New Report Digs Into Mining, Minerals, and Sustainability

New Report Digs Into Mining, Minerals, and Sustainability

The findings of a two-year research project on how the mining and minerals industry can maximize its contribution to sustainable development were unveiled this week at a press briefing in London.

Breaking New Ground: Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development is the output of a research and broad consultation conducted by the International Institute on Environment and Development (IIED), commissioned by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The briefing, hosted by Sir Robert Wilson, Chairman of Rio Tinto, presented the principal conclusions of the research and proposed an Agenda for Change with recommendations for immediate and future actions. Speakers included members of the IIED team who conducted the research, as well as Bjorn Stigson, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

“It is critical to develop the right framework conditions for individual companies to pursue sustainability, which can only be done by working together along the value chain, said Stigson. It also requires a broad interaction with stakeholders, to come to an understanding with society about how to address those sustainability challenges.”

Embedding sustainable development in the thinking of minerals companies is a great challenge. The Agenda for Change makes a series of recommendations, among others, to develop and adopt?

  • At company level: a “Sustainable development policy,” a “Review of
    end-of-life plans at existing operations,” and “Community sustainable development plans”

  • As a joint industry effort: a “Declaration on Sustainable Development
    embodying a commitment to a Sustainable Development Code”

    Recognizing that the mining and minerals industry needed to become more engaged in sustainable development, ten of the world's largest mining companies, all members of the WBCSD, established the Global Mining Initiative (GMI) in 1999. Further joined by 20 additional companies and non-industry organizations such as the World Bank, UNEP, IUCN, universities and other institutions, the GMI commissioned the IIED to conduct an analysis on the full mineral cycle, from mine to waste and re-use, in order to identify the opportunities and challenges for the industry to become more sustainable.

    The report can be viewed at