Mining companies seeking to improve their biodiversity performance can now do so with the help of a new 142-page guide which has been published by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM).
ICMMs Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity, which was officially launched at Conservation Internationals Global Symposium 2006 Defying Nature's End: The African Context in Antananarivo, Madagascar on 23 June, is designed as an informative, accessible and highly practical guide for use by mining companies at all stages of their operations, from initial exploration to mine closure planning and implementation.
The publication, which is being made available to mining companies, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders globally, has been produced as part of an extensive dialogue between ICMM and IUCN - the World Conservation Union.
According to Achim Steiner, former Director General of IUCN, "the dialogue is helping to provide an important template for biodiversity conservation in the mining and metals sector. By opening up the debate and creating opportunities for working together at a practical level we can help mining and metals companies begin to understand and address a range of biodiversity issues."
With four main sections, the guide includes background to biodiversity and its relevance to mining companies; advice on the management and integration of biodiversity and an introduction to some of the tools and processes needed for effective progress. There are also sections on stakeholder engagement and a checklist of supporting materials which can be used to improve performance on a day to day basis.
The guide also features a series of case study examples which show how companies are incorporating biodiversity priorities into their operations. "Mining companies recognize that the protection of biodiversity is an integral part of their license to operate" commented Jerome Maxwell, President of ICMM member Alcoas global primary product business in Africa and the Caribbean, who helped launch the guide. "Alcoa has global standards for mining and rehabilitation that are applied to all of our operations wherever we operate."
With the publication of this guide, the mining industry has recognized that it must play a proactive role in integrating biodiversity conservation into its business practices, said Assheton Stewart Carter, Senior Director of Conservation Internationals Energy and Mining Program. "If we are to meet societys need for raw materials and reach conservation goals we need new alliances including partnerships between mining companies and conservation organizations - to support the expansion and management of protected areas worldwide," he said.
ICMM Secretary General Paul Mitchell said that "demonstrating a commitment to biodiversity conservation is now an essential element of sustainable development for the mining and metals industry." ICMM members, he said "are committed to improving their performance in this area and educating stakeholders about the value of biodiversity conservation."