In mining, data disclosure is vital. This is because transparency is becoming increasingly important in the mining sphere. The public and consumers want companies to be more honest in their processes. They want to know that these companies are operating responsibly.
PDAC is drawing to an end soon, and one of the pressing topics explored was data disclosure and responsible mining. The Responsible Mining Index (RMI) sets a standard for mining companies. As per the RMI, responsible mining practices adhere to six categories:
- Economic development
- Business conduct
- Lifecycle management
- Community wellbeing
- Working conditions
- Environmental responsibility
This environmental, economic, social and governance data is referred to as EESG. The RMI recommends disclosure of EESG data and assesses companies based on their adherence to responsible mining guidelines. Data disclosure is becoming increasingly more important in mining, because it demonstrates to the consumer that a company’s practices are honest.
The simplicity of data disclosure
Is transparency as easy as being explicit with the data you possess? Reporting on your company’s processes in their entirety, whether they are positive or negative?
Data disclosure is important – but so is responsible mining. The two must go hand-in-hand. So, a company’s EESG data needs to show constant improvement and positive policies. The data also needs to be understandable and presented in a way that is consumable for the average person.
According to the RMI report, the highest performing companies are those who implement their own EESG management policies. RMI rates miners based on both their responsible mining practices and their ability to disclose these practices.
Therefore, a company’s reputation may not only be reflective of their practices, but also to what degree they disclose information. A company who has good practices but doesn’t disclose them still remains in ambiguity.
Data along the supply chain
Consequently, data disclosure affects not only the consumer but also the manufacturer.
A company may source minerals from a miner. The manufacturer wants to demonstrate transparency, but the miner doesn’t disclose their data. While the manufacturer itself wants transparency, it is missing a point of the supply chain.
Therefore, mining data disclosure is integral.
Technology like blockchain can make – and is already making – this easier; however, the mining company still needs to be compliant with the technology. This means providing the data so that the entire chain can become more visible.
Data disclosure is integral for the sustainability of mining operations. This includes the effect on communities and biodiversity, other environmental effects and the assurance of ethical labour.
The major issues
One of the major problems in data disclosure can be attributed to information on a local level. This is mine site data that displays a miner’s effect on the environment, local employment and communities.
Even when there is some degree of reporting, many mining companies seem to take little interest in these topics.
What’s the best way to solve this problem?
The solution is twofold:
First, the miner must implement policies that cater to these topics and foster positive growth.
Secondly, the miner must collect and disclose the data in an accessible, understandable way.
The RMI provides a useful framework against which companies can compare themselves. This can also allow them to better improve their processes. Technology like AI, machine learning and blockchain can make data disclosure easier. The process doesn’t have to be difficult.
Data disclosure and demonstration of responsible mining is integral for the future of mining’s sustainability and prosperity. That future starts here. Click here to find out about STAMP.