Sustainable mining

Companies in the sector incorporate ESG practices into their Operations


By Sérgio Siscaro

The increasing concern with aspects related to the environment, society and governance (ESG) has caused a growing number of companies, from the most diverse sectors of activity, to seek to incorporate these criteria into their day-to-day activities. In the case of sectors that have a negative track record with regard to these issues, the need to “turn the key” and adopt sustainable practices is more urgent.

Companies in Canada’s mining industry realized this many years ago, and have been offsetting their impacts on the environment and the communities where they operate since before the acronym ESG became popular. This focus on sustainability was formalized almost two decades ago when mining companies adopted a set of principles, Towards Sustainable Mining, which already called for good environmental practices, health and safety (both for employees and residents of the communities surrounding the operations), and an active role in social engagement.

This engagement was quite clear to visitors of the latest edition of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, which took place between June 13 and 15, presentially, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, in Toronto, and in virtual format, on June 28 and 29. The Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada (CCBC) sent a delegation of businessmen to the event – as it had already done before the restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to hold the presential convention.

TMX Group welcomed the Brazilian delegation during PDAC 2022

Responsible care

With a visiting audience of over 17,000 people, this year’s edition of the PDAC convention included the Sustainability Program panel discussion series, specifically focused on the theme of sustainable mining, in order to facilitate dialogue among the various stakeholders involved in the activity and address issues of interest – such as the relationship between decarbonization and investor expectations, supply chains, community relations, and the use of digital tools, among others.

Two other initiatives contributed to reinforce the role of sustainability at the convention: Mining for Diversity, which promoted two debate sessions on diversity in mining (one face-to-face and one virtual), and the Indigenous Program, through which mutually beneficial relationships between native peoples’ communities and the mining industry were discussed.

The 2022 Sustainability Award was also presented to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated initiative, leadership or results in protecting and preserving the environment or establishing good relations with the local community during mining operations. The award-winning company was Sabina Gold & Silver Corporation, for its work in protecting the local reindeer population and for the social initiatives at its gold mining project in the Nunavut territory.

This sustainable vision has been the subject of collaboration between Canada and Brazil. Last October, a joint initiative of CCBC and the Canadian government shared information on the subject at the virtual event Canada at the Forefront of Sustainable Mining. On the occasion, the Canadian General Consul in Rio de Janeiro, David Verbiwski, addressed Canadian collaboration in the application of more sustainable practices in Brazil. He recalled, for example, the cooperation agreement signed in 2019 between the Brazilian Mining Institute (Ibram) and the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), whose objective is to bring to the Brazilian mining sector the sustainability principles applied by Canadian companies.

Exposibram

A closer comparison between Canada’s mining sector and Brazil’s will be made by the participants of the PDAC convention in September, when a mission, organized by CCBC, will take place to the next edition of the Brazilian Mining Expo & Congress (Exposibram), to be held between September 12 and 15 in Belo Horizonte (MG).

Considered one of the largest mining exhibitions in Latin America, the fair is organized by Ibram and brings together the players in the mining production chain in the country – including mining companies, manufacturers, suppliers of machinery, equipment and services, and research institutions and universities, in addition to business and government delegations from various countries. Like the PDAC convention, this year’s Exposibram returns to a face-to-face format after three years.

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