Environmental concerns biggest for mining industry

Paul Boughton
Environmental concerns (40 per cent) closely followed by social concerns (28 per cent) continue to be the top sustainable development issues for the mining and metals industry agenda, according to a recent global survey.

The 2010 Stakeholders’ Views of Mining and Sustainable Development survey (following previous surveys in 2004 and 2007) was conducted by GlobeScan on behalf of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) between August and September 2010. Over 800 respondents in 80 countries drawn from the private sector, public sector, institutions, academia, non-governmental organizations and the media participated in the survey.

Also receiving top mention are other non-financial issues including governance and regulation matters (27 per cent), water usage (17 per cent), and resource access/management (16 per cent). These opinions were commonly expressed across survey respondents.

As in 2007, respondents expect environmental and social concerns will continue to be important for the industry to address. Financial concerns (13 per cent) are considered less serious than environmental and social issues. Meeting market demands is no longer a top mention, as it was in 2007.

The survey also suggests ICMM is having a major impact encouraging advances in sustainable development amongst its global members and broader industry. In particular, a strong majority of respondents (92 per cent) believe ICMM is helping raise industry standards.

"ICMM is regarded unusually highly in terms of effectiveness and influence in raising the standards and performance of both its members and its industry," says Rob Kerr, Vice President of GlobeScan.

ICMM President Anthony Hodge says: “The results of the survey are encouraging. We often hear suggestions that the mining and metals industry falls short when it comes to sustainable development and responsible business practices, but the survey suggests that the work we are doing with our member companies to improve sustainable development performance is being recognized.”

“However, this does not mean we should be complacent – people are rightly telling us to reinforce our efforts to promote transparency, respect the values of surrounding communities and enhance the contribution of mining and metals to people and the environment.”

For more information, www.icmm.com

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