Jane Joughin - The Neglected Subject of Compliance
Updated: May 31
Most mining industry stakeholders have little comprehension of the number of environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance obligations that mines have and there is no measure of the level of compliance being achieved by different mines. This talk looks at the hundreds of compliance obligations incurred in permitting processes and how well conformance with these obligations is tracked.
The types of compliance obligations covered by the talk are illustrated in the image below. Some mining companies manage compliance proactively; they pay attention to commitments made in permitting processes, negotiating fewer and smarter commitments, and they monitor compliance using registers and databases. Others neglect their compliance obligations. Reasons for this range from a genuine lack of awareness that obligations are being/ have been created, through a loss of institutional memory, to a lack of prioritisation and/or regulatory enforcement pressure.
Lack of compliance can have serious legal consequences, such as suspension of operations withdrawal of permits to operate and even cancellation of mineral rights. Increasingly, minerals and environmental legislation provides for this.
Resources allocated by companies to compliance tracking often do not match the vast number of compliance obligations and risks arising from non-compliance. Regulatory reviews and external audits also frequently neglect meaningful review of compliance because of resource or budget constraints. Lack of compliance is often only revealed when there are major incidents or accidents.
The talk also considers how the plethora of new standards imposed on the mining industry by the financial community influence compliance.
Figure 1: Types of compliance obligations covered by the talk (the obligations do vary in nature and materiality in different jurisdictions
Jane Joughin MSc – Corporate Consultant
Jane has 28 years of experience providing sustainability consulting services to the mining industry, mostly in Africa, Europe and Central Asia. She has worked on over 35 mine ESIAs and several ESIAs for dam, road and railway developments. She has extensive auditing experience and has overseen compliance audits and due diligence reviews of over 100 of mining projects/ operations.
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