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Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc to develop joint due diligence standard for LME Responsible Sourcing Rules

In October 2019, the London Metal Exchange (LME) released its requirements on responsible sourcing for Brands. Starting 2023, LME Brands must be compliant with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (OECD Guidance).

(More than 500 brands from 55 countries are LME-deliverable. All brands approved for good delivery against LME contracts must conform to strict requirements on quality, shape and weight, as outlined by the exchange.)


The LME’s requirements, which will apply to all its listed brands, rest on four core principles: the combination of transparency and standards; non-discrimination between large-scale mining (LSM) and artisanal / small-scale mining (ASM); adherence to well-established work in the sector; and a pragmatic and clear process.

To support Brands in this effort, The Copper Mark, the International Lead Association (ILA), the International Zinc Association (IZA) and the Nickel Institute signed an agreement to develop a joint Due Diligence Standard.

Facilitated by The Copper Mark, a working group has been established to develop the joint Due Diligence Standard. The group also includes other interested commodity associations, multi-metal company representatives, along with OECD and LME. Compliance of Brands with this Due Diligence Standard will be assessed using The Copper Mark’s Assurance Process.

Through the working group, the commodity associations implement a clearly defined roadmap to ensure copper, lead, nickel and zinc brands will be able to rely on the shared framework to respond to the LME before June 2022. It includes four main phases:

  • Phase 1: 2019 / early 2020. Development of the roadmap and formation of the working group.

  • Phase 2: 2020. Development of the joint Due Diligence Standard and Tool.

  • Phase 3: Early 2021. Pilot implementation of the joint Due Diligence Standard.

  • Phase 4: 2021 / early 2022. Independent third-party OECD Alignment Assessment and application for approval by LME as Track A “OECD-aligned external standard”.

The four organizations are committed to ensure meaningful participation of interested stakeholders in this process. To this end, the development of the joint Due Diligence Standard will include a public consultation period in Phase 2.

The Copper Mark is an assurance framework available for the copper industry to demonstrate its responsible production practices and its contribution to the United Nations SDGs. The Copper Mark offers a comprehensive system that addresses 32 environmental, social and governance issues related to the responsible production of copper, using the Responsible Minerals Initiative’s (RMI) Risk Readiness Assessment. Developed and funded by the International Copper Association (ICA), the Copper Mark is incorporated as an independent entity headquartered in the United Kingdom.

The International Lead Association (ILA) is the global trade association for the lead industry and its member companies are at the forefront of the mining, smelting, refining and recycling of lead. The International Zinc Association represents the zinc industry globally; IZA’s members reflect the whole zinc value chain from mining, production, and manufacturing to recycling. The Nickel Institute (NI) is the global association of leading primary nickel producers.


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