The IGF held its 17th annual general meeting with a focus on “mining for a responsible and inclusive future”.
The mining sector is being called on to supply a growing amount metals and minerals to enable the clean energy transition, while continuing to assess and manage the environmental and social impacts of mining.
The IGF launched a tool for countries on environmental and social impact assessments.
The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) held its 17th annual general meeting, with a focus on “mining for a responsible and inclusive future.” During the meeting the IGF launched a tool for countries on environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs), adding to its earlier guidance for government on improving legal frameworks for ESIAs.
The IGF was an outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. It currently has 79 member countries. The AGM took place virtually from 19-20 October 2021, with over 1,500 registered participants from more than 90 countries.
As context for the meeting, the clean energy transition requires a growing supply of minerals and metals, with production of graphite, lithium, cobalt and other minerals projected to increase by nearly 500% by 2050, in addition to the three billion tons of minerals and metals needed to meet the growing demands for wind, solar, and geothermal power. The mining sector is being called on to supply these metals and minerals while continuing to assess and manage the environmental and social impacts of mining, amid increasing investor pressure for environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements.
Thus, the industry is working to reposition itself to “supply these critical minerals, while ensuring they are extracted and traded in a responsible manner,” as explained by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
The 17th AGM considered issues relating to governance of the sector, including critical minerals, environmental management, ESIAs, artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), community engagement, gender equality, local content, partnerships, taxation, and new technologies.
One session depicted a future of mining in which:
- companies’ objectives align with the objectives and aspirations of host governments and communities;
- the materials and minerals crucial for humanity to achieve the necessary energy transition are responsibly and inclusively produced; and
- host communities benefit rather than suffer.
The IGF’s Mining ESIA Tool (MET), launched during the AGM, will analyze countries’ environmental and social legal frameworks, practices, and institutional capacity in relation to ESIAs for the mining industry. [ENB meeting coverage]