Responsible Mining Index 2018 highlights leading practices, and shows what is still to be done by large-scale mining companies

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This post was written by the Responsible Mining Index and can be found on their website here. The Index and the findings are highly relevant to PWYP members and their work.

The Responsible Mining Index 2018, covering companies that produce 25% of all mined commodities globally, is launched in Geneva, Switzerland today. Among the key findings are:

  • The vast majority of the assessed mining companies show responsible policies or practices on several economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) issues. However, very few companies show systematic action across a range of key issues.
  • Little or no action is found even on some issues on which companies would be expected to act, such as monitoring the impacts of mining on children, tracking whether community grievances are being dealt with appropriately, or checking that workers’ wages meet or exceed living wage standards.
  • Too often, companies have not put into practice some of their own policy commitments on responsible mining, such as on the management of human rights issues.
  • Importantly, few companies keep track of how effectively they are managing EESG issues and fewer still can demonstrate that they are working to improve their performance.
  • At the same time however, companies are collectively demonstrating responsible mining across many issues and strong cases of leading practice are evident, providing valuable models for other companies.
  • More widespread adoption of existing practices could see the mining industry go some way to meeting society’s expectations.
  • The Responsible Mining Index 2018, aims to encourage continuous improvement in responsible mining and support leading practice and learning. The Index, which is independent of the industry, covers 30 large-scale mining companies that together represent a quarter of the global production of mined commodities and operate over 700 mines in more than 40 countries.

    The Responsible Mining Index 2018 is the first of a multi-year initiative by the Responsible Mining Foundation. The Index assesses and compares company policies and practices across six different EESG areas: economic development, business conduct, lifecycle management, community wellbeing, working conditions and environmental responsibility. As an evidence-based assessment, the Index measures the extent to which companies can demonstrate, rather than simply claim, that they have established responsible policies and practices. In order to support transparency and open data principles, the RMI results, and the information sources used in the assessment, are provided free as a public good.

    The Index results show that responsible mining is a realistic goal – it can be done. If a single company were to achieve the highest score recorded for each indicator, it would reach more than 70% of the maximum achievable score. The results also reveal a wide range of companies demonstrating responsible practice on particular issues. Indeed, some 19 of the 30 companies rank among the ten strongest performers for at least one thematic area of the Index. And leading practices are found even on issues for which performances are generally, weak, such as addressing the needs of vulnerable groups in mining-affected communities. These results all point to the strong potential for continuous improvement based on existing practices already demonstrated by a number of different companies.

    On the other hand, the results show some marked limitations in current practice. Companies tend to put in place policy commitments without always backing these up with systematic, effective company-wide action. This is seen even for topics where commitments are common and commonly expected, such as human rights and occupational health and safety. Further, the scale and persistence of severe adverse impacts is at odds with the widespread existence of such commitments. For example, worker fatalities and violations of human rights are among the most frequent adverse impacts found in the RMI analysis. In the face of such evidence, strong company commitments are sometimes not matched by company actions, which clearly need to be more effective.

    Companies typically show a lack of systematic attention to monitoring their performance on EESG issues and reporting their performance to other stakeholders, including mining- affected communities. This lack of ‘knowing and showing’ their own performance is most evident at the mine-site level. The vast majority of the 127 sites assessed provide little or no data on key issues of direct interest to local communities, workers and other stakeholders. This includes information on how a site is managing local employment, local procurement, grievance, water use and biodiversity impacts. Without open sharing of such data, it is very difficult for companies to build trust with local communities. Nonetheless a few companies and a few sites are showing the way by putting into practice open data principles to ensure the information reported is easily accessed, understood and used by local communities.

    A lack of public reporting is most likely one of the main factors limiting company scores in the Index. Performances might be considerably higher if companies were more transparent about their management of EESG issues. Greater openness would also enable more learning and sharing of good practices.

    Hélène Piaget, Chief Executive Officer of the Responsible Mining Foundation said:

    “With the launch of the Responsible Mining Index 2018, we aimed to create a strong knowledge base that is open to all, and encourages leading practice and learning across the mining industry. We will continue to engage with all stakeholders to support responsible mining, and encourage constructive dialogue between companies and stakeholders – whether they be communities that neighbour mining operations or large institutional investors.”

    Issued by:
    Responsible Mining Foundation Nyon, Switzerland
    Email: [email protected] Tel: +41 22 361 1418

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