Mining companies called to cease mining in World Heritage Sites

Some of the largest mining companies in the world have called for companies, including those in the oil and gas industry, to stop mining in World Heritage Sites.

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), comprising 23 companies including Rio Tinto, BHP, and Anglo American, made an agreement in 2003 to stop mining in protected sites as part of their efforts to make mining more sustainable, Reuters reports, reinforcing the halt on Monday.

“Yet 13 years later, other companies and industries are still operating in these precious sites,” Tom Butler, ICMM CEO said to the Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Hawaii.

He went on to emphasise the collapse of particular ecosystems, adding, “The message is clear: we need urgent and collaborative action.”

The only oil and gas company to join the ICMM in 2003 was Royal Dutch Shell, reasserting its pledge on Monday, with French company Total and Tullow Oil also committing to the agreement.

However other large oil and gas companies have not made the pledge.

The International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, which produces more than a third of the world’s oil and gas said, “our members’ operations are carried out complying with the relevant legislation”, adding that new technology could minimise the drilling footprint.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 59 of the 203 protected areas have been identified as facing a threat from mining industries.

UNESCO highlighted government bans, and funding bodies withholding cash for development areas, as deterrents for mining in the heritage listed areas.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.