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Australian minerals sector introduces Towards Sustainable Mining

Towards Sustainable Mining

Australia’s minerals industry will introduce the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) system to further improve site-level performance through regular and transparent reporting on mining safety, environmental and social indicators, including partnerships with First Nations landholders and communities.

Adopting TSM – developed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and implemented worldwide among key mining nations – will support companies in demonstrating site-level safety, sustainability and environmental, social and governance performance through better measurement and accountability. TSM will also show how operations engage with Traditional Owners while supporting social and economic aspirations and heritage protection.  

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Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) CEO Tania Constable said the phased introduction of TSM as an expectation of MCA membership 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.

TSM builds on existing commitments to Enduring Value – the Australian minerals industry’s corporate-level sustainable development framework – by providing a consistent and independently verified approach to assess and communicate site level performance, supporting trust and enhancing confidence in the industry’s sustainability credentials.  

‘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 in the industry,’ Ms Constable said.

MAC CEO Pierre Gratton said: ‘TSM has led to better outcomes for mining communities in Canada and around the world, and 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 increasingly global reach and power to improve sustainability by 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.

The program was established in 2004 by MAC 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, with its core strengths including:  

  • Accountability: Participation in TSM will be an expectation for all MCA members for their Australian operations, with assessments conducted at the facility level where the mining activity takes place
  • Transparency: Members will publicly report their performance in line with standardised protocols and indicators
  • Credibility: TSM includes ongoing consultation with a national Community of Interest Advisory Panel, an independent multi-stakeholder group, to oversee and shape the program for continual advancement.

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AMSJ April 2022