Principles and Objectives

The IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining (the IRMA Standard) is designed to support the achievement of four overarching principles, Business Integrity, Social Responsibility, Environmental Responsibility, and Planning and Managing for Positive Legacies. Additionally, each chapter of the IRMA Standard has an objective that meets one or more of these principles. For organizational purposes, chapters are listed under one core principle. It should be noted, however, that most chapters and their objectives are relevant to more than principle.

Principle 1—Business Integrity

INTENT:  Operating companies conduct their business in a transparent manner that complies with applicable host country and international laws, regulations and best practice.

  • Chapter 1.1—Legal Compliance:  To support the application of the laws and regulations of the country in which mining takes place, or exceed host country laws in a manner consistent with best practice.
  • Chapter 1.2—Revenue and Payments Transparency:  To increase transparency of mining related payments and provide communities and the general public with the information they need to understand and assess the fairness of financial arrangements related to mining operations.

​Principle 2—Social Responsibility

INTENT:  Operating companies engage with stakeholders to ensure that mining occurs in a manner that respects human rights and cultural heritage, and maintains or enhances the health, safety and quality of life of workers and communities.

  • Chapter 2.1—Fair Labor and Terms of Work:  To maintain or enhance the social and economic wellbeing of mine workers and respect internationally recognized workers’ rights.
  • Chapter 2.2—Occupational Health and Safety: To identify and avoid or mitigate occupational health and safety hazards; maintain working environments that protect workers’ health and working capacity; and promote workplace safety and health.
  • Chapter 2.3—Emergency Preparedness and Response:  To plan for and be prepared to respond effectively to potential emergency situations, prevent or reduce the likelihood of accidents and minimize loss of life, injuries and damage to property, environment, health and social well-being.
  • Chapter 2.4—Human Rights Due Diligence and Compliance:  To identify, prevent, mitigate and remedy infringements of human rights.
  • Chapter 2.5—Mining and Conflict-Affected or High-Risk Areas:  To prevent contribution to conflict or the perpetration of serious human rights abuses in conflict-affected or high-risk areas.
  • Chapter 2.6—Security Arrangements:  To manage security in a manner that protects mining operations and products without infringing on human rights.
  • Chapter 2.7—Community Health and Safety:  To protect and improve the health and safety of individuals, families, and communities affected by mining projects.
  • Chapter 2.8—Community and Stakeholder Engagement:  To enable communities and stakeholders to participate in mining-related decisions that affect their health, wellbeing, safety, livelihoods, futures and the environment.
  • Chapter 2.9—Obtaining Community Support and Delivering Benefits:  To obtain and maintain credible broad support from affected communities; and produce tangible and equitable benefits to communities that are in alignment with their needs and aspirations and sustainable over the long term.
  • Chapter 2.10—Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC):  To respect the rights, dignity, aspirations, culture, and livelihoods of indigenous peoples.
  • Chapter 2.11—Cultural Heritage:  To protect and respect the cultural heritage of communities and indigenous peoples.
  • Chapter 2.12—Resettlement:  To avoid resettlement, and when that is not possible, equitably compensate affected persons and improve their living standards and livelihoods over pre-resettlement levels.
  • Chapter 2.13—Grievance Mechanism and Access to Other Remedies:  To provide accessible and effective means for affected communities and individuals to raise and resolve mine-related grievances, while not limiting their ability to seek remedy through other mechanisms.

​Principle 3—Environmental Responsibility

INTENT:  Operating companies engage with stakeholders to ensure that mining is planned and carried out in a manner that maintains or enhances environmental values, and avoids or minimizes impacts to the environment and communities.

  • Chapter 3.1—Water Quality:  To protect water quality and minimize off-site impacts to the environment and other water uses through the adoption of leading water management strategies and practices throughout the full mine life cycle.
  • Chapter 3.2—Water Quantity:  To maximize efficiency of water-use and minimize off-site impacts to the environment through the adoption of leading water management strategies and practices throughout the full mine life cycle.
  • Chapter 3.3—Mine Waste Management:  To eliminate off-site contamination, minimize short- and long-term risks to communities and the environment, and protect future land uses.
  • Chapter 3.4—Air Quality:  To protect and maintain pre-mine air quality conditions.
  • Chapter 3.5—Noise:  To preserve the amenity or health and well-being of nearby noise receptors, properties, and communities.
  • Chapter 3.6—Greenhouse Gas Emissions:  To minimize climate change impacts through increased energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Chapter 3.7—Protected Areas:  To respect, support and strengthen the effectiveness of legally designated protected areas.
  • Chapter 3.8—Biodiversity Outside Officially Protected Areas:  To avoid contributing to the global loss of biodiversity.
  • Chapter 3.9—Cyanide:  To protect human health and the environment through the responsible management of cyanide.
  • Chapter 3.10—Mercury Management:  To protect human health and the environment through the responsible management of mercury.

​Principle 4—Planning and Managing for Positive Legacies

INTENT:  Operating companies engage with stakeholders to ensure that mining projects are planned and managed in a manner that leaves positive environmental and social legacies.

  • Chapter 4.1—Environmental and Social Impact Assessment:  To proactively anticipate, avoid, and when that is not possible, minimize and compensate for impacts on affected communities, workers and the environment through the assessment, management and monitoring of environmental and social impacts.
  • Chapter 4.2—Reclamation and Closure:  To protect long-term environmental and social values and ensure that the costs of site reclamation and closure not borne by the community or wider public.

IRMA and its supporters are committed to promoting the uptake of the IRMA Standard by recognizing and rewarding mining operations that are certified as meeting the requirements in each chapter of the Standard and thereby fulfilling IRMA’s overall principles objectives.

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