ESG comes to junior mining
Exploration companies need not get left behind and can adopt some environmental social governance principles (ESG), said Kendra Johnston, president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration.
Johnston spoke to Kitco last week.
Some miners have been aggressively aligning around environmental goals. Earlier this month Teck said it plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. BHP, the world's largest miner, linked CEO pay to meeting goals tied to climate change.
It is a little bit more difficult for the juniors to embark on ESG work, said Johnston. The work can have a smaller, less visible impact that is harder to measure compared to a mine's tailing facility. Johnston notes that mine operations are carefully tracked. Juniors, less so.
But juniors can still look at diversity within its governance, boards and workforce.
"That's a relatively easy thing to track at any level," said Johnston.
Earlier this year AME released research on the public's perception of mining in B.C. It found that nearly two-thirds of British Columbians (63%) believe mineral exploration and mining industries have a role to play in achieving the provincial government’s 2040 zero emissions target.
Respondents were also asked whether environmental protection or economic growth is more important to them. A majority of those who prioritize economic growth believe that mineral exploration and mining industries are key to reaching the zero-emissions target, with two-thirds of this group reporting that mineral exploration and mining industries ultimately provide the raw materials required to transition to low carbon technologies and other climate solutions necessary for a sustainable future. A majority of those who prioritize environmental protection over economic growth also reported that these industries will have a key role in reaching the zero-emissions target.