MAC: Mines and Communities

Mining firms agree to observe world heritage sites

Published by MAC on 2001-05-01

Mining firms agree to observe world heritage sites

Press release from the ICMM, London

August 20 1993

London - Fifteen of the world's largest metal miners and producers have signed an agreement not to operate in world heritage sites like the Taj Mahal and Great Barrier Reef, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) said this week. Signatories to the agreement, which resulted from talks with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), pledged not to explore or mine at existing sites that carry United Nations World Heritage site status.

The World Heritage Convention is a U.N. initiative to protect natural and cultural heritage. There are 754 World Heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal in India and Egyptian Pyramids, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia and Yellowstone National Park in the United States.

The ICMM said in a statement its members recognised the role of properly designated and managed protected areas in conservation strategies and the importance of national and global protected area systems.

ICMM comprises Alcoa Inc BLT.L , Anglo American PLC AAL.L , AngloGold, BHP Billiton Ltd,

Freeport-McMoRan FTX.N , Mitsubishi Materials 5711.T , Newmont NEM.N , Nippon Mining & Metals, Noranda NRD.TO , Pasminco PAS.AX ,Placer Dome PDG.TO , Rio Tinto RIO.AX , Sumitomo Metal Mining 5713.T , Umicore and WMC Resources WMR.AX .

"The commitments made by ICMM establish important precedents, not only for the mining industry, but also other extractive industries," Lisa Cullimore, spokeswoman at Rio Tinto Ltd said.

Friends of the Earth International mining coordinator, Isaac Rojas said: "We welcome any move that takes mining pressure off such areas, however we still want to see a halt to all resource extraction, not only because of the effect on environment and biodiversity, but also the negative effect on local communities. Our call is, no more mining."

Matt Taylor, manager for sustainable development at BHP Billiton said: "The ICMM has a dialogue with the World Conservation Union to look at other protected area classifications. World Heritage sites are one high profile form of classification, but there are others and we fully support that dialogue."

See: International Council on Mining and Metals Press Release (in PDF format)

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