HARARE – Shurugwi-based platinum mining operation, Unki Mine said on Wednesday an audit process for the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance’s (IRMA) standard for responsible mining announced four weeks ago will kick off in November.

Johannesburg listed resources outfit, Anglo American said on October 2 that its Zimbabwe based Unki had become the first operation worldwide to sign up for the standard.

Anglo is majority shareholder in Unki.

By appending its signature to be audited against the standard, Unki publicly committed to abide by the demands for responsible mining.

In a statement released in Harare on Wednesday, Unki called for public submission to IRMA lead auditors, Warrick Stewart before onsite evaluations commence.

“IRMA certification evaluates whether a mine operation is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial,” Unki said.

“Performance shall be evaluated against the IRMA standard…. SCS Global Services will be undertaking the independent evaluation and invites in-person or written comment…All submissions should be supported with objective evidence, whenever possible, and will be kept confidential upon request,” said Unki.

IRMA’s standard for responsible mining has been developed over ten years through a public consultation process with more than 100 different individuals and organisations, including mining companies.

Anglo said on October 2 an initial self-assessment had been completed by Unki ahead of the independent on-site audit.

It said Unki performed well against the 26 areas covered by the standard, including working conditions, human rights, community and stakeholder engagement, environmental impact, and planning and financing reclamation and closure.

“We have a longstanding commitment as a leader in responsible mining, with numerous examples of our progressive business decisions across many decades,” said Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American.

“We are pleased that Unki will be the first mine in the world to publicly commit to a third party audit to determine its performance against IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining. As our customers and end consumers who rely on our metals and minerals rightly expect the highest standards of ethical production, we will be putting all our managed mines through such rigorous certification processes by 202,” he said.

Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA commented: “While IRMA is a voluntary certification system meant to complement strong laws and government oversight, it is also the world’s first and only global definition of what constitutes leading practices in social and environmental responsibility for largescale mining operations developed through consultation with a range of stakeholders. It is the product of ten years of collaboration between our stakeholders that seeks to emulate for mining what has been done with certification programmes in fair-trade agriculture, responsible forestry and sustainable fisheries, as examples.  

“We are extremely pleased to see Anglo American’s Unki mine take the lead and begin the third-party certification process. We hope that this paves the way for others across the industry to make a similar commitment.”