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Sculpture

In January 2023, ICMM members made a landmark commitment to support a nature positive future.

To mark this, ICMM commissioned a metalwork sculpture to serve as a permanent reminder of the urgency and ambition that is driving our collective commitment for nature.

Made from recycled metals and machine parts, the sculpture is in the form of a flamingo. These beautiful birds live in harmony with their local flora and fauna. And this is how mining needs to be.

The statue stands for three things:

  1. Remembering the past: Flamingos are sensitive to the natural environment around them. The actions of the industry in the past have not always met the standards that we expect and have had a detrimental impact on these birds (especially in the Andean region) and a great many other species. With the statue we want to acknowledge our past, the need to make good on what has been done and signal hope for the future.
  2. Working to protect and restore nature today: Metals and minerals are critical for the transition to low carbon energy and sustainable development. It is more pressing than ever that we act to meet demand without causing negative impacts to people, communities, and the environment. Through the statue we recognise that it is only in harmony with nature that people and planet can ultimately thrive.
  3. Creating a nature positive future: We won’t halt and reverse nature loss on the scale required overnight, but by taking direct action where we can and helping others to do the same when they are better placed to do so we hope to support a nature positive future. The flamingo statue is also a symbol of hope. Reminding us that when we work collectively and with communities in support of nature, we can be more than the sum of our parts.

Remembering the Past

Around 17 per cent of mining operations are within one kilometre of a key biodiversity or protected area. As an industry, we have a critical responsibility to mitigate impacts, and nowhere more than in these highly fragile and often species-rich environments.

Mining has not always lived up to this responsibility and trust in our industry has understandably eroded as a result. 

Modern mining has already had a significant impact on the breeding and feeding grounds of flamingos in South America (the region intersecting Chile, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia), when the development of one of the world’s largest copper mines in Chile affected water sources critical to the Andean Flamingo. With disastrous consequences for these birds, and other flora and fauna.

Through huge efforts across the region, like at the Ite Wetlands area in southern Peru, created out of a tailings disposal area, we know the industry can work to address such legacy issues. Acts that have seen a return of once lost species to new and historical breeding grounds, including the flamingo.

Mining and metals play a vital role in advancing sustainable development goals by enabling green technologies across almost every industry, from renewable energy and sustainable transport systems to construction and tech. Meeting the demand for materials critical to the energy transition must not be at the expense of nature.

Bacopa monnieri (water hyssop) decorate the flamingo in forged copper and aluminium. Found on the wetlands of South America they are believed to improve cognition, specifically memory and learning. In the sculpture, these flowers are used to represent a remembering of past failings, while at the same time serving as a message of learning, leading to a more sustainable future for wildlife and biodiversity.

We know that Mining can live alongside and in harmony with nature, but only when it operates responsibly. Through our Nature: Position Statement, we are setting a new global bar for responsible mining practices.

Working to Protect and Restore Nature Today

As with the flamingo in its natural habitat, it is only in harmony with nature that people and planet can ultimately thrive.

The flamingo is vibrant, flamboyant, and colourful - a symbol of beauty and balance. This sculpture aims to highlight that there can be a balance between human progress in obtaining resources, alongside safeguarding, conserving and supporting the natural world.

With the mining sector needing to grow to meet demand for critical minerals and metals required of the energy transition, it is more pressing than ever that we identify and act to meet demand without causing negative impacts to people, communities, and the environment.

The mining and metals sector understands the urgency and importance of action today, with members embracing their responsibilities to make significant and tangible contributions to date.

This includes initiatives to protect and conserve the natural environment, like the work that Teck has been doing with Indigenous Peoples to establish the Kitaskino Nuwenene Wildland Provincial Park in Alberta. And like BHP who are galvanising wider change by supporting an innovative Forest bond designed to reduce deforestation and stimulate investment in low-carbon development.

Find more examples of the vital nature positive conservation and restoration work already underway here.

Supporting a Nature Positive Future

As significant land and water stewards, and suppliers of minerals critical for a just transition to a low carbon future, mining companies have a unique opportunity to scale and leverage influence across the landscapes in which they operate and the value chains in which they participate.

Potential that can help support grassroots and community groups, up to government structures and international institutions succeed in implementing the ambitions of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

ICMM’s new commitments set out a 5-point plan for how members can be a force for good on nature. Supported by transparent disclosures on performance outcomes, the commitments give us a roadmap to halting and reversing nature loss and, ultimately, support nature’s recovery to deliver a net-positive outcome in the near-future.

We won’t see a halting and reversing of nature loss on the scales required over night, but by taking direct action where we can, and helping others to do the same when they’re better placed to do so, we hope to support a nature positive future.

The flamingo statue is also, therefore, a physical symbol of hope. reminding us that when we work collectively and with communities we can be more than the sum of our parts.

About the Sculpture

Artist: Alan Williams

Medium: Reclaimed metal sculpture

Materials: Includes garden forks and shears, scythes, drills, spanners, bearings, industrial tubing and pipe, car clutches, motorbike and bicycle parts, and forged components.