IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining (Draft 2.0)
NEW Chapter 2.14 Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM)

Background

It has been estimated that there are between 20 and 30 million men, women and children involved in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) worldwide, and that the ASM sector is responsible for 15 to 20 percent of the production of global minerals and metals (Buxton, p. 3, 2013).

While there is no single definition of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), it is generally understood to encompass a range of activities, including exploration, extraction, processing and transportation, and use more simplified and labor-intensive technologies and practices than large-scale industrial mining.

The ASM sector is complex and diverse. It includes individuals or families mining to earn or supplement their livings, as well as small-scale commercial mining operations that employ numerous workers. Much of ASM is informal, with entities operating in in contravention to laws, or in the absence of an appropriate legal framework, although some ASM operators do have permits, pay taxes and abide by social and environmental regulations. (IGF, 2017, p. 5; Buxton, 2013, p. 4) In some contexts, there may be a criminal element to ASM activities, such as smuggling, tax evasion, money laundering, trafficking in illegal chemicals, or financing of conflict. (IGF, 2017, p. 12; Echavarria, 2014, pp. 23)

Sometimes ASM occurs in areas close to or on large-scale mining (LSM) concessions. ASM miners may have traditionally operated in those areas, full-time or seasonally, or in other cases miners may have arrived during LSM exploration or after the development of the large-scale mine.

Given the diversity within the ASM sector, it is understandable that interactions between LSM and ASM entities can also take on a variety of forms, from violent confrontation to harmonious co-existence. (CASM et al., 2010, p. 5)

ASM is playing a growing role in many national economies (Freudenberger, 2013, p. 1), and holds the potential to provide decent livelihoods if conducted in a responsible manner and afforded more secure access to capital and markets. Large-scale mines that operate in the same regions as ASM, or that purchase minerals produced by ASM, have the opportunity to contribute to positive transformations in the ASM sector.

Objectives/Intent of this Chapter

To foster positive relationships between large-scale mines (LSM) and artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) entities, and support the development of ASM that provides positive livelihood opportunities and is protective of human rights, health, safety and the environment.

Scope of Application

Chapter Relevance:  This chapter is relevant to any large-scale mining operation that has the potential to interact with ASM entities due to proximity or through commercial relationships such as sourcing ore or minerals from ASM entities.

NOTES TO READERS:

  • IRMA is currently seeking public comment on this new draft ASM chapter. Released in July 2017, IRMA will be accepting comments on its draft Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) chapter until 8 September 2017. Comments may be emailed to: comments@responsiblemining.net
  •  Those interested in a version of this chapter that has Means of Verification, draft Explanatory Notes/Guidance and a list of References may download the pdf here

Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Requirements

2.14.1.  Understand the ASM Context

2.14.1.1.  When the large-scale mining (LSM) operating company has identified the presence of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) entities on the LSM concession or in close proximity to LSM operations, the operating company shall carry out a scoping process to understand the legal, social and environmental context in which ASM activities are occurring.

2.14.2.  Engage with ASM Entities and Communities

2.14.2.1.  When the operating company has identified the presence of ASM on or in close proximity to its mining project, it shall:

a.  Make a good faith effort to engage with ASM entities including, where relevant, informal ASM operators and formal ASM associations, as part of ongoing stakeholder engagement efforts (See Chapter 2.8);

b.  Make a good faith effort to consult with informal and formal ASM entities during relevant risk and impact assessments and closure planning;

c.  Engage with communities that are or may be affected by ASM operations and/or interactions between LSM and ASM entities; and

d.  Inform ASM entities and communities that there is an operational-level grievance mechanism available to raise concerns and resolve conflicts related to the LSM operation (See Chapter 2.13).

2.14.3.  Foster Positive Relationships and Opportunities for ASM and Communities

2.14.3.1.  The operating company shall ensure that mine security personnel are trained in respecting the human rights of individuals engaged in ASM activities, and members of affected communities.

2.14.3.2.  The operating company shall demonstrate that it has investigated and taken steps to implement strategies to create positive opportunities for ASM and affected communities.

2.14.4.  Perform Due Diligence in Commercial Relationships with ASM

2.14.4.1.  When the LSM mine sources from has other commercial relationships with ASM entities, the operating company shall:

a.  Regularly assess the social and environmental risks and impacts related to the ASM entities with whom they have a commercial relationship[1]; and

b.  Collaborate with those ASM entities to develop and implement a plan to eliminate or mitigate the most significant risks,[2]  and over time, address other social and environmental risks related to those ASM operations.

2.14.4.2.  When the LSM mine has commercial relationships with ASM entities that are located in conflict-affected or high-risk areas, the operating company shall carry out due diligence related to those ASM entities as required in IRMA Chapter 2.5.

Notes

IRMA is in the process of developing Guidance to accompany this chapter. Some draft Explanatory Notes and early guidance can be found in Appendix I of the pdf version of this chapter. Comments on suggested guidance and resources are welcome.

