Small and mid-tier miners accused of withholding ESG information

24 January 2019 (Last Updated January 24th, 2019 17:03)

Several Toronto-listed small and mid-tier mining companies do not properly disclose environmental, social and governance (ESG) information related to their mine sites in nine countries, according to a report released by the Amsterdam-based Responsible Mining Foundation.

Several Toronto-listed small and mid-tier mining companies do not properly disclose environmental, social and governance (ESG) information related to their mine sites in nine countries, according to a report released by the Amsterdam-based Responsible Mining Foundation.

The offending companies have sites in Australia, Burkina Faso, Canada, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Kyrgyz Republic, and Suriname.

The report analysed mine-site level disclosures of 12 companies and their 31 mine sites located across nine countries.

It analysed 15 key environmental, social and governance issues of public interest, known as ESG.

The report found the disclosure of ESG data is generally weak and only three out of the 31 mine sites could score over 25%.

The foundation added that stronger disclosure of ESG data is possible for many of them, and without much extra effort.

In a media statement, the study’s lead researcher Pierre de Pasquale said: “Where companies do publish site-level ESG information, the data is often presented in ways that reduce its usefulness to stakeholders. This includes, for example, environmental data shared without information on where and when pollution levels exceeded limit values.”

The study found better disclosure in those countries that have a clear government regulation on reporting.

Pasquale added: “Similarly, sites that are subject to requests from shareholders or investors to align their practices with international initiatives and reporting standards, also tend to show stronger ESG data disclosure.”

According to the report, one reason for weak reporting is that the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange do not have any requirements on ESG information disclosure, even though they offer non-binding recommendations based on standard Canadian regulations.

“The report analysed mine-site-level disclosure by 12 companies and their 31 mine sites located across nine countries.”

Performances of the companies were found to be poor with regard to revealing information about working conditions.

Several firms could not indicate whether they have an effective grievance mechanisms or provisions for safety equipment for all workers.

According to Pasquale, it is essential to improve such conditions and reporting on these  aspects are important to develop trust-based relationships with workers, governments, communities, investors and shareholders.