Consultation underway on new standard for mining sector
Central to a proposed new sustainability reporting standard for mining companies lies the question “How can a sector that is central to the supply of the minerals required for well-functioning modern societies reconcile its socio-economic contributions with its impacts on the environment and people’’?
Set up by a multi-stakeholder expert group, and what will become the newest addition to an ever-increasing number of Sector Standards, a public comment period for the draft GRI Mining Standard is underway. The Standard classifies 25 topics that encapsulate the wide ranging number of impacts for mining companies, including:
- Environmental: climate change, greenhouse gas and air emissions, biodiversity, water and waste;
- Social: community engagement and human rights, including those of Indigenous Peoples, land and resource rights, modern slavery and forced labor;
- Economic: anti-corruption, procurement, and payments to governments.
Three topics new to the GRI Standards: tailings facilities and hazardous waste streams, artisanal and small-scale mining, and operating in conflict zones feature in the exposure draft which is open for debate until 30 April. Required to establish local accountability and reinforce the ‘social license to operate’ of mining firms, these expectations have been set.
With the exception of Coal, and Oil and Gas (for which GRI Sector Standards are already available), this Standard will relate to all organizations dealing with mining and quarrying.
On 7 February, the draft Standard was presented by GRI at an event in South Africa, home of this year’s world’s largest mining investment conference.
Free global webinars on the consultation will take place on 23 February and 2 March.
Stakeholders are encouraged to send views on the exposure draft, including its viability and extensiveness through an online form, as the public comment period is open from 7 February until 30 April 2023. Once feedback has been considered, the final Mining Standard is expected to publish in Q3 2023.