Established in 2004, the Community of Interest Advisory Panel (COI Panel) plays a key role in the ongoing development and implementation of the TSM initiative. The Panel is composed of individuals nominated from communities of interest directly or indirectly impacted by the activities of the mining industry. These communities of interest include Indigenous communities, international development groups, economic and community development organizations, environmental and social NGOs, the finance/investment sector, organized labour, as well as the mining industry itself and individuals with issue-specific expertise. Panel members representing the mining industry actively engage in Panel discussions, provide company insights, and help connect the Panel’s work to the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) membership. The current COI Panel includes 18 individuals (twelve non-industry representatives and six industry representatives).
This Panel statement offers an independent reflection from the non-industry members of the COI Panel on key areas of interest and progress since the previous statement.
OCTOBER 2018 MEETING AT WILLIAMS LAKE BC
POST-VERIFICATION REVIEW DISCUSSIONS
The Panel’s October 2018 post-verification review (PVR) meeting took place at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley Mine, located near Williams Lake, BC. Post-verification reviews were conducted for Imperial Metals and Dominion Diamond Mines.
The Panel decided that the PVR discussion with Mount Polley Mine staff should focus on reflections from the tailings dam breach in 2014, including the role of government, potential impacts on other areas of performance and lessons learned. The discussions were wide-ranging addressing issues such as employee and labour force issues, Indigenous representation, Public Liaison Committee (PLC) governance and dialogue, civil society and public engagement, regional engagement on environmental concerns and other environmental topics.
The Panel expressed interest in collaborating with Imperial Metals to ensure that the lessons learned from the Mount Polley reclamation and restoration efforts be shared broadly in the industry. Imperial Metals’ scientific and technical information as well as the innovations relating to the reclamation and restoration effort would be very valuable to the mining industry worldwide. The work at Mount Polley perhaps could be linked to the release of TSM’s revised Tailings Management Protocol.
The portion of the dialogue with Imperial Metals focused on regulatory enforcement issues related to the dam breach was challenging and did not result in the open, constructive dialogue the panel seeks to achieve. Immediately following this discussion, the Panel reflected on the purpose of PVR meetings and suggested more clearly differentiating between discussions related to site visits vs. discussions related to TSM indicators and performance with the intent of better achieving the open and constructive dialogue necessary to ensure effective PVRs. Panel reflections continued to be shared following this meeting and are summarized in the Other Panel Business section below.
Dominion Diamond Mines
Dominion Diamond Mines (Dominion) operates the Ekati Diamond Mine (Ekati), in which they have a controlling interest, and owns 40% of the Diavik Diamond Mine (Diavik) operated by Rio Tinto, both of which are located in the Northwest Territories.
The Panel’s meeting with the Dominion representative affirmed the direction they have developed for the PVR process to be open, constructive and dialogical. Significant initial background preparation for the engagement and the webinar format allowed for more in depth, wide ranging and forthright probing of issues of mutual concern. They focused on the Ekati Mine, including discussions on:
- Socio-economic factors, including Impact Benefit Agreements or other resource revenue sharing agreements with Métis, encouraging youth in continuing education, and opportunities and challenges in the NWT co-management regime;
- Energy and GHG emissions, including the importance of developing a carbon pricing regime unique to the Northern context, renewable energy options in NWT, and Canadian membership in the Carbon Neutral Alliance of countries; and
- Women in mining, including sexism and racism on site, engaging men on women’s rights and investing in female entrepreneurship.
Other topics discussed included:
- Learnings from the co-management regime;
- Lessons learned from Ekati’s Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency;
- Helping Dominion continuously improve beyond TSM Level AAA;
- Changes in practices after the acquisition of Dominion by The Washington Companies;
- Possible conflict or overlap between TSM and other reporting systems;
- Sorting and cutting diamonds in Canada;
- Responsible sourcing verification for Canadian diamonds; and
- Absenteeism on site.
MOUNT POLLEY PUBLIC LIAISON COMMITTEE (PLC) MEETING AND MINE SITE TOUR
Panel members participated as observers in a meeting of the Mount Polley Mine Public Liaison Committee (PLC). Key points of discussion included the cost of restoration efforts, water treatment on site, modeling climate change scenarios and sharing environmental monitoring information with downstream communities. Mount Polley staff shared their concern that fears persist in downstream communities about water quality, fears they believe are not justified based on their ongoing water quality monitoring. Issues remain as to how best to share information with the public and rebuild public confidence.
Following the PLC meeting, the Panel toured the Mount Polley mine site remediation work along Hazeltine Creek undertaken following the tailings dam breach in 2014. Panel members expressed their admiration and appreciation for the immense amount of work carried out to restore the creek and adjacent watershed, although it is clear more remains to be done.
Subsequent to the Panel’s visit, mining activity at the mine has ceased to operate although apparently the restoration activity continues. Its future remains to be seen.
TRACKING OF PRIORITY ISSUES FOR PANEL
At the October 2018 meeting, Panel members reviewed the results of a survey of members on proposed 2019 material issues. Panel members were in general agreement with the prioritization of these issues in the survey. The top five priorities were: community engagement; Indigenous peoples – rights and reconciliation; Indigenous peoples – employment; climate change; and water. Overall, there was alignment between the topics of interest for both industry and non-industry members, except for the international application of TSM (industry weighs higher) and Indigenous rights and recognition (non-industry weighs higher).
