An Oxfam report reveals that most companies involved in exploring and producing key battery minerals have public policies that fall short of international law requirements for respecting community consent.
The study indicates that the battery mineral sector's approach to Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) is not adequately prepared to support a just energy transition under existing company policies.
The study examined the publicly available policies of 43 companies globally engaged in exploring and producing five minerals used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries: cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, and copper.
The study was underpinned by the principle of FPIC, emphasizing that indigenous peoples and local communities should be fully informed, free from coercion, and have the opportunity to approve or reject projects affecting their land.
Key findings of the report include:
- Some companies have no policy commitment to FPIC or community engagement.
- The majority of companies did not disclose operational guidance, implementation processes, agreements, or independent audits.
- Few companies publicly commit to mine site-level human rights impact assessments.
- Recognition of Indigenous peoples' rights is growing, but few companies commit to respecting rights based on FPIC.
- Most companies do not address gender-based violence and discrimination, and few include rights of human rights and environmental defenders in their policies.
Ms Greenspan urged Ghanaians to use the report to ask critical questions about mining companies operating in the country and encouraged stronger policies ensuring community engagement and consent.
In a panel discussion, participants emphasized the need for comprehensive community engagement, community education on mining laws, giving women a voice in the sector, and prioritizing the livelihoods, health, and rights of community members in the mining sector.