ABOUT RESPONSIBLE RAW MATERIALS
Population growth, coupled with our evolving needs and desires for new technology – including that powering the green economy – mean that society is going to continue using non-renewable natural resources for centuries to come. Although a circular economy is often cited as the preferential situation, it is currently leaky and needs feeding in the first instance. A transition to sustainable energy also requires more - and more obscure - elements than have been used before, giving rise to the term 'critical metals'.
Extraction of raw materials through activities such as mining is therefore crucial to human survival and the green transition. Moving past the negative perception of mining, which is already acknowledged as an industry challenge, the real question is now “how to do it with maximum benefit and minimum impact?”.
While mining activities have been undertaken and honed for thousands of years, there is still much more we can do to ensure that we mine in the most responsible manner possible, across the value chain from artisanal diggings to large-scale industrial mines. In order for mining to become truly responsible, it needs long term commitment, support and leadership from all stakeholders inclusive of mining companies, investors and regulators. To date, this has proven difficult, in part due to differing opinions on how responsibility might be interpreted, measured, and rewarded.
Attempts to reconcile initiatives have been welcomed, but so far frameworks have not always provided enough practical change in operations and footprint. By providing the means for different stakeholders to contribute to a conversation, we aim to produce a repository of up-to-date information that can be tapped, so that it is possible to develop a streamlined, industry-accepted notion, with specific criteria and quantification methodology.