IRJ - June 8 - The world’s biggest mining companies have made major improvements in environmental policies though as a whole the industry continues to face significant challenges, said researcher Abbi Buxton, author of a report from the International Institute for Environment and Development.
These are among the findings of a 10-year review of the progress the mining sector has made since companies joined NGOs in calling for the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) initiative.
“The 2002 MMSD report was a game-changer,” says Buxton. “For the first time, mining executives committed to act to maximise their sector’s contribution to sustainable development, and they adopted the MMSD agenda as a robust and credible way to do this. Ten years on, however, the results are mixed and new challenges have emerged.”
Some of the findings show that while governments are reasserting control over their natural resources, they lack the capacity to ensure that mining contributes to sustainable development.
Buxton’s report also states that the International Council on Mining and Metals – an umbrella organisation of leading companies such as Rio Tinto and Anglo American - has succeeded in implementing many of MMSD’s recommendations for industry. But complementary measures proposed for governments, the small scale mining sector and communities have not matched this success.