Human rights

Human rights are now reflected in a number of mining industry standards and frameworks including the MCA’s Enduring Value Framework, the International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) Sustainable Development Framework

The Australian Minerals Industry & Human Rights: Managing Human Rights Risks and Opportunities through the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights published by the MCA and the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) highlights how Australian minerals companies are implementing the United Nations’ framework on business and human rights to manage risk and maximise the opportunities to contribute positively to recognition and protection of human rights.

Supporting recognition

The minerals industry’s approach to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is founded in mutual respect and recognition of Indigenous Australian’s rights in law, interests and special connections to land and waters.

The MCA strongly supports the importance of recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of this nation, fostering respect for continuing cultures, languages and heritage and acknowledging relationships to traditional lands and waters.

The MCA’s position statement supports the principles of free, prior and informed consent in an Australian minerals industry context.


Promoting gender in mining agreements

Agreements between mining companies and local communities are increasingly used as a mechanism to shape the conditions for resource extraction in order to facilitate meaningful engagement and sustainable development outcomes. In this context, gender equality and social inclusion are gaining attention as key issues. This research explores the challenges and opportunities associated with negotiating and implementing agreements by considering issues relating to gender and local-level development. The focus is on agreement processes between local communities and Australian mining companies operating domestically and offshore.

This research, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), was undertaken by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), part of the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland. The partnership between DFAT and the MCA has been driven by the commitment that both agencies have to maximising sustainable development outcomes.

This research confirms the value of promoting gender equality in mining agreements and provides important insights into how gender dynamics can influence agreement and benefit-sharing processes at the local-level. The study also identifies strategies for analysing gender dynamics in the context of mining and supporting gender equality in agreement processes.

The two-year program of work included a practitioner perspectives study and case studies at three mining operations in different regions of the world: Papua New Guinea (Newcrest’s Lihir mine), Lao PDR (MMG Sepon LXML operations) and Australia (Rio Tinto Alcan’s Weipa operation). A project report summarises the findings of these four components of the research and provides a list of key tools and guidance documents for practitioners and policy makers.