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Miners leading on biodiversity management

The world’s leading mining companies have significantly improved the extent and sophistication of their biodiversity management in the past ten years according to a recent report for the International Council for Mining and Metals.

The ICMM is made up of 21 of the world’s largest mining and metal producing companies that are committed to leadership on sustainable development, including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton,

The report found ICMM members have a greater focus on managing their direct impacts on biodiversity, and supporting the conservation of biodiversity not impacted by mining activities. And all members have more specific commitments on biodiversity which are driving the process.

The independent Biodiversity performance review report was jointly commissioned by ICMM and the International Union on the Conservation of Nature. It’s part of a joint agreement which aims to improve f mining companies' performance in biodiversity conservation management.

The review was the subject of discussion at the World Parks Congress in Sydney last month. It was the first time the mining industry had participated in the event.

The report also recommends areas for future collaboration between NGOs and industry to demonstrate positive biodiversity outcomes at a site-level.

The report says ICMM needs to establish with IUCN and its members the business case for addressing emerging issues (biodiversity offsets, ecosystem services and commitments to no-net-loss and net positive impact) and, develop and communicate leadership positions on them.

The report recommends ICMM members work with conservation community to develop a common definition of high biodiversity value areas, minimum requirements for biodiversity risk and impact assessments; how members with differing exposure to biodiversity risks can implement ICMM’s Principle 7 – supporting conservation outcomes over and above direct impact management.

The report also recommends improving the ability of miners to measure biodiversity outcomes and enhancing the capacity of regulators. It says enhancing the capacity of regulators will ensure regulators can support industry to conserve biodiversity.

The report says ‘ICMM members have an opportunity to raise the industry bar in biodiversity management, and reinforce their leadership position. This can be achieved by collaborating with IUCN and other conservation groups to build capacity of regulators in key countries to align with global best practice, for example, through sharing approaches on impact assessments and biodiversity offsets.’ Read the report here

Image courtesy of Rio Tinto

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