Mining and Metals Sector
The Mining and Metals sector includes exploration, mining and primary metal processing (including smelting, recycling and basic fabrication) and covers the complete project life cycle from development through operational lifetime to closure and post-closure. The sector is diverse and can contain companies that specialize exclusively in one part of the cycle, such as exploration companies, as well as large multi-national or vertically-integrated enterprises.
The main sustainability issue facing the mining industry is that of declining ore grades which implies that, over time, more mineral ore needs to be extracted and processed in order to produce the same amount of metal. This is likely to exacerbate many of the environmental and social issues facing the mining & metals industry going forward. Prominent environmental issues include mineral waste management as well as the management of key inputs such as energy and water. Social issues mainly center on occupational health & safety as well as general labor conditions. Issues such as land rights, population relocations, use of private security forces to protect mining assets, and mine closures also remain controversial. Finally, and similarly to other extractive industries, the mining space is particularly susceptible to corruption, bribery, and other breaches of codes of conduct.