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Environmental Management

Mineable mineral deposits exist in both convenient and inconvenient locations, including near sensitive ecosystems and water resources. Poorly managed mining operations can not only lead to negative environmental impacts, but they can undermine relationships between a mining company, affected communities, and all levels of government.

The responsible management of natural resources and ecosystems—including soils, plants, animals, water and air, and the services they provide—is important to any society seeking sustainability. These elements underpin the health of communities and economies and must be protected for society to thrive over the long term.

Building Government Capacity for Effective Environmental Management in Mining

We work with governments to develop and implement policies, regulations, and tools for effective environmental management throughout the mining life cycle consistent with our flagship Mining Policy Framework.

Through our capacity-building support, technical assistance, events, and publications, we help policy-makers mitigate negative environmental and social impacts and facilitate successful environmental management in four main areas.


Sustainably regulating water use, discharges, and quality at the watershed level to protect water resources for communities and ecosystems alike.


Applying the mitigation hierarchy to avoid habitat loss, ecosystem fragmentation and degradation, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species.

Mine Waste

Ensuring waste systems and facilities are chemically and physically stable to eliminate risk of failure and minimize exposure to people, wildlife, and landscapes.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

Working with stakeholders to identify and understand risks across the mine life cycle, and ensure they are prepared to prevent, respond to, and recover from them.

Strengthening Environmental Practices in Mining Governance

Effective environmental management is founded on legal frameworks, regulations, and policies that position governments for successful management throughout mining operations.

We published Guidance for Governments: Environmental Management and Mining Governance to help policy-makers achieve this goal.

In this publication, governments can explore international practices and standards; crucial legislative, regulatory, and policy tools; and what they must do before, during, and after operations to ensure the promotion of sustainable environmental management in mining.


Additional Resources

Biodiversity and Mining Governance: Senegal and Turkey

This case study presents how mining impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems have been managed in Senegal and Turkey using the mitigation hierarchy.

Regulatory Continuous Improvement: Lessons from British Columbia’s new statutory audit function’

This IGF case study describes a new audit function to evaluate the effectiveness of the mining regulatory framework in British Columbia.

Surface Water Monitoring for the Mining Sector: Frameworks for governments

This document reviews water monitoring frameworks for mine water management by governments.

Mine Waste Management: Case studies from Ghana and Canada

Mining typically involves moving and processing large amounts of materials to extract the target commodity. This excess material is known as mine waste. These case studies show how gove

Mine Water Management: Case studies from Mongolia and Chile

As a significant user of water resources and a source of potential contaminants, mining requires effective governance at the watershed scale. These case studies show how two jurisdictio