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Why it works


We plead for responsible mineral resource governance - comprising the entire value chain - from decisions on minerals extraction to the processing and the final product. Responsible extraction and use of raw materials starts with transparency in the raw materials chain, from mine to end user. Every company processing mining products must know where the raw materials come from and under what conditions they are extracted. Through agreements, such as Agreements promoting International Responsible Business Conduct, we encourage companies in the metal sector to better map their value chain.

At the same time, we make information available in the public domain in the areas where mining takes place. Citizens and local governments must be informed timely of plans for new mines. We stimulate a public debate on the long-term consequences of different development scenarios to ensure that citizens and the country benefit directly from the extraction of minerals through its industrialization, without compromising the ability of the next generation to benefit from the country’s natural resources. In addition, there has to be transparency about what the income from mining is spent on. We therefore support the worldwide Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for the open and accountable management of extractive resources. 

Strong laws and regulations

Together with our local partner organizations, we work to publicly disclose the laws, regulations and international standards that mining operations should meet. Our local partners then engage in dialogue with relevant administrators related to their duties to ensure compliance with these rules. For example, in many protected areas, mining may not take place at all.

If the existing laws and regulations are not adequate, we argue for stricter laws that provide guarantees for better protection of nature and ecosystem services. This is crucial since many local and national economies directly depend on the natural ecosystem. While a mine only has a limited lifespan, ecosystem services such as soil fertility and clean water are needed forever. 

Sustainability standards

In addition to existing laws and regulations, there are also voluntary sustainability standards that mining companies can commit to. These sectoral standards often impose higher demands on sustainability than national laws and regulations and promote ways of operating that are less harmful to people and nature. We encourage companies to publicly commit to such standards and guidelines, such as IRMA (Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance), IFC (International Finance Cooperation) and OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Recovery plans

If a mine closes over time, the landscape is often seriously affected. That is why we strive for firm agreements with companies and governments about restoring nature so that biodiversity can return.

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  • Almost 10% of deforestation in the Amazon is caused by the mining industry
  • IUCN states that mining and oil extraction is incompatible with the objectives of protected areas and that all exploration and extraction of mineral resources in protected areas corresponding to IUCN Protected Areas Management Categories I to IV should be prohibited by law
  • Mining represents the fourth-largest driver of forest loss (World Bank - PROFOR 2019)

Involvement of critical citizens and civil society is the key to responsible mining.

-Razakamanarina Ndranto, AVG (local partner organization of IUCN NL in Madagascar)


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