Canada: Towards Sustainable Mining

Dec 17th, 2010 | By | Category: Canada, Environmental Management, Sustainability

Since 2004, members of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) have been required to implement MAC’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative. This initiative requires member companies to implement programs to meet requirements under the following performance indicators:

  • Tailings Management
  • Energy Use and GHG Emissions Management
  • Crisis Management Planning
  • External Outreach

Many mining companies are applying TSM to their locations outside of Canada to provide international consistency and greater transparency to stakeholders.

Towards Sustainable Mining Requirements

MAC requires all member companies to adopt TSM and conduct self-assessment of the performance indicators annually. Every third year companies are required to complete third party verification of their self-assessment results. Verification activities are part of the governance process. They are conducted to provide transparency and build public confidence in the reported self-assessment results.

MAC has launched additional performance indicators that were not previously subject to reporting. These include a Biodiversity and a Safety and Health protocol, which will require self-assessments in 2011. Verification must be conducted in 2013.

New protocols are under development for Mine Closure and Water Management.


Verification must be conducted in accordance with MAC’s Terms of Reference (TOR) for Verification Service Providers (VSP) dated June 10, 2010. The TOR requires that verification be conducted by a registered VSP.

Timelines and Reporting

For 2011, self assessments must be completed and submitted to MAC by March 11, 2011. For those Sites requiring verification, verified results must be submitted by April 15, 2011.


Environmental Resources Management (ERM) has provided verification services to more than 15 mining companies within Canada. Based on our experience, we recommend that new member companies and those companies that have not yet reported conduct an initial gap assessment to identify areas that must be improved prior to conducting the self-assessment and verification.

About the Author

Judy Fedorowick is a partner at Environmental Resources Management in Toronto, Canada. She has more than seventeen years of experience in EHS consulting with a focus on EHS compliance auditing, management systems and due diligence associated with mergers and acquisitions. ERM has provided verification services to Mining Association of Canada members since 2008 and has represented MAC members at the annual TSM community of interest advisory panel. ERM has certified Verification Service Providers on staff and has experience assessing, developing and managing other assurance frameworks such as the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) and Global Reporting Initiative.

Photograph:   Building Activity by Engindeniz, Turkey.

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