IAI updates Sustainable Bauxite Mining Guidelines

New Guidelines expand focus to tailings dam management and long-term community impact related to bauxite mining.

The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) has today updated its Sustainable Bauxite Mining Guidelines to elaborate on tailings management and longer-term community impacts and initiatives. Many new case studies from bauxite mines around the world have also been included.

The revised Guidelines focus on the aluminium industry’s drive to ensure that bauxite mining is sustainable and minimises social and environmental impacts during operation and post-closure.

The report identifies key considerations for sustainable bauxite mining, including good governance, community impacts, health and safety and environmental management. For each, information, resources and case studies are included to promote sustainable approaches to bauxite mining.

Commenting on the Guidelines, Deputy IAI Secretary General and Director of Sustainability, Pernelle Nunez, noted, “Sustainable bauxite mining is not a ‘one-size fits all’ prescription. It involves managing each risk with the best available technologies and strategies appropriate to the circumstances. These will be influenced by local climatic, geographic, and environmental conditions, government policies, the regulatory framework, and, importantly, community factors. Mining can involve disturbance of large land areas, making it well suited to progressive rehabilitation during mine life. It is therefore important for the industry to develop guidelines to help ensure all operators mine sustainably, using the lessons learnt by others in the industry to minimise environmental and community impacts. I hope these Guidelines can continue to be adopted by all bauxite producers who strive to operate sustainably, including mines which are still in exploration phase”.

Approximately 4 to 6 tonnes of bauxite is needed for every tonne of primary aluminium produced. With demand for primary aluminium strong – the IAI forecasts growth from 64 Mt in 2020 to 88 Mt by 2050 – demand for alumina and bauxite will also grow.

Janaina Donas, Executive President of the Brazilian Aluminium Association (ABAL), said: “As a resource-intensive industry, the sector plays an even greater role as a catalyst of positive change and in the building of a sustainable future. Thriving economies like Brazil can benefit from world-class bauxite assets operated by companies committed to high performance, implementing innovative solutions for mine reclamation, and concerned with the incorporation of climate change risks into residues management and planning processes. These guidelines showcase successful examples of responsible mining, including operations in sensitive areas like the Amazon region, which demonstrates that it is possible to implement a business strategy that delivers value to society while also reducing the impact on the environment.”

The first Sustainable Bauxite Mining Guidelines were produced in 2018 through the efforts of a coalition of global and national aluminium associations and companies.

Download the updated guidelines here.


Notes to Editors 

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About the IAI 

The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) is the only body representing the global primary aluminium industry. The Institute has the most comprehensive global data on Aluminium with more than 50 years of analysis on production, consumption, energy use and environmental impact. For more information, visit international-aluminium.org, or connect with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.