IRMA can also be the one mine-site customary that requires neighborhood engagement in all steps of the method, which the corporate stated is a facet of focus. The IRMA customary has essentially the most sturdy standards associated to ‘honest labour and phrases of labor, occupational well being and security, and neighborhood well being and security.’
By starting a publicly-noticed unbiased third occasion audit, SQM can take part as a Member within the Initiative for Accountable Mining Assurance (IRMA) scheme. An audit report will even be shared publicly upon completion, permitting reviewers to grasp each strengths and challenges on the operation, and can information enhancements, the corporate stated.
In the summertime of 2021, Indigenous communities dwelling round Chile’s Atacama salt flat asked authorities to suspend SQM’s operating permits or sharply cut back its operations till it submits an environmental compliance plan acceptable to regulators.
Chile’s SMA environmental regulator in 2016 charged SQM with overdrawing lithium-rich brine from the Salar de Atacama salt flat, prompting the corporate to develop a $25 million plan to carry its operations again into compliance.
This membership is a part of the corporate’s technique of working to a excessive customary of transparency and public accountability in its company targets on environmental issues, sustainable operations, and social accountability, it stated.
Late final 12 months, SQM additionally introduced it’s taking part within the UN’s Race To Zero program, and trialling Chile’s first high-tonnage electrical truck for use in low-emission mining operations.
“This can be a step ahead for SQM in our ongoing efforts to proceed to steer the trade by way of sustainability commitments and public reportability of our ESG targets,” SQM’s CEO Ricardo Ramos stated in a launch.
“SQM’s IRMA membership represents the most recent improvement in a slew of inexperienced initiatives, however we aren’t stopping right here. Our intention is to realize the IRMA Transparency Degree by 2022 and IRMA 50 by 2025 and we’re firmly optimistic that we are able to make the modifications mandatory to fulfill these fastidiously thought of targets,” Ramos stated.
“That is an thrilling time for SQM as we proceed to discover modern methods to make our lithium manufacturing extra environmentally pleasant whereas listening and supporting our native communities.”
(With information from Reuters)