The Asia Miner

JAN-MAR 2019

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 16 • issue 1 10 LEADING DEVELOPMENTS A new study by the Responsible Mining Foundaঞon reveals weak disclosure of environmental, social and governance informaঞon by Toronto-listed small and mid-ঞer companies with mine sites in Australia, Burkina Faso, Canada, the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Kyrgyz Republic and Suriname. The study assesses mine-site-level disclosure by 12 mining companies and their 31 mine sites located across nice countries. The assessment covers 15 key environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues of strong public interest. The results highlight a wide variaঞon in disclosure levels, but also that stronger disclosure is within reach of many companies. Overall, the scores on mine-site-level disclosure of ESG data are low, with an average score of 11 per cent, and only three of the 31 mine sites scoring over 25per cent. "Where companies do publish site-level ESG informaঞon, the data is o[en presented in ways that reduce its usefulness to stakeholders," explains Pierre de Pasquale, lead researcher of the study at the Responsible Mining Foundaঞon. "This includes, for example, environmental data shared without informaঞon on where and when polluঞon levels exceeded limit values." According to the study, government regulaঞon of reporঞng clearly helps drive stronger disclosure on, for instance, impact assessments or closure plans. Similarly, sites that are subject to requests from shareholders or investors to align their pracঞces with internaঞonal iniঞaঞves and reporঞng standards, also tend to show stronger ESG data disclosure. It is worth noঞng that the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange, with the largest number of listed mining companies in the world, do not have any requirements in terms of ESG data disclosure by mining companies beyond the standard Canadian regulaঞons, though it does provide non-binding recommendaঞons. The weakest results of the study relate to working condiঞons. Many of the companies referenced are not able to demonstrate that they ensure the provision of appropriate safety equipment for all workers, or that they have effecঞve grievance mechanisms in place for their workforce. The study does, however, highlight encouraging examples of leading pracঞce in systemaঞc engagement with mining- affected communiঞes on the results of environmental impact assessments, and on the tesঞng of emergency response plans. ESG reporting shows major gaps but encouraging signs are on the horizon Cougar Metals has undertaken a test work programme on an innovaঞve h y d ro m e t a l l u rg i c a l extracঞon process for potenঞal implementaঞon at its Pyke Hill nickel cobalt laterite project located east of Leonora in Western Australia. To date, the test uঞlised historic reverse circulaঞon (RC) drill spoil taken from the surface at Pyke Hill. Following a detailed review of the iniঞal programme, the company determined that a more detailed series was warranted, leading to a drilling programme being designed to retrieve representaঞve metallurgical scale samples from the high-grade nickel and cobalt zones for use in the next phase of test work. The hydrometallurgical extracঞon process was developed by Dr Willer Pos, a former director of AngloGold Ashanঞ in Brazil, who originally devised the process routes to extract metals from secondary sources. These processes have been adapted for the extracঞon of a range of metals from varying ore types, including nickel and cobalt from laterites. The hydrometallurgical process is yet to be fully opঞmised and currently uঞlises a short leach ঞme of less than 30 minutes conducted at atmospheric pressure and with no addiঞonal heat. According to Cougar, commercial operaঞon with these parameters would result in a significantly lower capital expenditure requirement compared to current and other alternaঞve processing opঞons. Cougar's Execuঞve Chairman, Randal Swick says that Cougar are very encouraged by the iniঞal results, seeing the potenঞal that the process can provide Cougar with near- term, low cost route to producঞon at Pyke Hill. "One of the key factors on the path to commercialisaঞon will be determining of the process can be appropriately scaled, and we are in the final stages of planning a follow up test work programme that will allow us to gain a cleared understanding of this important aspect," says Mr Swick. Further updates of the outcomes will be released by the company as they arise. Cougar trials innovative hydrometallurgical extraction process

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