Cross References to Other Chapters

 Chapter

 Issues

1.1—Legal Compliance As per Chapter 1.1, if a host country law is more protective of human rights, health and/or the environment than an IRMA requirement, the host country law shall supersede the IRMA requirement (i.e., companies are required, at minimum to follow host country law). But if an IRMA requirement is more protective than host country law, the company is required to also meet the IRMA requirement, as long as doing so would not require the company to break host country law.
2.1—Fair Labor and Terms of Work Chapter 2.1, criteria 2.1.7 and 2.1.8 relate to child labor and forced labor, respectively. If an LSM mine sources from or has other commercial relationships with ASM (i.e., there is a supply chain relationship), the LSM operator is required in Chapter 2.1 to carry out due diligence to determine if child labor and/or forced labor are occurring at those ASM operations (e.g., requirements 2.1.7.4 and 2.1.8.2, respectively). If child labor or forced labor are discovered, LSM is required to carry out remediation.
2.2—Occupational Health and Safety 2.14.2.1.b requires that operating companies consult with ASM entities during relevant risk and impact assessments. If ASM entities are operating on LSM concessions, they may pose occupational health and safety risks for LSM workers and employees. These risks should be assessed as part of the OHS health and safety risk assessment process in 2.2.1.
2.4  - Human Rights, Due Diligence and Compliance 2.14.2.1.b requires that operating companies consult with ASM entities during relevant risk and impact assessments. This includes the operating company’s human rights related impact assessment (which is covered in Chapter 2.4, requirement 2.4.2.1).
If it is discovered (e.g., through the human rights, security or conflict risk assessments) that the operating company may contribute to or be linked to potential or actual human rights impacts as a result of sourcing from ASM operations the operating company’s mitigation measures will be expected to adhere to the requirements in IRMA Chapter 2.4. Human Rights Due Diligence and Compliance. (See specifically, requirement 2.4.3.2.b and c and 2.4.3.3.b, and c).
2.5—Mining in Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas 2.14.2.1.b requires that operating companies consult with ASM entities during relevant risk and impact assessments. If the operating company mine is located in a conflict-affected area, consultations with ASM will be required as part of the conflict risk assessment (See chapter 2.5, requirement 2.5.3.4).
As per 2.14.4.2, if an LSM mine sources from or has other commercial relationships with ASM operations located in a conflict-affected or high-risk area, the LSM is required to carry out the due diligence steps outlined in Chapter 2.5.
2.6—Security Arrangements 2.14.2.1.b requires that operating companies consult with ASM associations and miners during relevant risk and impact assessments. This includes the operating company’s security risk assessment (requirement 2.6.2.1).
Requirement 2.6.4 in Chapter 2.6 requires that private security personnel be given training that incorporates, at minimum, information related to ethical conduct and respect for the human rights of mine workers and affected communities, and the company’s policy on the appropriate use of force and firearms. Requirement 2.14.3.1 simply clarifies that in addition to human rights of mine workers and affected communities, that the human rights of ASM miners be specifically included when artisanal mining is located on or in close proximity to the operating company’s mining operation.
2.7—Community Heath and Safety 2.14.2.1.b requires that operating companies consult with ASM entities during relevant risk and impact assessments. This includes the operating company’s community health and safety scoping and, if relevant, risk and impact evaluation (2.7.1).
2.8—Community and Stakeholder Engagement ASM entities are stakeholders, and also often members of the affected communities. As such, the engagement process with ASM must conform with the requirements in Chapter 2.8.
2.12—Resettlement 2.14.2.1.b requires that operating companies consult with ASM entities during relevant risk and impact assessments. Consultations with ASM entities will be required as part of the Resettlement risk and impact assessment (2.12.1) if there are ASM miners, processors or other ASM entities that may be affected by resettlement.
2.13—Complaints, Grievances and Access to Remedy 2.14.2.1.d requires that ASM entities and communities be informed that there is an operational-level grievance mechanism available to raise concerns and resolve conflicts related to the LSM operation. Such a grievance mechanism is required in Chapter 2.13.
3.10—Mercury Management Chapter 3.10 prohibits LSM operating companies from selling or giving away mercury to ASM entities (See 3.10.2.2.b).
4.1—Environmental and Social Impact Assessment 2.14.2.1.b requires that operating companies consult with ASM associations and miners during relevant risk and impact assessments. This includes the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (See especially 4.1.4).

 

Endnotes

1. An array of social and environmental issues at ASM operations may pose social and environmental risks. These include, but are not limited to lack of legal compliance; bribery and corruption; child labor, forced labor, low wages, lack of labor rights, poor occupational health and safety, (E.g., exposure of workers and communities to toxic chemicals such as mercury and cyanide), lack of gender equality, security risks, human rights abuses, especially in conflict-affected areas, environmental pollution and degradation from poor waste management practices; operating in protected areas or areas of key biodiversity. (See Appendix I, Explanatory Notes for more information).

2. The most significant risks will vary, depending on the ASM operations. (See Appendix I, Explanatory Notes for more information). However, if present, the following should always be considered “significant risks”:  serious human rights abuses, including the worst forms of child labor, forced labor, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, widespread sexual violence, war crimes or serious violations of international humanitarian law, crimes against humanity or genocide. .

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