Responsible mining is a growing movement and is rapidly gaining momentum as more and more mining companies, investors, and consumers become aware of the negative impacts of irresponsible mining. Many irresponsible mining practices, such as the deep drilling that comes from prospecting, exploration, and mine exploration, result in irreversible environmental damage. Unfortunately, due to the lack of local and national regulatory frameworks, the effects from these practices often go unnoticed until it’s too late. Responsible gold involves conscious decisions that consider all stakeholders involved. It is an ongoing process with continuous stakeholder engagement that leads to responsible outcomes.
Stakeholder engagement is the first and most important step towards responsible mining. It is important to recognize that every person, community, and stakeholder involved has different needs and expectations. This means that every stakeholder should be engaged in the process and involved in decision making. Stakeholders include companies, communities, investors, NGOs, and the government, there may be others as well depending on the project. Stakeholder engagement consists of three steps. First, an assessment of stakeholders and their needs and expectations. Second, an action plan. Third, implementation of the plan. This can be implemented through formal and informal channels.
Transparency means being open and honest with all stakeholders. It means providing information in a timely manner and responding to questions and concerns in a clear and timely way. It also means providing public disclosure through websites and annual reports. Stakeholders should be given enough information and time to review and comment on key documents such as the Environmental and Social (E&S) Plans. Transparency is one of the most powerful tools to win and retain trust. It is also the most effective way to deal with conflict by addressing and resolving issues upfront.
Responsible mining is not only about preventing harm but also about creating value. It is about doing the right thing for the right reasons. It is about being ethical. Mining is a powerful and enriching industry that can leave a lasting positive impact on communities and the environment. However, it can also be destructive. Mining can be a destructive force when it is done by irresponsible companies that adopt short-term and myopic approaches to decision making. These companies only consider their own financial costs and benefits. These companies leave behind a destructive legacy that harms the environment, communities, investors, and the reputation of the whole industry.
The mining industry is at a crucial crossroads. It has to decide if it wants to continue being an industry that is socially and environmentally destructive or if it wants to become an industry that contributes to society. There are many examples of irresponsible mining practices that result in irreversible environmental damage. However, there are also many examples of responsible mining practices that result in long-term sustainable benefits for communities and the environment. If the mining industry wants to get back its good name and regain trust, it has to put in place responsible mining practices. It is time for the mining industry to make the switch from extraction to adding value.