Mining Forum Takes Stock of Covid-19 Effects on Gender Equality, Climate Action

Speakers at the annual general meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development discussed the challenges that faced the mining sector during the virtual event. They also discussed opportunities that would facilitate the transition into a mining sector that was more sustainable and how to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Participants of the forum addressed coronavirus-related loss of employment in the mining community as a result of reduced worker mobility and border closures, as well as safety and health concerns and the increase in food insecurity and poverty. The discussions also covered technological innovation, resource taxation, climate action, artisanal and small-scale mining, gender equality and community resilience.

The main challenges facing the mining sector included:

i.   Adoption of tools and approaches for gender-impact assessments. This would help to better understand the potential effect of mining projects in reducing the existing gender-inequality patterns as well as the projects’ effects on indigenous peoples’ territories and ethnic minorities.

ii.  Reducing carbon emissions in mining.

iii. Developing policies for mine closure.

iv. Using digital technology to replace physical labor and equipping workers with relevant skills in remote equipment operation, automation and robotics.

v.  Improving domestic revenue collection through tax reforms. This would include measures to reduce profit shifting and tax base erosion and advocate for greater transparency in the pricing of minerals.

vi. Maintaining the social license of mining firms to enable them to operate through trust building and accountability.

Forum participants were also introduced to the global campaign, Race to Zero, which strives to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through generating leadership and support.

Representatives of the forum presented recommendations on how to improve legal frameworks for management and ESIA (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment). These recommendations sum up the best international practices in this field.

In addition to this, participants also discussed measures to execute the August 2020 Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. The AGM was a three-day event , with more than 1,800 registered participants from 110 countries globally.

The Intergovernmental Forum, which boasts 76 government members, is the product of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002). The summit adopted the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, which demanded that the health, economic, environmental and social impacts as well as benefits of mining metals and minerals throughout their life cycle be addressed. The declaration, which focuses on global conditions that pose serious threats to sustainable development, also highlighted worker safety and health issues and promoted accountability and transparency for sustainable mining.

Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE: American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) is one interesting company to watch in the mining sector. The company  focuses on producing uranium and vanadium, both of which carry the “critical minerals” designation by the U.S. federal government. The company holds the distinction of being the largest uranium producer across the country.

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