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Responsible mining companies, manufacturers and other mineral value chain actors and stakeholders have a common interest in ensuring that the negative social, economic and environmental impacts of mining are minimized, that its benefits are maximized and shared equitably, and that good practice is recognized and encouraged by industrial users of minerals, investors and consumers. Joining up their respective efforts across long, complex and opaque supply chains is a significant challenge, which may be hampered by misalignment between different actors’ sustainability objectives and motivations. Discussions at two workshops convened by the Geological Society of London explored how barriers to progress might be addressed. These are reported and analysed in the context of several relevant bodies of literature. While assurance schemes and novel technologies can play a significant role in addressing these challenges, it is also vital to mobilize consumers’ awareness of the mineral resources they use, work in partnership with communities affected by mining, urge policy-makers to take greater responsibility, and develop a shared vision of what a sustainable global system of mineral production and consumption should look like. Such a holistic perspective is necessary to avoid well-intentioned but fragmented approaches resulting in harmful unintended consequences, and in some aspects of sustainability being overlooked.

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