Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM)

Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM) is a strategy created by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) to improve the mining industry’s performance with respect to sustainability and social responsibility.  

MAC has developed performance indicators to evaluate Canadian mining companies in 4 areas:

  1. Energy use and GHG emissions management
  2. External outreach
  3. Tailings management
  4. Crisis management planning

Two additional areas of evaluation, Aboriginal relations and Biodiversity, are in development. Evaluation and ranking criteria are clearly specified.

An Energy and GHG Emissions Management Guidance document is also available.

Key indicators evaluated are:

  • Energy use management and reporting systems
  • Energy use reporting targets
  • GHG emissions management and reporting systems
  • GHG emissions targets

The management document includes reporting forms, conversion factors, checklists, case studies, and information on federal and provincial incentive programs.

The Energy and Emissions Management document is a core component of the ongoing implementation and development of the TSM program, providing both management and technical guidance for operations and project managers, environmental personnel and corporate leaders.

The document outlines the verification requirements and provides methods to meet regulatory requirements, develop reporting strategies and managing costs.

External Outreach indicators evaluated include:

  • Community of Interest (COI) identification
  • Effective engagement
  • Established community response mechanism
  • Reporting on community relationships

Tailings Management indicators evaluated include:

  • Policy and commitment
  • Tailings management system
  • Assigned accountability and responsibility
  • Annual review
  • Operation, maintenance, and surveillance

Crisis Management indicators evaluated include:

  • Preparedness
  • Review of current crisis management plan
  • Level of appropriate annual training

Results published in TSM progress reports were initially based on self-assessments. An external verification process was implemented in 2007, after which the existing company self-assessments were vetted by an external party.

This process also requires the CEO or other officer of a given company to produce a letter of assurance regarding the verified results.

An advisory panel comprised of representatives from labour groups, Aboriginal community leaders, mining organizations and CSOs has been established within the TSM strategy to monitor member company performance. The 2009 progress report highlights the performance of 17 member companies.