Business and Biodiversity

International Council on Mining and Metals

IUCN and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) have been working together on mining, biodiversity and related issues since 2001. The relationship was first formalised in 2003.

Outcomes of the collaboration to date include a Biodiversity performance review released in November 2014; and, the development of the ICMM Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity.  

The partnership has also examined the challenges of dealing with legacy mines, and free prior informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities in potential mining areas.

As a result, ICMM members have committed to work with IUCN and other groups to:

  • Strengthen the IUCN system of protected area categorization;
  • Develop decision-making processes and tools that better integrate biodiversity conservation, protected areas and mining into land-use planning and management strategies; and,
  • Apply best practices to enhance the industry’s contribution to biodiversity conservation, including in and around protected areas.

In 2017, the two organisations renewed their collaboration through a five-year Memorandum of Understanding. Building on previous work, specific projects under the MoU are carried out through Supplemental Agreements negotiated between the two parties.


ICMM: A mandate for sustainable development
ICMM is an industry group that specifically works to improve sustainable development performance in the mining and metals industry. Established in 2001, the organization currently represents 27 mining and metals companies as well as more than 30 regional and commodity associations.

All members are required to implement the ICMM Sustainable Development Framework, which includes a commitment to “contribute to conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use planning,” as well as various ICMM positions, including on protected areas, climate change and indigenous peoples. The ICMM Position Statement on Mining and Protected Areas includes a commitment not to mine or explore in World Heritage Sites and to work with IUCN and others on various protected areas and biodiversity issues.

ICMM emerged from the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) project, a multi-stakeholder research initiative established in 2000, following criticism of industrial mining operations from environmental and social groups in the 1990s.

Extractive industries: an IUCN priority
As a large-footprint and resource-intensive industry, the extractive industry is one of IUCN’s priorities for business engagement. Engaging with the extractive industry is also central to IUCN’s work to promote a green economy and sustainable development.

ICMM is a valuable partner for IUCN’s efforts to influence the industry. Not only does ICMM have a mandate to advance sustainable development, but it represents the world’s leading companies in the mining and metals industry. Furthermore, the organisation has a policy of engaging with a diverse group of stakeholders for its sustainable development work.


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