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Mining executives put sustainability on agenda at mining indaba

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Top mining executives and policy makers came together to promote social responsibility at a multi-stakeholder session organized by ICMM at the Mining Indaba, yesterday.

Representatives from civil society, non-governmental organizations and the investment community were among the 400 delegates who joined the session.

The CEO of Conservation International, Peter Seligmann, gave a keynote speech where he talked about the role of the mining industry in developing a greener economy.

'The mining industry is an agent for change. It has a lot to offer on how to develop the 'green economy' given its understanding of natural resources and the financial risks of getting it wrong. Governments cannot act alone; they need to engage with the private sector. Mining should embrace and engage and guide this process.'

In the first part of the session, discussion focused on the relationship between CSR and investment.

Mokhethi Moshoeshoe - Director of the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship - talked about the importance of viewing CSR as an ethical concept rather than a risk management tool. He emphasized the need to integrate long-term social considerations into the business model.

Conversely, Karin Ireton - Director of Group Sustainability Management at Standard Bank Group - highlighted the value of accountability mechanisms in building lender confidence. David Coulridge - Investment Analyst at Element Investments - also talked about the need to develop and clarify the business case for sustainable development.

Finally, speakers explored the issues surrounding water management in the mining industry. Elaine Dorward-King - Managing Director at Richards Bay Minerals - called for industry leaders to place water stewardship high on the agenda.

The CSR day formed part of a broader collaboration between ICMM and the organizers of Mining Indaba to put sustainability on the agenda of this year's conference. It followed the first ever CSR panel to be held during the main program at the Mining Indaba on Tuesday 8 February, in which a panel of CEOs called for social responsibility to be integrated into corporate DNA.

About ICMM
The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) was established in 2001 to act as a catalyst for performance improvement in the mining and metals industry. Today, the organization brings together 18 mining and metals companies as well as 30 national and regional mining associations and global commodity associations to address the core sustainable development challenges faced by the industry.

ICMM serves as a change agent - not in areas affecting competitive positioning, but related to our members' social and environmental responsibilities where collaboration makes sense. Our vision is one of leading companies working together and with others to strengthen the contribution of mining, minerals and metals to sustainable development. www.icmm.com

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