Mining and Society

Mining activity influences the development of economies and has become essential for almost every business sector, contributing significantly to the GDP of many countries. As the global population increases and living standards rise, demand for mining products continues to grow, while the imperative for sustainability remains.

Although mining activities can contribute significantly to the GDP of many resource- rich countries, this mineral wealth often fails to effectively translate into broader economic development or tangible benefits for producing country populations who often continue to live in poverty. Host communities tend to bear the brunt of the environmental degradation and social and economic disruption caused by mining operations. Host communities are also at risk from human rights abuses, corruption and conflict, particularly when mining operations are in remote impoverished areas and where governance is weak.

Globally, the mining industry is paying increasing attention to these issues.
Growing numbers of companies are engaging with the various industry-led and multi-stakeholder initiatives on responsible mining that have emerged in recent years. Some companies have noticeably improved their social, environmental and governance practices, and are starting to track the outcomes of their efforts to global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals. Producing country governments, for their part, have more access to the tools that allow them to leverage mining to foster long-term economic development and intergenerational equity. However, there is also recognition that the mining industry as a collective can do more as a major actor in, and a significant beneficiary of, the exploitation of these non-renewable resources.

The Responsible Mining Index will assess company performance against what society expects from mining companies on economic, environmental, social and governance issues, based on a range of internationally agreed practices and principles.