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 is respectful of the 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 colleauges focused on similar goals for small-scale and artisanal mining, and particularly with interest to reduce conflict and violence at the interface between large and small-scale 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 is committed to collaborating with other colleague standards systems to provide both shared recognition for achievement at the mine site level and complete supply chain connections so that the effort made to protect social and environmental values can be valued and shared through the supply chain. We recognize the important work of ResponsibleSteel, Mining Association of Canada's Toward Sustainable Mining Program, Responsible Jewellry Council, Responsible Business Alliance (formerly the Electronics Industry Citizenship Council), Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, US Green Building Council and others.

The IRMA Mission

To establish a multi-stakeholder and independently-verified responsible mining assurance system that improves social and environmental performance and creates value for the mine sites which lead.

IRMA - Equitable Leadership Shared Between Diverse Stakeholders

IRMA is unique in its global coverage of all mined materials, encouragement of best practice leadership, and commitment to multi-stakeholder leadership. Together, IRMA leaders work to develop credible standards to protect environmental and social values and oversee an independent verification program worthy of confidence from all participants. Five key sectors with a stake in the environmental and social performance of mining have worked together for more than a decade to build the IRMA system: 

  •  Mining companies
  •  Jewelry, electronics and other downstream users of mining products
  •  Environmental and human rights nonprofits / NGOs
  •  Organizations representing affected communities
  •  Labor Unions

These leaders are aware that many individuals and organizations are not currently represented at IRMA’s table and their perspectives are important to inform IRMA’s launch. In particular, they seek the input from governments, additional impacted communities, the finance sector, academics, international institutions, insurance companies and other stakeholders.

IRMA builds on the experience of sustainability standards in organic agriculture, forestry, and fisheries – creating a parallel to certification programs like the Forest Stewardship Council and Marine Stewardship Council. 
IRMA Steering Committee and Secretariat

Photo: IRMA Steering Committee and Secretariat

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 develops 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. 

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. Both a Membership and a Subscriber program designed as engagement tools to ensure multistakeholder participation as well as to generate and maintain long term support for the system; 
  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 2019 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.