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Environmental and Social Impact Assessments

A modern legislative regime for mining draws clear lines of responsibility and accountability while establishing a foundation of good governance that leads to shared benefits and mitigates negative effects over the full life cycle of a mine, from the early days of exploration through to the post-mining transition.

Modern legal frameworks often use a permitting process requiring developers to submit and employ integrated environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) and related tools, such as environmental and social management plans and closure plans.

These tools require a supportive legal framework that addresses timing, scope, implementation, monitoring, and enforcement processes to effectively provide governments and other stakeholders with a roadmap for managing impacts and optimizing social and economic benefits related to mining.

ESIAs help governments plan and coordinate efforts for enhanced environmental management and protection of their communities, which can lead to climate change mitigation, employment opportunities, skills development in a post-closure era, shared infrastructure, and integrating women into decision-making processes to foster gender equality.

A Roadmap for Legal Frameworks for Effective Environmental and Social Impact Assessments and Related Tools

Backed by our cornerstone Mining Policy Framework, our experts help governments craft and implement ESIAs so policy-makers have the knowledge and tools to analyze how proposed mining projects will be carried out to ensure they support environmental, social, and economic interests and priorities of governments and communities alike.

We published Guidance for Governments: Improving Legal Frameworks for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Management to provide a roadmap for the ESIA and management process, incorporating practices to aid governments in meeting their sustainable development goals.


Strengthening Governments’ Implementation Capacity

The Secretariat launched the Mining ESIA Tool (MET) to help member governments implement this guidance and identify gaps in their institutional capacity and legal and policy frameworks on ESIAs in mining.

The MET offers a quick scan for high-level diagnostics and a detailed scan for a more comprehensive understanding of strengths and gaps in legal frameworks, from exploration to closure.

The MET process facilitates engagement and dialogue between stakeholders in the mining, social, and environmental spheres.

This tool is available in English, French, and Spanish upon request to the Secretariat at

The IGF’s mining-specific tool was modelled on a broader ESY-Map diagnostic tool developed by the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment in collaboration with the Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment.

Additional Resources

Global Review: Integrating Gender Into Mining Impact Assessments

There are numerous ways to analyze and document the potential and ongoing impacts of a mining operation on people from different genders, ages, and sociocultural backgrounds. This repo

IGF Case Study: Mine Closure Policies in South America

This report presents case studies on mine closure policies in South America, with a focus on Chile and Peru.

Mine Closure Policies in South America

Latin American governments are moving away from relying on mining companies to follow best practices on mine closure toward developing national legislation to ensure compliance. Chile

Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in Mining: IGF hosting dialogue on Goxi

The dialogue will be hosted on the Goxi platform and is designed to generate discussion, information, and clarity around environmental and social governance, particularly during the COV

Guidance for Governments: Improving legal frameworks for environmental and social impact assessment

This IGF guidance document offers governments a summary of international best practices in legal frameworks for environmental and social impact assessment and related management plans

IGF Releases ESIA Guidance for Governments

The latest Guidance for Governments: Improving Legal Frameworks for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and Management fills a gap in the literature on law and policy frameworks

Webinar: Improving Legal Frameworks for ESIA and Management

 Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) hosted a webinar on Wednesday, July 8, at 9 a.m. Ottawa / 3 p.m. Geneva to discus its newest