Legal framework of environmental and social impact assessment in the mining sector

Enrvironmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs), environmental and social management plans (ESMP), closure and rehabilitation plans, and potential resettlement action plans (RAPs) are essential tools for any process related to the granting of environmental permits or mining authorizations. Unfortunately, these issues are often poorly considered in the initial phases of mining projects or are inappropriately monitored during subsequent operational phases. This is why the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) is focusing on ESIAs for their fourth Guidance for Governments. The purpose of this background paper is to identify the issues and problems related to the legal framework of ESIAs and related plans in the legal framework of mineral resource-rich countries, as well as their implications for how the mining sector is governed, while exploring avenues for action and reflecting on appropriate solutions.