STORY INLINE POST
Q: Why is it important to have the IRMA certification and what is Minería Responsable Consultores’ role in this process?
A: We are aware of stories in which mineral extraction has harmed people or the environment. We believe that there must be assurance that no harm will come to people and the environment due to mining activities, nor will they lead to war, slavery or any other environmental damage issues.
Over the years, the industry has taken on greater social, environmental and labor responsibility to ensure the mineral supply chain is safe. Minería Responsable Consultores is a company that helps mining companies improve their processes and operations to achieve a great score on their IRMA certification. The need for this type of certification has grown so much that, today, 74 mining companies are engaged in the IRMA system in 29 countries.
Q: How does Minería Responsable Consultores promote the IRMA certification among mining operators in Mexico?
A: IRMA is a very extensive certification, with 26 chapters with 428 requirements. It is not easy to obtain but worth it since it addresses all the key issues, such as human rights, working conditions, transparency and environment.
Minería Responsable Consultores is a young company created in 2018 that wanted to support the industry in its transition to more responsible activities. We have grown so much that we now help SMEs and large companies to apply for a green industry certification, to file their MIA and to comply with CSR and ISO 14000, among other standards. We are very well prepared to help companies obtain their IRMA seal, as we were the consultants that helped translate the standard into a key language, which is Spanish. IRMA's goal and ours is to take these standards to another level throughout the mining chain. The legacy of mining must be positive, not negative.
Q: What is the process to obtain the IRMA certification and how can Minería Responsable Consultores help companies to streamline this process?
A: We help companies to see where they are positioned, according to the IRMA standard. Our work is divided into three phases: a self-assessment phase, an implementation phase and a final assessment. Typically, miners think they are going to score 100 on the first try. However, IRMA is a robust and demanding standard, so there is always room for improvement.
During the second phase of our work, we develop corrective measures so that, over time, companies can improve their performance and advance to the next phase. After the last stage, clients need to contact IRMA and pay a fee to receive IRMA auditors, a cost that depends on the size of the mine site and its impact. During the auditors' interviews and visits, they observe how the mine operates, its workers and their interaction with the communities. IRMA also contacts stakeholders to check whether the information provided by the company is accurate.
Q: How would you rate the sector in terms of gender equality?
A: All sectors, not just mining, need to improve in terms of gender equality. It is important to remember that women can be operators and also do the heavy lifting. I am seeing a change in the industry, which has always been dominated by men, as female participation grows. However, I do not see many women CEOs and directors, which means there is still an opportunity to improve.
IRMA directly addresses gender equity issues; it focuses on human rights and fair treatment for everyone and for communities above all. The standard approach toward women is that they are less likely than men to benefit from large-scale mining and more likely to experience its negative impacts. Minería Responsable Consultores also helps the sector to respect women's work and their health, which is an important aspect considering that, if done irresponsibly, mining can affect them, their livelihoods and their environment.
Q: What are Minería Responsable Consultores’ plans for the mid and long term?
A: Our goal is to attract more mines to the IRMA certification. Our job is to facilitate its implementation in all mining activities, except energy fuels, and to achieve the best possible qualification. Mexico has a high mining capacity and we are seeing a greater effort toward environmental and social responsibility. Even though not everything in mining can be recovered in the same way, our goal is to minimize the industry’s negative impact.
Minería Responsable Consultores is a Mexico-based consultancy firm specialized in sustainability issues. The firm is focused on helping companies obtain the IRMA certification, aimed at improving the environmental and social impact of mining activities.