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Mining Industry and IUCN – The World Conservation Union Announce Partnership on Mining and Biodiversity

JOHANNESBURG, 31 August 2002 (ICMM/IUCN) – The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the global voice of the industry, and IUCN – The World Conservation Union today launch a partnership to work together on mining and biodiversity.

“ICMM is committed to working with IUCN and others in developing best practice principles and reporting criteria on which to measure progress in implementation”, said Sir Robert Wilson, incoming Chairman of ICMM and Chairman of Rio Tinto.

“The resolution of the long standing conflict between mining and conservation needs new approaches and efforts need to be made from both sides. Our work with ICMM offers a platform for communities, corporations, NGOs and governments to engage in a significant process of dialogue that seeks to find the best balance between invaluable ecosystems and biodiversity and the social and economic importance of mining”, says Achim Steiner, Director General of IUCN – The World Conservation Union.

ICMM members represent a substantial proportion of world mineral production and include 22 of the world’s leading mining and metal producing companies and 25 industry associations world-wide.

IUCN is the world’s largest environmental knowledge network. As a Union, it brings together members from 140 countries, including over 70 States, 107 government agencies and some 750 plus NGOs.

Preliminary agreed areas of work are the development of informed transparent, inclusive and equitable decision-making processes that integrate biodiversity conservation and mining into broader land use management strategies. The partnership also seeks to address specific issues such as “no-go” areas, existing systems of protected areas, industry performance and especially its contribution to biodiversity conservation.

ICMM believes that there is a sound business case for this partnership. It helps to identify and manage risks, maximises opportunities for growth, enhances relationships with the conservation community and other constituencies and creates long-term business value in a responsible manner.

“We believe that best practice guidelines not only contribute to biodiversity conservation, but also improve the performance of the mining and metals industry”, said Sir Robert.

The partnership initiative follows the commitment made by the ICMM Council after the Global Mining Initiative policy conference held last May in Toronto. The ICMM Toronto Declaration outlined several priority areas for follow-up including the need to work in partnership with IUCN and others, in order to resolve the questions associated with biodiversity, protected areas and mining.

Issues related to mining and biodiversity were assessed in the independent stakeholder-based report of the Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) Project, which was recently published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). IUCN and ICMM have agreed to use the recommendations of the MMSD report as a basis for moving forward.

IUCN and ICMM are committed to extending the partnership to other organizations that can make a contribution and to work with them to further defining the work programme.


Press briefing:

Sir Robert Wilson, incoming Chairman of ICMM and Chairman of Rio Tinto.
Achim Steiner, Director General of IUCN – The World Conservation Union.
Anita Roper, Deputy Secretary General, International Council on Mining and Minerals

1700 Sunday 1 September

IUCN Environment Centre Press Room

NEDCOR Bank Headquarters

135 Rivonia Road Sandton Johannesburg

For more information, please contact:

At IUCN: Achim Steiner, Director General or Jeffrey McNeely, Chief Scientist Tel: +27 (0) 82 858 1427; E-mail:

At ICMM: Anita Roper, Deputy Secretary General, Tel: +27 (0) 83 3296 2273; E-mail:

At Rio Tinto: Andrew Vickerman, Head, External Affairs, Tel: +44 77 11 87 96 14