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  • Responsible Raw Materials

7th Meggen Raw material days presentation

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

On 15th - 17th September, the 7th Meggen Raw material days are taking place, both in person and online!

The agenda can be downloaded here.

As part of the event, Responsible Raw Materials are excited to be presenting

'Responsible mining: what, why, when, who, where, how?'

The abstract and slide deck can be found below!


Society’s scrutiny regarding the provenance of our raw materials continues to grow, and quite rightly so. It is becoming increasingly important for mining companies to show that they are responsible, and a host of frameworks and initiatives are being produced to facilitate this. This can create confusion, contributing to differing opinions on what

responsibility actually means, whether it can be measured, and how it should be rewarded.

What is mining? While the activity of mining only pertains to the extraction of rock from the ground, the industry includes activities spanning exploration, extraction, processing, transportation, closure of operations, management post-closure, input to the design of new technologies given access to various materials that may be used, stock-checking of commodities already in circulation, and recycling of material. Mining is therefore far more than a hole in the ground [1].

Why is responsible mining important? Mining is essential to achieving any of the sustainable development goals [2]. The provision of raw materials critical to e.g. wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, or electric vehicles, requires a massive increase in mining activity. The sector needs to ensure that its historic, current, and future mining endeavours are conducted in the most responsible and sustainable way possible to avoid problem-shifting. The cure needs to be more sustainable than the problem.

When? Now! However, we also need to clean up where we have left hazardous situations in the past. Countless mines that have been abandoned for many years continue to release acidic water and leach toxic metals into our ecosystems, and many tailings dams constructed poorly decades ago continue to pose a threat. We need to remediate as well as design newer mines responsibly.

Who? Everyone. This is not just something for the mining sector to tackle. Numerous stakeholders need to step up to ensure we can make responsible mining a reality [3], including investors, insurers, policy makers, community members, NGOs, academics, and innovators, as well as the mining companies themselves.

Where? Globally, across all of mining, including those aspects outside of the physical digging of the rock out of the ground.

How? Many tools and approaches exist to help us ensure that responsible mining becomes a reality (many of which were showcased at Responsible Raw Materials conference, May 2021, and are illustrated in Figure 1). Unfortunately, at present, few are utilised as extensively as they could or should be. We need to employ these techniques and work together as a cohesive whole to address the full picture of responsible mining.

Whilst many mining organisations have operated incredibly responsibly in the past, unfortunately, others have not, and the effects of this have been catastrophic. Moving forwards, we need to ensure we all respect the material we remove from the ground, as well as the environment in which it comes from and the communities nearby, and view ourselves as short term stewards of that land.

[1] Satarla (2019) Introduction to mining factsheet,

[2] Carvalho, F. P. (2017) ‘Mining Industry and sustainable development: time for change’, Food and Energy Security, 6 (2)

[3] The Geological Society, (2019), Responsible Investing in Natural Resources

Fig 1. Infographic displaying stakeholders and Environment, Social and Governance tools that can be used to make responsible mining a reality. ©2021 Responsible Raw Materials.


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