Principles and Objectives

The IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining (the IRMA Standard) is designed to support the achievement of four overarching principles, Business Integrity, Planning and Managing for Positive Legacies, Social Responsibility, and Environmental Responsibility. 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 one principle.

Principle 1—Business Integrity

INTENT:  Operating companies conduct business in a transparent manner that complies with applicable host country and international laws, respects human rights and builds trust and credibility with workers, communities and stakeholders.

  • 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—Community and Stakeholder Engagement:  To support mining company decision-making and enable communities and stakeholders to participate in mining-related decisions that affect their health, well-being, safety, livelihoods, futures and the environment.
  • Chapter 1.3—Human Rights Due Diligence:  To respect human rights, and identify, prevent, mitigate and remedy infringements of human rights.
  • Chapter 1.4— Complaints and Grievance Mechanism and Access to Remedy:  To provide accessible and effective means for affected communities and individuals to raise and resolve mine-related complaints and grievances at the mine operational level, while not limiting their ability to seek remedy through other mechanisms.
  • Chapter 1.5—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—Planning and Managing for Positive Legacies

INTENT:  Operating companies engage with stakeholders from the early planning stages and throughout the mine lifecycle to ensure that mining projects are planned and managed to deliver positive economic, social and environmental legacies for companies, workers and communities.

  • Chapter 2.1—Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Management:  To proactively anticipate and assess environmental and social impacts; manage them in accordance with the mitigation hierarchy; and monitor and adapt environmental and social management systems in a manner that protects affected communities, workers and the environment throughout the entire mine lifecycle.
  • Chapter 2.2—Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC):  To demonstrate respect for the rights, dignity, aspirations, culture, and livelihoods of indigenous peoples, participate in ongoing dialogue and engagement and collaborate to minimize impacts and create benefits for indigenous peoples, thereby creating conditions that allow for indigenous peoples’ free, prior and informed consent and decision-making regarding mining development.
  • Chapter 2.3—Obtaining Community Support and Delivering Benefits:  To obtain and maintain credible broad support from affected communities; and produce tangible and equitable benefits that are in alignment with community needs and aspirations and are sustainable over the long term.
  • Chapter 2.4—Resettlement:  To avoid involuntary resettlement, and when that is not possible, equitably compensate affected persons and improve the livelihoods and living standards of displaced persons.
  • Chapter 2.5—Emergency Preparedness and Response:  To plan for and be prepared to respond effectively to industrial emergency situations that may affect offsite resources or communities, and to minimize the likelihood of accidents, loss of life, injuries, and damage to property, environment, health and social well-being.
  • Chapter 2.6—Planning and Financing Reclamation and Closure:  To protect long-term environmental and social values and ensure that the costs of site reclamation and closure are not borne by affected communities or the wider public.

​Principle 3—Social Responsibility

INTENT:  Operating companies engage with workers, stakeholders and rights holders to maintain or enhance the health, safety, cultural values, quality of life and livelihoods of workers and communities.

  • Chapter 3.1—Fair Labor and Terms of Work:  To maintain or enhance the social and economic well-being of mine workers and respect internationally recognized workers’ rights.
  • Chapter 3.2—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 3.3—Community Health and Safety:  To protect and improve the health and safety of individuals, families, and communities affected by mining projects.
  • Chapter 3.4—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 3.5—Security Arrangements:  To manage security in a manner that protects mining operations and products without infringing on human rights.
  • Chapter 3.6—Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining:  To avoid conflict and, where possible within the scope of national law, foster positive relationships between large-scale mines 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.
  • Chapter 3.7—Cultural Heritage:  To protect and respect the cultural heritage of communities and indigenous peoples.

​Principle 4—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 4.1—Waste and Materials Management:  To eliminate off-site contamination, minimize short- and long-term risks to the health and safety of communities and the environment, and protect future land and water uses.
  • Chapter 4.2—Water Management:  To manage water resources in a manner that strives to protect current and future uses of water.
  • Chapter 4.3—Air Quality:  To protect human health and the environment from airborne contaminants.
  • Chapter 4.4—Noise and Vibration:  To preserve the health and well-being of nearby noise receptors and the amenity of properties and community values, and to protect offset structures from vibration impacts.
  • Chapter 4.5—Greenhouse Gas Emissions:  To minimize climate change impacts through increased energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • Chapter 4.6—Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Protected Areas:  To protect biodiversity, maintain the benefits of ecosystem services and respect the values being safeguarded in protected areas.
  • Chapter 4.7—Cyanide:  To protect human health and the environment through the responsible management of cyanide.
  • Chapter 4.8—Mercury Management:  To protect human health and the environment through the responsible management of mercury.

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 relevant chapter of the Standard and thereby fulfilling IRMA’s overall principles and objectives.

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