Epitacio Robledo - How to ESG: Environmental & Social Baseline
Updated: May 12, 2021
Clifton Associates Mexico –
Natural Environment S. C.
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The mining sector recognizes environmental and social elements as part of the overall thinking to the point where we must begin to consider this as a business imperative.
Environmental and social baseline studies comprise the appropriate investigations in the area of interest, area of potential interactions, and the region. The studies are designed to compile data, characterizations, and investigations that will be used for project planning, design, feasibility, impact assessment, permitting and, foremost, as an active asset to add value and reduce potential risk to the investment.
The environmental and social baseline includes a record of initial conditions, identification of trends, issues, and potential conflicts, background information for project design, impact assessment, permitting and starting ground for monitoring programs, and the design and implementation of set asides and offsets (mitigation, protection, and compensation).
Environmental characterization and potential social conflicts tend to be intimately associated, which in turn translates into a pressing need to build a solid baseline that allows for the appropriate assessment and differentiation between real impacts and perceived impacts. A well-executed and documented baseline study will ease the concerns with surrounding communities regarding perceived impacts at an early stage of the project, before these become a source of conflict and potential risk to project development.
Baseline studies should begin as soon as a decision is made about exploring a potential mining asset, built along with drilling programs and evolved as the decision-making process advances. The baseline studies should be designed and executed by a multidisciplinary team in multi-seasonal campaigns covering fluctuations and trends.
Mining companies, especially the larger corporations, when considering potential joint Ventures, mergers, and acquisitions, are increasingly demanding well-documented ESB Studies for the target project. The current tendency for present and incoming investors in the mining sector is the consideration of environmental and social topics as key factors in deciding whether or not to invest. A well formulated baseline study can provide important information to investors and shareholders about the responsible approach and good steward of environmental and community affairs. Environmental and social baseline studies are tools that provide valuable support during financing; proper due diligence for a potential investment will include the review of existing studies and a well-documented baseline study, an important asset for the facilitation of funding.
Epitacio Robledo is an environmental engineer and an expert in planning and implementation. He has conducted 21 years of field work, covering the complete range of mine planning, environmental and social baselines, characterization and monitoring, mine reclamation planning, and oversight. Epitacio´s experience ranges from greenfield projects to operations and, ultimately, mine closure from a physical, chemical, and biological stability perspective. Epitacio has been involved in projects from concept level up to the actual operations, maturing client relations for decades (even through management changes), for junior as well as larger mining companies.
He graduated as an environmental engineer in the field of biotechnology from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, and over the years we have collaborated with the following organizations: Fresnillo PLC, GoldCorp, Newmont, Frisco Mining, Grupo Mexico, First Majestic, Pan American Silver, Capstone Gold, Silver Standard, and Fortuna Silver, amongst others.
Clifton Associates Mexico – Natural Environment S.C is an environmental consultancy firm specialized in the Mining Industry operating in Mexico for over 20 years.
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