Mining with principles to address a health and social crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time, with governments and health services racing to slow the spread of the virus. Societies across the world are facing restrictions and we are seeing immeasurable pressure being placed on the global economy. Everyday, people are losing loved ones, their jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality may return.
ICMM’s company members recognise this and have responded quickly by putting measures in place to safeguard and support workers and host communities. To illustrate this support and the resources delivered by members to date, ICMM has published a briefing COVID-19: ICMM member response. Alongside examining the multitude of member responses, the report demonstrates why the industry is best placed to support nations, communities and supply chains as they persevere and then start to rebuild.
Essentiality and responsibility
Like many other industries, the mining sector and individual jurisdictions have been grappling with the question of essentiality – should mines remain open during this time of crisis? Beyond supplying the metals and minerals we all rely on for modern life, the industry is vital for the economic health of resource rich and resource dependent countries. The important role the industry plays extends not only to wider economic growth but to catalysing social development through job creation and community programmes. Looking forward, the industry will also have an essential role to play in supplying the materials needed to support the shift to a low carbon economy.
However, members understand that while it is important to maintain fiscal resilience, this must not come at the cost of people’s lives and wellbeing. Our members are committed through our Mining Principles, position statements and organisational values to produce the metals and minerals needed for modern life responsibly. Guided by this, members have put the necessary measures in place to ensure the highest standards of sanitation and hygiene to protect their workers and local communities.
The role of the mining industry
The mining industry has been able to draw on its experiences of managing other health crisis – including outbreaks of Ebola, TB, and malaria – and is well placed to support local communities facing challenges relating to COVID-19. Many of our members have been present in communities for several years (if not decades) and have well established connections to those in the remotest of locations. These existing chains of engagement allow them to work with local NGOs and governments to quickly identify the most vulnerable in the community. Members are drawing on these networks to share knowledge and deliver solutions to a range of critical issues arising from COVID-19.
These historical foundations mean that mining companies are uniquely placed to help support and work with communities through such an unprecedented time of uncertainty. This will go far beyond the responses and support provided to date and will be key as companies start to look forward, at the best ways to support long-term economic recovery.
These considerations have informed both ICMM and our members approach to COVID-19, and this report helps to provide a detailed breakdown of members responses in action. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, and our members can, and want to be part of a long-term solution to build resilience and help accelerate social progress.
Source: ICMM – International Council on Mining and Metals, Briefing COVID-19: MINING WITH PRINCIPLES TO ADDRESS A HEALTH AND SOCIAL CRISIS