Initial results from a March 2019 follow-up survey of Panel members (seven responses out of 19 members) indicated that the top five priorities are: sustainable socio-economic benefits; effectiveness of community engagement; Indigenous recognition and reconciliation; long-term environmental sustainability; and climate change.
MARCH 2019 MEETING IN TORONTO
INDIGENOUS AND COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS PROTOCOL
MAC presented the draft updated TSM Indigenous and Community Relationships Protocol for the Panel’s review and comments at the March 2019 meeting. Initial advice had been provided to MAC by the Panel at the beginning of the drafting process in March 2018. The Panel considered this current draft largely consistent with the previous draft revisions and provided overarching comments recognizing significant improvements such as references to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92; United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), including FPIC; education for management and employees; and new criteria for community impacts and benefit management. They made specific comments for each indicator, including that the Protocol should consider the following:
- Clearly define the use of Aboriginal vs. Indigenous, acknowledging that Aboriginal is referenced in Section 35 of the Constitution Act.
- Include in the purpose section for each indicator why the indicator is important and what it is ultimately trying to achieve.
- Provide guidance to companies on how to address communities of interest engagement in risk processes.
- Manage social impacts and benefits in an integrated manner.
- Provide further context and detail in Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on terms such as meaningful engagement and social impacts.
MAC agreed to make another round of revisions to the Protocol and will share the next iteration with the Panel for further review before it is brought to the MAC Board for approval later in 2019.
A panel of experts spoke at the March 2019 meeting on responsibly sourced supply chains for metals and minerals. Speakers included:
- Matthew Wenban-Smith, Executive Director of ResponsibleSteel™ (RS)
- Steve D’Esposito, President of Resolve
- Anne-Marie Fleury, Director of Standards and Impacts at Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC)
Matthew Wenban-Smith presented an overview of RS noting that there is general consensus on issues important to responsible sourcing (e.g., human rights, labour rights, children’s rights, Indigenous rights, transparency, corruption, GHG emissions). Downstream demand for responsible sourcing has been fragmented as some focus on brand and risk management rather than responsible sourcing. Civil society has also been narrowly focused on individual issues rather than coordinating across the mining sector. With respect to mining, tailings dam management has become much more important to investors, shareholders and directors following the Brumadinho dam failure. Wenban-Smith noted that there is an opportunity to begin coordinating efforts on responsible sourcing as pan-industry interest is driven by big leaders such as Apple, Tiffany’s and building developers.
Steve D’Esposito shared that Canada was an early mover in responsible sourcing through TSM. The move to responsible sourcing is being supported from both top-down and bottom-up approaches. Downstream and investment communities are demanding responsible sourcing; TSM is an example of a bottom-up approach being promoted and used internationally. Drivers for responsible sourcing include growing demand for materials, climate change, weaker government capacity in some cases, and continued acceleration of businesses operating globally. Responsible sourcing is driven by conflict minerals including diamonds, gold and battery metals such as cobalt, electronic companies’ need for conflict-free metals and now by the need for minerals required to support the transformation of economies to clean energy.
Anne-Marie Fleury noted that RJC is comprised of predominantly downstream organizations but includes representation from mining, refining, cutting and polishing, and retail. RJC is trying to develop a common language on responsible businesses practices across the supply chain. Currently RJC is discussing with MAC the development of a joint audit protocol demonstrating interoperability between TSM and RJC standards.
In the discussion following the presentations, COI Panel members expressed interest in continuing dialogue on responsible sourcing in the future.
OTHER PANEL BUSINESS
The Panel shared reflections on lessons learned from the October 2018 meeting and PVR sessions, including:
- The merits and implications of combining PVRs with site visits; and
- Ways to better prepare for PVRs to ensure that potentially sensitive issues are appropriately identified, and efforts are taken to ensure a safe space is created to address these issues during PVR dialogue.
The Panel also discussed and implemented improvements to the Panel Renewal process, including ensuring selection criteria for each position is clearly articulated prior to circulating the Calls for Nominations, and clarifying the process for selecting and recommending candidates.
The Panel selected Vale and New Gold as the two companies that will undergo post-verification review in 2019. The Panel discussed the suggestion to focus the fall 2019 meeting on mineral exploration, which will be convened in Montreal.
AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE
Each year a sub-committee of the Panel awards companies for outstanding achievement in social and environmental excellence. This year’s recipients demonstrated innovative best practices in Indigenous and community engagement and in response to climate change. Glencore’s Tamatumani program at its Raglan Mine and IAMGOLD’s huge solar power installations in Burkina Faso placed first among some very impressive candidates. A panel member presented the awards at the CIM conference in Montreal.
EXPANDING TSM INTERNATIONALLY
Mining industry associations outside Canada continue to adopt the TSM model for application in other countries, including in Finland, Argentina, Botswana, Spain, the Philippines and Brazil. Some COI Panel members in Ottawa and Toronto met with a representative of the Australian mining industry association in 2018 – 19 to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of TSM and the potential adoption of TSM.
PANEL MEMBERSHIP CHANGES AND REFLECTIONS
Joy Kennedy and Doug Olthuis will be completing their terms in the Panel by December 2019. Sujane Kandasamy and Jocelyn Fraser were welcomed to the Panel in January 2019.