C&E Society to review community and environmental aspects of JORC and VALMIN Codes

  • By Glen Corder

The Community and Environment Society committee are investigating how their expertise, experience and knowledge can help strengthen the JORC and VALMIN Codes in relation to community and environmental aspects.

To complete the short survey, please click here.

Background

While these aspects are mentioned in both Codes, the Society committee believes these are not currently covered in sufficient detail given the growing impact that these issues have on the potential viability of the development of projects and sustainability of operations.

An important point is that a Competent Person for either the JORC or VALMIN Codes makes a legal declaration and should have experience and knowledge or at least be informed by experts so that they have a detailed appreciation of community, social and environmental issues when working with the Codes.

The increased community focus on social, environmental and indigenous aspects of projects has been material in the industry genuinely improving its performance in these areas. The impacts of community and environmental issues have been highlighted in recent studies. One study stated that conflict with local communities resulted in lost productivity due to temporary shutdowns or delays. For a mining project with capital expenditure of between US$3-5 billion, this translated to costs of roughly US$20 million per week of delayed production in Net Present Value (NPV) terms (Franks et al., 2014).

Additionally, a recent annual mining survey (Fraser Institute, 2013) found 36 per cent of the respondents indicated that public opposition to mining affected the permitting and/or approval process for any projects with which their company was directly involved. Of those 36 per cent, 24 per cent indicated that the delay was 2 to 4 years, 18 per cent indicated that the delay was more than 4 years and 21 per cent said that their permitting and/or approval process was rejected.

The Community and Environment Society plan to undertake the following actions, some of which would be conducted through a dedicated sub-committee:

  • survey AusIMM members through the fortnightly newsletter for contributions on improvements to both Codes
  • comment on future editions of JORC and VALMIN – the new VALMIN draft is currently released for public comment
  • develop a set of FAQs to assist professionals working with the Codes to improve the inclusion of community/social and environmental aspects
  • identify good and bad case studies related to community/social and environmental issues
  • present at future Monograph 30 Roadshows to increase the understanding of the community and environmental aspects of the Codes throughout the industry
  • identify good examples/papers that could contribute to future Monograph 30 editions.

This is a significant initiative by the Society and could have major implications when completing JORC and VALMIN statements. For further information please contact Glen Corder (g.corder@smi.uq.edu.au) or Jo Heyes (Joanne.JL.Heyes@BHPBilliton.com).

References

Franks, D M, Davis, R, Bebbington, A J, Ali, S H, Kemp, D & Scurrah, M. 2014. Conflict translates environmental and social risk into business costs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fraser Institute 2013. Survey of Mining Companies 2013. In: McCahon, K. (ed.). The Fraser Institute.

Note

The JORC Code provides guidance on the classification and Public Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves reporting according to the levels of confidence in geological knowledge and technical and economic considerations. The VALMIN Code sets out requirements for the technical assessment and valuation of mineral and petroleum assets and securities for independent expert reports. The AusIMM is a member of both the JORC and VALMIN Committees.

 

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