• Share

Key takeaways for mining from the Global Biodiversity Framework

Nature is being lost at a staggering rate, with global species extinction rates 100-1,000 times faster than historical norms. 

This is not just a disaster for the richness and variety of the natural world; half of the world’s annual GDP is at risk, according to expert analysis.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is humanity’s chance to tackle this problem head on. Agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), in Montréal in 2022, the framework sets out a roadmap to a harmonious coexistence with nature by 2050. 

While mining uses less than 0.1 per cent of the world’s land, it is often in ecologically and culturally sensitive areas. For ICMM members, the framework is an opportunity to accelerate large-scale environmental conservation and restoration action, and increase participation in open data and knowledge sharing partnerships.

There are 23 specific global targets to be met by 2030 as part of the GBF, covering a wide range of areas, from managing and restoring ecosystems, to monitoring and assessing impacts on biodiversity.

While the targets are ultimately to be delivered by national governments, ICMM’s Nature Position Statement is guided by the GBF and sets out members’ approach to supporting nature positive action. 

A large number of existing projects are contributing to meeting these targets. For example:

  • In Groote Eylandt, the fourth largest island in Australia, South32 protects against invasive species, winning a 2023 Australian Biosecurity Award.

  • On the Namibian coast, De Beers is supporting the growth of kelp forests to sequester carbon, increase biodiversity and support local communities.

  • In Australia, Alcoa is developing new technologies to improve seed performance during landscape revegetation, in partnership with NGOs and local academics. The project has already increased the establishment success of some seeded species by 40 per cent.

Urgent and timely action is needed 

Mining and metals operations have long lifespans. The Nature Position Statement requires members to do all they can at the earliest feasible stages of project development to support the restoration of nature. This includes:

  • Avoiding biodiversity-sensitive areas wherever possible, as the first step of the mitigation hierarchy.

  • Restoring biodiversity progressively throughout the project lifecycle rather than at the point of closure, where the type of mining activity makes this possible.

  • Where offsets are necessary, developing these as soon as possible to support restoration and reduce the impact on biodiversity.

  • Reporting on site-level progress in 2030, 2040 and 2050 to show their progress towards no net loss commitments over time.

ICMM members have been working on the goal of no net loss of biodiversity at operations for many years, applying the mitigation hierarchy. 

However, the scale of the nature crisis means that more needs to be done, something that is reflected in the breadth of ICMM’s new nature commitments across its spheres of influence.

Collaboration is key

ICMM members are widening their focus on biodiversity, towards integrated nature, social and climate goals. They are moving from mining site scale work, to partnering on landscape scale projects that will accelerate the move to a nature positive future.

Alongside this, the roadmap to becoming nature positive includes being able to quantify the health of the natural world, whether that is through eDNA tracking of animal species, measuring the health of rivers and lakes, or sampling the biodiversity of indigenous plant species in at-risk areas. In its role as an official mining and metals sector piloting partner of the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, ICMM is collaborating with 13 leading companies and NGO specialists to develop authoritative standardised sector metrics for nature.

Attaining the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework requires careful management of shared resources across a variety of landscapes and ecosystems. To support achieving this, ICMM members are working with local communities, governments and civil society to help halt and reverse the loss of nature.

See ICMM’s factsheet here for more details on how its members are contributing to the Global Biodiversity Framework targets.