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An Introduction to the International Cyanide Code

Dawn Garcia
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
First presented: 
Published paper
Mine Waste

The mining industry responded to the public’s concerns about the use of cyanide by developing the International Cyanide Code to allow companies to demonstrate their commitment to safe, responsible use of cyanide. The Code was created by a multi-stakeholder process that included the participation of industry, labor, government, and non-governmental organizations. Since its inception less than 10 years ago, 20 gold mining companies, representing 100 gold mines in 27 countries, plus 12 cyanide producers and 16 cyanide transporters have become Signatory companies.

How does the Code help companies demonstrate environmental compliance? Signatory companies agree to comply with Code principles and demonstrate compliance through third-party, independent audits with results published on a public website administered by the International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI). The ICMI is also responsible for maintenance and administration of the Code. Nine principles related to cyanide handling and usage are part of the Code. The principles are production, transportation, handling and storage, operations, decommissioning, worker safety, emergency response, training, and communication. The ICMI has published standards of practice and guidance for each of the nine principles. Each Signatory company may comply with the principles according to company-specific methods, but the company must show that its methods achieve the performance goals associated with the principles. Audits are conducted prior to certification of a company’s mine or operations, and subsequently a minimum of once every three years.

Companies that desire to show that their operations are environmentally responsible use Code certification as a demonstration to stockholders, financial institutions, and the public. Benefits include lower risk operations, easier financial funding, and better community relations. This paper provides an introduction to the Code.

SRK Latin America