The International Council on Mining and Metals 1 was established in 2001 to address the core sustainable development challenges faced by the mining and metals industry. As of April 2021, it brings together over 35 national, regional and global mining associations and 28 mining and metal companies including: Anglo-American, AngloGold Ashanti, Barrick, BHPbilliton, Glencore Minerals Mitsubishi Materials, Newmont and Rio Tinto. 2
What rights are protected?
Membership of ICMM requires a commitment to implement the ICMM Sustainable Development Framework, which was developed following a two-year consultation process with various stakeholders. 3 It is mandatory for ICMM corporate members to:
- Implement the 10 ICMM’s Mining Principles 4 throughout the business, one of which is to “Respect human rights and the interests, cultures, customs and values of employees and communities affected by our activities”. They must also integrate eight supporting position statements into corporate policy. 5
- Report annually in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards (minimum Core option). 6
- Provide independent third-party assurance that ICMM commitments are met, in line with the ICMM Assurance Procedure, which was agreed upon in May 2008. 7
ICMM conducts an annual assessment of the progress that each member company is making against these performance commitments. The resulting annual member performance assessment is published in ICMM’s Annual Review.
ICMM has also published different guides for its members, including on responsible sourcing, indigenous peoples and mining.
Who can file a complaint?
Any person who believes that a company is in breach of their ICMM membership commitments at the operational level and wishes to make a complaint may do so. 8
Under what conditions?
ICMM has developed a complaint hearing procedure to hear “complaints that a company member is in breach of a membership standard or requirement or any other allegation that a member company has engaged in inappropriate behaviour.” The membership standards or requirements are “ICMM’s public reporting and assurance requirements, plus formally adopted position statements that bind company members to specified procedures or actions” (see links below). “’Inappropriate behaviour’ is any activity by a member company that could, in the Council’s considered opinion, adversely affect ICMM’s standing and credibility, taking into account ICMM’s mandate as a leadership organisation committed to fostering good practices in sustainable development.” 9
If a company consistently fails to meet the requirements of membership, the ICMM Council of CeOs would review the membership status of the company concerned. The Council has the power to suspend or expel a member company as appropriate with the support of a 75% majority of Council members.
Process and Outcome 10
All complaints must be in writing. Upon receiving a complaint, ICMM acknowledges the complaint and forwards it to the company concerned. The company is responsible for resolving the complaint, but ICMM is kept informed throughout the process by copies of relevant correspondence. If the case is resolved through interaction between the company and the complainant, the company notifies ICMM of the resolution, and ICMM writes to the complainant for confirmation. If the case cannot be resolved through interaction between the company and the complainant, ICMM is responsible for dealing with the complaint only if the “Council decides that an investigation of the complaint is appropriate and in ICMM’s interests. There is no automatic obligation to investigate all complaints received.” Upon receiving the complaint, the President contacts the complainant and the company concerned to request additional details. ICMM only considers complaints when there is sufficient information “to establish, prima facie, that a breach of an ICMM standard could have occurred.”
At this stage, the President 11 prepares a report which is transmitted to the affected company member for comment.
- The President considers any response from the member and prepares a report for the Council’s Administration Committee. A copy of this report is provided to the affected member.
- The Administration Committee considers the report and determines the appropriate response. Where the Committee believes that the issue should be resolved by a full explanation of the circumstances to the complainant, the President discusses the issue with the complainant and then provides a written response to the complainant and the affected member.
- Where the Administration Committee considers that a serious breach of standard may have occurred, a report is prepared by the President for the Council.
- The Council then considers the report and any representations by the affected member, determines the appropriate response, and the President informs the complainant and member of this in writing. If it is determined that a breach has occurred, “the Council will decide what sanction or condition (if any) would be appropriate in the circumstances.” In doing so, the “Council will take into account Section 12.1.2 of ICMM’s Bylaws which allow members to request a meeting of the Council to consider any proposed suspension or termination of a member.” In all cases, the Council is informed of the complaints and how they have been resolved.
There is no information online as to whether complaints have been filed by ICMM and about their outcome.