Mining industry must improve human rights, environment protection – index – by Isabelle Gerretsen (Reuters U.S. – April 11, 2018)

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The world’s biggest mining companies must improve their human rights record and step up efforts to curb environmental damage, the Responsible Mining Foundation said in its first review of global mining practices.

The Responsible Mining Index, launched in Geneva on Wednesday, assesses the policies and practices of 30 large companies that produce 25 percent of mined commodities, from gold to copper and coal, operating in more than 40 countries.

Many have established good policies on some issues such as tackling corruption and limiting planet-warming emissions, a report on the index said. But most have taken little action in other areas, including monitoring how mining affects children and protecting female workers from harassment and sexual exploitation, it added.

Hélène Piaget, CEO of the Responsible Mining Foundation, said the results showed many companies had introduced responsible mining policies but these were not always “translated into effective actions”.

The report said responsible mining was “a realistic goal”. But the adverse consequences of mining minerals and metals, such as high worker fatalities, prevent many companies from achieving the standards society expects from the industry, it added.

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