Two Anglo American mines are first South African operations audited against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining

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Amandelbult and Mototolo achieve IRMA 50 and IRMA 75, respectively

SEATTLE, Feb. 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today the Initiative for Responsible Mining (IRMA) released the audits of Anglo American’s Amandelbult and Mototolo PGM operations against the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining. Independent audit firm ERM-CVS assessed Amandelbult at IRMA 50 and Mototolo at IRMA 75 when measuring their performance against the Standard’s best practice social and environmental criteria.

IRMA also released the surveillance (interim) audit for Anglo’s Unki PGM operation in Zimbabwe, as conducted by audit firm SCS Global. In 2021, Unki achieved IRMA 75 in IRMA’s first-ever on-site audit; a surveillance audit is a more limited check-in, so it does not result in further detailed scoring but rather provides updates on performance.

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IRMA 50 or 75 means that ERM-CVS verified that the operations at least substantially met all 40 critical requirements of the IRMA Standard, as well as at least 50 or 75% of the Standard’s criteria in each of the four principle areas: social responsibility, environmental responsibility, business integrity and planning for positive legacies. The full audit reports are available on the Amandelbult and Mototolo audit pages, as well as Unki’s surveillance report, on the IRMA website.

“The information stakeholders need to decide what’s going well — and what may require more attention.”

“This report demonstrates that mines can point to transparent, independent evaluations of their environmental and social performance,” said Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA. “Through detailed IRMA audit reports, mining companies, communities and companies that purchase mined materials can gain the information they need to decide what’s going well — and what may require more attention — at specific mines.”

As the IRMA Standard is recognized and adopted around the globe, these audits are first steps in a deepening dialogue between mining companies and those affected by their operations. Because the process is still evolving, IRMA cautions that the initial results should be reviewed and interpreted accordingly.

“These mines began audits during the early Covid years. The timeline was delayed by travel challenges, and then the company’s decision to use the optional corrective action period to make improvements. The public has long awaited opportunity to review the information included here, and we applaud Anglo American for volunteering these mines for audit against such comprehensive criteria.” Ms. Boulanger went on to say, “That said, the IRMA Standard is relatively new for companies that volunteer to be audited, and even our accredited auditors are still learning. The same is true for community members and workers who are interviewed as part of the process, some of whom may not yet feel comfortable engaging. So, the Amandelbult and Mototolo audits need to be read with this in mind.”

The reports also provide an honest accounting of IRMA’s progress as the Standard and assessment process continue to mature.

“If the results don’t fully reflect the experience of communities, Indigenous rights holders or other affected groups, we want to hear from them,” Ms. Boulanger said. “We’ll help them communicate with the company to better understand its performance, and with the auditors on any issues they feel were overlooked in the review. This is a cornerstone of our own commitment to transparency. We invite anyone who has criticisms of our work to join us in making it better. Finding ways to improve is built into our system — and a measure of its success.”

The IRMA Standard is being updated in 2024; input on how to improve the IRMA Standard is welcomed. Chapters in the IRMA Standard include requirements on protection to human rights, water resources, worker health and safety, biodiversity, Indigenous free, prior, informed consent and more.

“Committing to an IRMA audit reflects our desire to improve and our openness to dialogue.”

Craig Miller, CEO of Anglo American Platinum said, “This significant milestone at Mototolo and Amandelbult mines in our overall adoption of IRMA enables us to promote transparency and best practice in sustainability, while adding value to our global customers by helping them to meet increasing expectations for responsibly mined materials in an efficient and credible way. With Unki mine achieving IRMA 75 in 2021, and now the achievements of Mototolo with IRMA 75 and Amandelbult with IRMA 50, we are continuing to make great progress towards our sustainable mining plan target of having all our mining operations assured against a recognised responsible mining standard by 2025.”

Including Amandelbult, Mototolo and Unki, 19 industrial-scale mines worldwide are within the IRMA independent assessment system. After an initial self-assessment, a participating mine engages a third-party audit firm — trained and approved by IRMA — to conduct a detailed independent evaluation, including on-site visits to the mine and nearby communities. Following the release of the initial audit, a shorter surveillance audit checks on the mine’s performance. Three years after the initial audit, the operation is fully audited again (Note: The first mines audited in the IRMA system have had extensions to this timeline due to Covid delays and launch-phase learning; updated full reviews will be required to maintain or increase achievement scores.)

The independent IRMA system is the only global mining standard that provides equal power to the public sector (communities and Indigenous rights holders, mine workers, and environmental and human rights advocates) alongside the private sector (mining companies, mined materials purchasers and investors).

Learn more at the Feb 27th Webinar Q&A

  • REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/IRMAwebinar-A-M
  • Tuesday, 27 Feb, 4pm South Africa time (UTC+2)
  • Speakers:
    IRMA Executive Director Aimee Boulanger,
    IRMA Africa Regional Lead Davidzo Muchawaya
    IRMA Assurance Director Michelle Smith,
    Anglo American Platinum Head of Sustainability Stephen Bullock
  • A discussion and Q&A about the meaning of the audit results, and how the increased transparency an IRMA audit provides can be used by stakeholders to improve the operation.
  • All registrants will receive a recording.

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