Setting the tone during the opening of the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Interim Co-President and Co-CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), noted that critical minerals are the backbone of the clean energy transition. She urged mining countries seeking to tap the booming demand for these minerals to take “immediate and bold action” to ensure they expand their share of benefits while doing so in an equitable and environmentally and socially responsible manner.
Pedro Manuel Moreno, Deputy Secretary-General, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), said mineral exporting countries seeking to increase their benefit share from mining critical minerals need to build local refining and downstream processing capacity.
Maureen Coulas, Chair, Executive Committee, IGF, highlighted Canada’s new critical minerals policy, and announced Canada’s contribution of CAD 5.4 million to support the IGF Secretariat.
Opening keynotes discussed the findings and recommendations of recent studies on benefit sharing and transparency in the energy transition. Mark Robinson, Executive Director, Extraction Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), discussed EITI-sponsored studies of how critical minerals mining affects local communities. He also outlined how the 2023 EITI standard update addressed these concerns.
Iain Steel, Econias, discussed a study on the economic implications of the energy transition on government revenue. He suggested measures to maximize, including implementing, a modern fiscal regime, increasing investment attractiveness, improving geological understanding, and developing an enabling environment with a focus on environmental and social governance (ESG).
During a session on bridging the supply gap, K.C. Michaels, International Energy Agency (IEA), shared insights based on the IEA's Critical Minerals Market Review 2023. He discussed challenges in diversification and mixed progress on ESG issues, emphasizing the sector’s continued high level of water withdrawals and emission intensity. Agus Cahyono Adi, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia, elaborated on his country’s plans to develop complex industrial ecosystems including raw materials’ extraction, processing, and battery manufacturing. Marit Kitaw, Interim Director, African Minerals Development Centre, presented the African Mining Vision and the African Green Minerals Strategy. Mark Richards, Rio Tinto, said multifaceted and coordinated solutions were needed, including recycling to mine criterial minerals from waste.
Another session examined ways to strengthen mining engagement on social issues, including gender equality and human rights. Martin Rafael González Hernández, General Director of Mining Development, Mexico, discussed how new mining regulation in his country sets up a system of free, prior, informed, culturally adequate, and good faith consultation with Indigenous Peoples and Afro-Mexican communities. Ashleigh Maritz, Ivanhoe Mines, discussed her firm’s “skills pipeline approach” to developing a multigenerational mine. Yunusa H. Mohammed, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Nigeria, discussed his country’s efforts at social engagement in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and to address gender issues in mining.
The day’s final session examined case studies that show best practices in stakeholder engagement and community benefit sharing. Lisl Pullinger, Managing Director, Vivid Advisory, discussed lessons learned from three projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Peru, and South Africa with respect to sharing by mines of digital technology infrastructure with the local community. Rob Stevens, IGF Secretariat, shared details of the inclusive closure and post-mining transition at the Golden Pride Mine in Tanzania. Ben Chalmers, Senior Vice President, Mining Association of Canada, introduced the “TSM”, a global responsible mining standard, which has significantly improved stakeholder engagement. Wendy White, Vale Base Metals, discussed Vale's application of impact and benefits agreements at its mine at Voisey’s Bay, Canada.
During the lunch hour, an event hosted by the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), discussed the role of ASM in the energy transition.