and labels) that generate rewards for effective implementation by participating enterprises.
  5. An organizational structure and business model sufficient to ensure the long term stability and success of the system as a whole (through one or more legal entities and associated personnel, governance and financial resources);
  6. Mechanisms for resolving disputes. IRMA expects to begin certifying mine sites in 2017 so that companies can support the mining of minerals and metals that is consistent with healthy communities and environments, and that leaves positive long-term legacies.