Enhancing Access to Information, Community Engagement, and Environmental and Social Performance in the Andean Region through IRMA
As the international community increases action on climate to meet targets under the Paris Agreement, there is focus on multiple levels to speed up the transition to low-carbon energy production. This transition is increasing pressure for industrial scale mining to produce materials used in batteries, wind turbines, solar panels, transportation, and other low-carbon energy technologies.
Mining of these materials impacts communities, workers, and the environment on a vast scale that is felt across regions in the Andes. There is increasing recognition that the transition to a green economy must include addressing social, environmental and governance impacts where raw materials are sourced. These can be enabled by timely public access to information about performance at the mine site level, made available in user-friendly formats.
In 2020, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) with the support of the MinSus project of the German Development Cooperation and the advice of CooperAcción came together to: 1) review the level of access to information on environmental and social impacts mining sector in Peru, 2) collect information requests from communities impacted by mining in two mining regions of the country. In addition, IRMA and MinSus evaluated 3) how the IRMA voluntary sustainability standard could help fill identified gaps in access to information. Although this project has focused on a specific region of Peru, the results serve to further understand how IRMA can better inform local stakeholders about the footprint of impacts of mining projects in their territories.
This collaboration has produced multiple outputs, including:
Summary Report: Lessons Learned in English and Spanish – This report summarizes lessons learned from the IRMA, CooperAcción, and MinSus collaboration. It presents an overview of research on access to information on the mining sector in Peru, perspectives of local leaders in Espinar and Cotabambas regarding access to environmental and social information on the mining sector, and how IRMA can be used to fill gaps in access to information and improve environmental and social performance of mine sites in the Andean Region.
Infographic: Linking information requests to the IRMA Standard in Spanish – This infographic summarizes the information requests by mining-impacted community leaders in Cotabambas and Espinar regions, and highlights the relevant sections within the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining that are relevant to address the requests.
Report: Transparency of the mining sector in Peru in Spanish – This report focuses on the level of transparency of information regarding governance of the mining sector in Peru. It summarizes an in-depth review of information available on web portals of mining companies, state agencies, civil society organizations, and others, as well as interviews with professionals in the industry and government.
Webinar: Experiences Implementing the IRMA Standard in Latin America in Spanish– This November 30, 2021 webinar shares perspectives of civil society groups, mining companies, and buyers implementing the IRMA Standard.
Community Toolkit – The project launched a series of materials, designed for community-based organizations and leaders of mining-impacted communities on the following topics:
The “What is IRMA?” module is useful for community stakeholders across the Andean Region and others who want to engage and use IRMA. The “FPIC” module provides a simple outline of the FPIC requirements in IRMA. The “How to File a Complaint Related to IRMA” module is important so that rights holders and the broader public are aware of how to leave a comment or submit a complaint to IRMA. It also outlines IRMA’s process for responding to and resolving issues in a clear, objective, and timely manner. Additional resources that may be useful for communities can be accessed here.
We sincerely hope that these outputs are helpful to advance the agenda in providing mining-impacted stakeholders in Peru and elsewhere with timely and useful information about the mine site in their vicinity, in order to enable informed participation in decision making and monitoring of relevant indicators that impact their lives and environments. Please contribute to improve our understanding of the data and information needs of stakeholders in the mining sector by taking part in the below survey. The results will inform the continuous improvement of the requirements of the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining, including a review and revision process launched in 2022.