MAC, Copper Mark team up to enhance transparency and credibility

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and The Copper Mark have begun a new collaboration on a pilot project to enhance the […]
The Northern Lights over the Meliadine gold mine in the Kivalliq district of Nunavut. Credit: Agnico Eagle Mines

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and The Copper Mark have begun a new collaboration on a pilot project to enhance the assurance processes of both Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) and the Copper Mark standards.

As part of this pilot, MAC and the Copper Mark are merging their respective assurance processes for pilot testing by MAC members undergoing TSM verification in 2024, with the Copper Mark secretariat managing the assurance process on behalf of MAC.  MAC expects nearly all of its members' facilities undergoing verification in 2024 to do so, which represents approximately 30 facilities in 2024.

"TSM and the Copper Mark have established a close working relationship and already collaborate on cross-recognition of their respective protocols/standards, implemented through integrated audits joint training and accreditation of assurance providers,” said MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton. “We have learned from each other over the past few years, helping each to develop and refine tools, processes, and policies such as assurance processes, conflict of interest policies or assessment reports. This pilot takes this relationship to an exciting new level."

TSM members will note new features. There will be mandatory site visits for operating facilities undergoing verification and minimum standards for employee interviews. Copper Mark will review members’ assurance plans for completeness. A media scan will also be performed. A gap assessment will be done by verifiers of any performance below TSM Level A, and the action plans by such facilities to address those gaps will be published.

Copper Mark participants will note improvements in Copper Mark’s understanding of the important role played by national panels in TSM in Canada and elsewhere. They can expect the requirement of an independent TSM oversite process will continue but it will be managed by Copper Mark. Copper Mark staff will also join as observers of MAC’s national Community-of-Interest panel, including the post-verification review process.

Verification results will be disclosed publicly on the TSM website by MAC as well as on the Copper Mark website.

In addition to the pilot, MAC and Copper Mark are looking for opportunities to cross-fertilize their stakeholder networks by looking for ways to enhance representation across their governance bodies. The results of this year's pilot will be evaluated with a view to informing opportunities for deeper collaboration and integration of the Copper Mark and TSM in 2025 and beyond, including potentially extending this collaboration with other TSM partners around the world.

More information about this pilot project will be available soon on both the MAC ( and Copper Mark ( websites.