Responsible Mining Index 2018

An evidence-based assessment of mining company policies and practices
on economic, environmental, social and governance issues.

The Responsible Mining Foundation (RMF) shares the position of many organisations and people around the world who support responsible mining but are concerned about the many urgent and compelling matters that impact societies and environments in producing countries.

Mining is a significant contributor to the GDP and exports of many low- and middle-income economies. As a sector with large-scale and far-reaching potential, mining can also support achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, the one-time removal of these non-renewable resources has often failed to catalyse economic development, and for too many people and too many environments, mining brings lasting disruptive consequences.

The Responsible Mining Index (RMI) supports the principle that minerals and metals mining should benefit the economies, improve the lives of people and respect the environments of producing countries, while also benefiting mining companies in a fair and viable way.

With this in mind, the goal of RMI is to encourage continuous improvement in responsible mining across the industry by transparently assessing the policies and practices of large, geographically dispersed mining companies on a range of economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) issues, with the emphasis on leading practice and learning.

RMI assesses companies from the perspective of what society can reasonably expect of large-scale mining companies, and examines the extent to which companies are addressing a range of EESG issues in a systematic manner across all their mining activities and throughout the project lifecycle.

This first Index, RMI 2018, covers 30 companies from 16 home countries, including publicly-listed, state-owned and private companies. These companies operate more than 700 sites in over 40 producing countries, and the assessment covers most mined commodities, excluding oil and gas. The Index focuses largely on company-wide behaviour, while also looking at site-level actions at 127 mine sites, in order to provide a snapshot of information disaggregated to the level of individual mining operations.

RMI Analytical Framwork

The RMI assessment is based on publicly available information on these companies and mine sites. As an evidence-based assessment, the Index measures the extent to which companies can demonstrate, rather than simply claim, that they have established responsible policies and practices.

Findings in context

Over recent decades, many large-scale mining companies have shown significant improvements in how they manage EESG issues, as evidenced by the introduction of innovative practices and the engagement with partners and multi-stakeholder initiatives on responsible mining. Yet the RMI results indicate that it is still hard to find evidence of systematic, effective action at any one company on the range of topics that society can reasonably expect companies to address.

Although the individual company results indicate that much more can be achieved, the positive message is that it can be done. The RMI 2018 results show that if one company were to attain all the highest scores achieved for every indicator, it would reach over 70% of the maximum achievable score. This implies that existing best practice, if systematically applied by all companies, could already go some way to meeting society expectations.

Many companies have demonstrated that they are establishing responsible policies and practices on particular issues. The fact that 19 of the 30 assessed companies show up at least once among the stronger performers in RMI’s different thematic areas, also indicates that performance does not necessarily depend on company size, commodity focus, or geographic location.

RMI commends the thoughtful and innovative approaches to leading practice, and the efforts of many companies to address the range of economic, environmental, social and governance issues covered in this report.

The intention is that this report will provide learning and inspiration for more companies to follow responsible practice, and encourage the companies in the 2018 Responsible Mining Index to maintain their efforts on continuous improvement.

Photograph: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg/Getty Images