German ore-sorting tech­nology from Steinert adapted in a world first for iron ore on the large stockpile at the Frances Creek mine, which is 250km south of Darwin. PICTURE GARY SHIPWAY
German ore-sorting tech­nology from Steinert adapted in a world first for iron ore on the large stockpile at the Frances Creek mine, which is 250km south of Darwin. PICTURE GARY SHIPWAY

Minerals sector ‘taking accountability to a new level’

AUSTRALIA'S minerals industry has a new blueprint with benchmarks for companies to meet to satisfy evolving community expectations of the sector on environment, social and governance performance.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable says the nation's minerals sector is taking accountability to a new level.

She said Australia's minerals industry would adopt the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) system - developed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and implemented worldwide among key mining nations - to further improve site-level performance through regular and transparent reporting on safety, environmental and social indicators, including partnerships with First Nations landholders and communities.

"TSM will also show how operations engage with Traditional Owners while supporting social and economic aspirations and heritage protection," Ms Constable said.

She said the Canadian success made the TSM system the most appropriate adaptation in Australia to monitor the industry's performance. The program is intended to enable mining companies to demonstrate how they are meeting society's needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way.

Minerals Council Chief Tania Constable in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage
Minerals Council Chief Tania Constable in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage

"This system has been adopted in eight countries and builds on the industry's existing commitments," Ms Constable said. "TSM will provide a consistent approach to assessment, demonstration and communication of performance at a site level. Participation is an expectation for all MCA members for their Australian operations, with assessments conducted at the facility level where the mining activity takes place.

"Members will publicly report their performance in line with standardised protocols and indicators.

"Australian mining is a global leader in sustainability performance, and it's time to take another step forward to enhance community, investor and customer trust and confidence.

"TSM will give industry stakeholders, including First Nations partners, local communities and groups, investors and customers, additional assurance and visibility on the sector's site-level sustainability performance across a range of important practical measures."

Mining Association of Canada chief executive officer Pierre Gratton said TSM has led to better outcomes for mining communities in Canada and around the world.

"It's great that Australia has chosen TSM as the vehicle to demonstrate environmental and social performance in its mining sector … we are very proud of TSM's power to improve sustainability through measuring site-level performance."

The system includes guiding principles and standardised protocols to be adapted for Australian implementation, including:

  • Communities and People: Indigenous and community relationships, safety and health, crisis management and communication planning, preventing child and forced labour
  • Environmental Stewardship: biodiversity conservation management, tailings management, water stewardship
  • Climate Change: site-level targets and management.

gary.shipway@news.com.au

Originally published as Minerals sector 'taking accountability to a new level'


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