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The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is a multi-sector initiative that offers independent, third-party auditing and transparency at mine sites using its 400+ page standard.

Strong, enforceable laws and regulations remain the best means of ensuring companies respect human rights, particularly of Indigenous and frontline communities, and the protection of the environment. Earthworks has been and continues to be critical of voluntary and certification systems, particularly those initiated and governed by industry. We also recognize that the laws and rules governing mining around the world range from absent to inadequate, almost across the board. 

Recognizing this gap, 15 years ago, Earthworks joined labor unions, community groups, and NGOs in an effort to define more responsible mining practices—and engaged with mining companies and downstream buyers of minerals to build a system for oversight and verification with compliance.

We recognize that there is more work to be done to strengthen standards to reflect best practice, and that IRMA is a dynamic process that will continue to evolve with new technology, information, and understanding.

Even as Earthworks advocates for mandatory requirements and legal reforms governing mining, we view IRMA’s standard and audits as an additional tool to provide transparency and hold mining companies accountable for the human rights, environmental, and labor conditions at mine sites. While we believe in the strategic value of IRMA, we understand that others may not agree with our assessment. Nevertheless, we strive to always center the priorities of frontline communities in our collaboration with them.

Our Commitment

Earthworks is committed to standing with communities and workers on the frontlines who are bearing the greatest impacts of mining, and to being a strong advocate for high standards, disclosure and accountability in our engagement with IRMA or any other voluntary system.

Earthworks serves on the multi-sector Board (6 labor, community and NGO seats, and 6 finance, mining and downstream buyer seats) of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) along with our allies Human Rights Watch, IndustriALL Global Union, the United Steelworkers, Mining Affected Communities United in Action, and others.

We commit to the following in our engagement with IRMA or any other voluntary system:

  • Advocating for high-bar standards for environmental, human rights, and governance, including the right to Free, Prior and Informed consent;
  • Advocating for transparency, accountability and stronger auditing and membership requirements;
  • Advocating for more inclusion, resources, and the participation of frontline communities and workers throughout the IRMA system; and
  • Pushing back against any attempts to greenwash or weaken IRMA’s governance, commitment to transparency, auditing process or membership system, including advocating for increased clarity around auditing, membership and claims.

For More Information

For more information about the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance or its Standard for Responsible Mining, please see the IRMA website or contact info@responsiblemining.net. To submit a complaint to IRMA, please email: complaints@responsiblemining.net