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Colombian Mining Association establishes sustainable mining standard

In 2016, Colombia banned all mining activities in its paramo regions (moorlands), which affected about 347 concessions. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

At the closing of Colombia’s National Mining Congress this week, the Asociación Colombiana de Minería (ACM) announced the adoption of Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM), a performance system developed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) that improves environmental and social practices in the mining sector.

As a result, ACM and its affiliated companies, producers of coal, gold, nickel, emeralds, copper, drag materials, cement, limestone, brick-making and industrial minerals in the country, will adopt a set of indicators that will allow them to measure and publicly report on the quality of its management systems.

“To meet the global demand for minerals and metals that we need to build the greener world we dream of, today the Colombian mining industry takes another big step in terms of sustainability, We have been pioneers in good practices worldwide,” Juan Camilo Nariño, President of the ACM said in a media release. “This standard will allow companies to measure and demonstrate their positive impact models in social and environmental matters.”

The ACM joins eight other mining associations around the world, the third in South America together with Brazil and Argentina, in adopting the standard. With MAC’s support, the ACM will tailor TSM’s performance areas to reflect the unique aspects of its mining industry and commits to implementation in the next five years.

TSM is a globally recognized sustainability program that supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. TSM was the first mining sustainability standard in the world to require site-level assessments and is mandatory for all companies that are members of implementing associations.

Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators.

“We feel privileged that Colombia has chosen TSM to drive environmental and social performance in its mining sector and are very proud of TSM’s increasingly global reach,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s CEO in a statement. “The past five years have witnessed TSM’s adoption by other mining associations around the world and the program is now in the process of being implemented in Norway, Finland, Spain, Botswana, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines and Australia, allowing us to say that TSM is a truly global standard.”

Performance in TSM is evaluated across a set of detailed environmental and social performance standards, including climate change, tailings management, water stewardship, Indigenous and community relationships, safety and health, biodiversity conservation, crisis management and preventing child and forced labour. TSM helps drive performance improvement where it counts — at the site level — and contributes to securing support for mining activities from the communities where it operates.