Miners call for World Heritage Sites to be left untouched by all – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – September 5, 2016)


LONDON – The world’s biggest mining companies called on Monday for action to stop any firms, including the oil and gas industry, extracting resources from natural sites protected by the United Nations.

In 2003, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), which groups 23 firms including BHP Billiton, Rio, Anglo American and Glencore, agreed to halt mining in World Heritage Sites as part of a remit to make mining more sustainable.

“Yet 13 years later, other companies and industries are still operating in these precious sites,” ICMM CEO Tom Butler told the Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Hawaii. “The ecosystems that underpin our economies, well-being and survival are collapsing,” he wrote in a blog. “The message is clear: we need urgent and collaborative action.”

Royal Dutch Shell was the only oil and gas firm to join the ICMM in 2003 in making heritage sites “a no go area” and on Monday it reaffirmed its pledge. French oil firm Total and Tullow Oil have also made a commitment.

But other big oil companies have not followed suit and the ICMM, whose members are responsible for about a third of global metal production, have also failed to recruit the rest of their industry to pledge to respect U.N. protected sites.

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