In April we reported the creation of the ‘Responsible Mining index’, an initiative sponsored by the Netherlands government. Its formal public launch has now taken place, on 4 July at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hague. The speaker from ‘the producing countries’ was a Peruvian, Ricardo Labo Fossa, former Deputy Minister of Mining in Peru.

As we described earlier, the index covers thirty of the largest mining companies using six performance criteria. The outstanding performance of Anglo American, in the first three in all six categories and top in three, is encouraging news given the importance of the pending negotiations over the Quellaveco project in Moquegua.

However, rankings are only that, no more, and it is important to note that the report signals serious and perceptively identified criticisms. In particular, there is very little site-level data available. One third of the companies provide no evidence of performance reporting on local employment, local procurement, grievances, water use or bio-diversity impact. “In the absence of publicly reported data, it is more difficult for companies and local shareholders to develop trust-based relations or engage in constructive discourse on issues of shared interest.” (p13).

And very tellingly, p12: “The widespread existence of commitments on human rights is at odds with the fact that violations of human rights are among the ten most common types of severe impacts identified in the RMI research.”