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'Unprecedented opportunity' for mining sector to advance UN sustainable goals, report finds

A report examining the role large scale mining can play in the UNs plan of action for environmental sustainability and economic development says the ind...

Dale Benton
|Jul 22|magazine5 min read

A report examining the role large scale mining can play in the UN’s plan of action for environmental sustainability and economic development says the industry has an “unprecedented opportunity” to further those goals.

In September 2015, countries across the world adopted a set of “17 Sustainable Development Goals” through the United Nations to “end poverty, protect the planet,” and “ensure prosperity for all”. This falls under the Sustainable development agenda.

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development represents the world’s plan for social inclusion, environmental sustainability and economic development.  

“When managed appropriately, it [the mining industry] can create jobs, spur innovation and bring investment and infrastructure at a game-changing scale over long term horizons,” reads the report, “Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas”.

But, the report also warns of the ramifications of a mismanaged industry: “if managed poorly, mining can also lead to environmental degradation, displaced populations, inequality and increased conflict, among other challenges.”

While acknowledging the challenges the mining industry has historically presented that the SDGs are trying to overcome, the report highlights the “significant advances” made towards the impact mining has on the world.

Minerals produced through mining have contributed essential building blocks to technologies, infrastructure energy and agriculture.

The report concludes that the mining industry can and already is significantly advancing the progression towards the SDGs but can only do so through continuous open dialogue across all sectors.

“A wealth of knowledge, thought and action is already under way across the industry that can be leveraged to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

 “Dialogue across sectors will ensure that best practices are shared and that the potential contribution of the mining industry is fully leveraged for sustainable development,” the report concludes.

You can read the full report here.