NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – In the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) “Towards Sustainable Mining” (TSM) initiative, DIAVIK DIAMOND MINES of Yellowknife, NT, has achieved top socio-economic and environmental recognition in its work with local communities, tailings management, and crisis management planning. It is the first mine in the world to have its sustainable development practices verified by a third party.
The results were released in MAC’s 2006 TSM Progress Report, the first in the world to require third-party verification of its membership’s sustainability performance. MAC member performance is evaluated in four categories: external outreach, tailings, energy/greenhouse gas emissions, and crisis management planning. Diavik achieved Level 4 recognition in both external outreach (work with local communities), and tailings management (processed kimberlite containment) and met all the required criteria to receive a MAC Towards Sustainable Mining achievement of excellence performance award under crisis management planning.
In this first year of implementation, 10 MAC members have had their TSM performance results externally verified. In following years a rotation will be established, with one-third of MAC members undergoing external verification each year. MAC member companies complete a self-assessment, using TSM protocols developed by MAC, to assign performance ratings to each of their facilities. Similar to other forms of audit, the specially trained verification service provider (VSP) verifies the accuracy of these self-assessments. The VSP uses standard verification methods to obtain and assess information, including a review of relevant documentation, interviews with company personnel and, when appropriate, interviews with local communities of interest. At the conclusion of the process, the VSP issues a verification statement and report, and the CEO or authorized officer provides a letter of assurance to MAC confirming that the verification has been conducted. The letters of assurance are posted on MAC’s website.
Besides Diavik, the companies assessed for the 2006 TSM Progress Report were ALBIAN SANDS ENERGY, BHP BILLITON DIAMONDS, CVRD INCO, HUDBAY MINERALS, INMET MINING, IRON ORE COMPANY OF CANADA, SUNCOR ENERGY, SYNCRUDE CANADA and TECK COMINCO.
MAC has been assisted throughout this process by a 14-member Community of Interest Advisory Panel. The panel has advised MAC on the design of the external verification system, and will review a sample of company verification results each year. A statement by the panel appears in the TSM Progress Report. The report also includes year-to-year comparison of TSM performance, comprehensive environmental release data and information regarding a number of the mining industry’s environmental research initiatives and multi-stakeholder partnerships.
For more information on the Mining Association of Canada, and its Towards Sustainable Mining initiative, visit www.mining.ca.