Mining contribution to the SDG

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) comprise 17 global goals that are interrelated and targeted to cover a broad range of social and economic development issues. To achieve the SDGs, the UN has established 169 targets. The SDGs apply to all countries worldwide.

All economic activities and their effects can be mapped against the SDGs and their targets. For mining, two such mapping exercises have been conducted on an international level:

  1. In 2016, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Economic Forum released the report “Mapping Mining to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas”. It seeks to build a common understanding of how mining can contribute to achieving the SDGs. The Atlas maps the links between mining and the SDGs by using examples of good practices in the industry and existing knowledge and resources in sustainable development.

    In 2020, the Responsible Mining Foundation and CCSI issued a status update. The report “Mining and the SDGs: a 2020 status update” assesses what large-scale mining companies are currently doing to integrate the SDGs into their business strategies and to take proactive measures that will help achieve these goals.

  2. The ICMM has conducted its own “mapping” of the links of the mining sector with the SDGs, but targeted towards mining companies. For each SDG, it presents what companies need to know to minimise impacts and enhance their positive contribution:

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Among the different links between mining and the SDGs, some have received special attention among stakeholders of the mining industry. Pop-up/Expand to find out more about the importance of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM), Gender Equality in Mining, and Mining Revenue Governance for sustainable development.


Artisanal and small scale mining and the SDGs

Artisanal and small-scale mining was growing even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing rise in the price of gold. An estimated 1.2 million people in Brazil, Colombia and Peru worked in ASM in 2019, many of them drawn to the industry due to poverty and marginalisation. ASM is also an important source of mineral supply – in 2018 it accounted for 20% of the global gold supply and 25% of global tin production. However, environmental and social regulation of ASM is often weak, and enforcement even weaker. ASM can therefore be a source of environmental degradation, health hazards and illicit financial flows.

In their report “Mapping artisanal and small-cale mining to the Sustainable Develppment Goals”, Pact and the University of Delaware mapped ASM to each of the SDGs.


Mining and gender equality

Women play an important role in mining: for example in ASM, keeping traditional extraction techniques alive, and in Large-Scale Mining (LSM), working in different operation areas. Equal access to work opportunities and vocational training in the mining sector can be a powerful path towards SDG #5 Gender Equality. But women often experience harassment, discrimination, exposure to environmental pollution, and even gender-based violence in the context of mining activities.

The IGF has published a list of 25 policy options in seven governance areas to promote gender equality in mining. Find the report Gender in Mining Governance: Opportunities for policy makers

International Women in Mining is a global women’s organisation pursuing gender equality, access to opportunities, and female leadership in mining. It engages with individual members and Women in Mining organisations from over 40 countries. Find out more about the Women in Mining organisations in

Women’s Rights and Mining is a collaborative initiative aiming to secure commitments from key stakeholders in the mining sector to address key gender concerns. Among other ressources, it offers the Encyclopedia on Gender and Mining, published by GIZ.

In its report SDG, gender equality and extractive industries in Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru (Spanish), the Natural Resources Governance Institute has assessed the influence of the extractive industries in five Latin American countries on gender equality, especially through employment, effects on income, and participation in decision-making.

You can find more articles on this topic in the “Responsible Mining” folder in our Library.


Revenue governance

Mining generates important revenues for the countries hosting the resources – resources which can finance public spending for infrastructure and services, and which can also strengthen a country’s fiscal reserves to absorb shocks. But when revenues are not adequately overseen, distributed and spent, they fail to contribute to economic and social development.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implements a “global standard to promote the open and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources. The EITI Standard requires the disclosure of information along the extractive industry value chain from the point of extraction, to how revenues make their way through the government, and how they benefit the public.” By enhancing transparency and accountability, the EITI contributes directly to the SDGs.

Of the MDNP member countries, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru have joined the EITI. Among EU Member States, Germany and the Netherlands have also joined. Visit the countries’ profiles and explore their respective implementation status and submitted reports.

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Transparency of revenue payments is a key element for improved revenue governance. The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) hosts the open data platform Resource Projects, which allows you to explore mandatorily disclosed payments to governments for oil, gas and mineral resources in 154 countries, including all MDNP member countries.

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Since 2013, with the amendment of its Accounting and Transparency directives, the EU requires large extractive companies registered in its Member States but producing in third countries to report on the payments (taxes, royalties, bonuses) they make to their governments (country by country reporting).

NRGI has also assessed the quality of resource governance in its Resource Governance Index of 2017. You can find the performance of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru in the Country Fiches tool in the Members’ Area. Find more about this Index and the Country Profile.

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