A Framework for Assessing How a Mine/Mineral Project Contributes to Sustainability


Anthony Hodge,

Development of a “test” or “assessment framework” for sustainability is contentious and has emerged as a key issue in the last three years for mining companies, the financial services industry, regulators, First Nations/Native Americans, communities, and non-government organizations. To date, developments on this front have almost all occurred in highly adversarial “hearing” environments in which a real project or a real community is at stake (example: the Voisey’s Bay, Tulsequah Chief projects). The recent Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD) North America project, convened as part of the Global Mining Initiative, attempted to, as one of the main streams of activities, define a practical sustainability assessment framework for existing or proposed mine/mineral projects. A spin-off of from completing such a framework is to generate the criteria and principles for a practical system of performance measurement and progress assessment towards sustainability over time, not only as it applies to a project proponent or manager but also as it applies to communities and other key interests. This paper outlines both the process leading up to the development of the assessment framework and the outcome in terms of the framework itself. It is believed that a “test” such as this will go a long way towards grounding the concepts of sustainable development in a practical and useful way.
Keywords: communities, Sustainability, Mine/Mineral Project, First Nations, MMSD, NGO, Assessment Framework, financial, GMI, Sustainable development