Towards Sustainable Mining: taking ESG accountability to a new level

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About the Minerals Council of Australia

The MCA is the leading advocate for Australia's world class minerals industry, promoting and enhancing sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. The MCA represents a world-leading minerals sector that is dynamic, diverse, sustainable and valued by all Australians. Read more.

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The Australian minerals industry has adopted Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM), an award-winning accountability framework which helps minerals companies evaluate, manage and communicate their sustainability performance.

Adopting the independently verified system will reinforce the sector’s commitment to continuous improvement in safety, environmental and social governance (ESG).

TSM strengthens Enduring Value – the Australian minerals industry’s sustainable development framework – by providing a consistent approach to assess and communicate site level performance in a transparent and accountable way.

Understanding and communicating this performance consistently and transparently benefits local communities, government, investors, companies and customers, supporting trust and enhancing confidence in industry performance.

What is TSM?

Established in 2004 by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), TSM provides sustainability tools and indicators to help companies responsibly manage environmental, social and governance performance and record and drive performance.  

The framework’s guiding principles and protocols cover three core areas:

  • Communities and People: Indigenous and Community relationships, Safety and Health, Crisis Management and Communication Planning, Preventing Child and Forced Labour
  • Environmental Stewardship: Biodiversity Conservation Management, Tailings Management, Water Stewardship
  • Climate Change: performance targets and management.

A consistent set of scoring indicators allows companies to benchmark performance against good practice and inform measurable and meaningful improvements over time.

Greater community confidence through accountability

TSM will help local communities to know more about mining site level where mining occurs and independently verified on a regular basis

  • Transparency: Site performance is publicly reported against standardised protocols and indicators to enable measurable and meaningful results
  • Credibility: TSM is overseen by a national Community of Interest (COI) Advisory Panel, an independent multi-stakeholder group to oversee and shape the program for continuous improvement.

How will TSM be implemented?

TSM in Australia will be administered by the MCA. Like Enduring Value, TSM will be a future condition for MCA membership. The first phase of the five-year implementation plan will adapt TSM for Australian requirements, establish governance arrangements and complete industry training and testing.

From 2025, members will be required to assess and publicly report on their performance against TSM indicators. Independent verification will occur every three years, and the COI will review selected operations on a rotating basis. TSM protocols will be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure relevance and the evolution of good practice under the guidance of the COI.

Company reporting along with information on national industry performance will be made available on the MCA website.

How does TSM fit with Enduring Value?

MCA members commit to the implementation of Enduring Value, which provides corporate-level guidance on the implementation of the International Council on Mining and Metals 10 Principles for Sustainable Development. The TSM system takes this commitment one step further by enabling companies to consistently assess and report site level performance on issues of greatest relevance to Australian operations and their communities.

This page will be updated as TSM resources are developed and/or adapted for Australian implementation and a Community of Interest Panel Advisory Panel is established to guide the program.