ESG, short for Environmental, Social and Governance factors are being used more frequently to determine the viability of mining investment, including assessment of risk and growth potential.
Volunteered by an increasing number of companies as part of their annual reporting and through other avenues, non-compulsory ESG measures are expected by a growing number of investors, insurers, lenders, regulators, and the public in areas where mining projects are slated.
Although the release of ESG performance may have once been perceived as a marketing activity, it is increasingly advisable for a growing number of mining corporations to establish a framework that tracks ESG performance, to ensure they are able to report on their Environmental, Social and Governance accountably and in line with public expectation.
While reporting ESG performance is, at this stage in Australia, not always legally enforceable, it is certainly a reflection of the current values in the broader communities in which mining companies operate in the modern-day. To fail to plan for the responses of those that mining corporations hinge on is to set oneself up for failure.
It is worth noting that environmental compliance and Native Title considerations have been implicated in a significant number of rejected tenement applications within our current moment in history.
When seeking to establish mineral exploration or mineral extraction projects, especially in a greenfield context, it is more essential in 2022 than ever before to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities in the legal side of your applications.
To ensure success, it is vital your tenement applications are approached with the utmost understanding of the industry, social consciousness, environmental compliance, and mine work health and safety.
Successful mining operations run like clockwork. To run up against obstacles is to pour money and resources down the drain, due to everything that had been set in motion in anticipation of success. This will not escape the attention of investors, insurers and lenders, and can signal a downward plunge in stock values and overall capital.
It is critical to invest in a tenement management company of experienced mining lawyers that can approach your tenement applications with the expertise and industry knowledge that are called for in this delicate situation where so much is at stake. A mining lawyer such as Hetherington will be able to assist across all aspects of obtaining and maintaining mining or exploration rights.
Mining lawyers can support your operations to get off the ground, by offering advice in connection with environmental and planning approval, coordinating your applications for approvals in light of environmental protection, water management, and land use legislation, and managing statutory reports as part of the ongoing approval process.
They can help to ensure the grant and maintenance of your approvals by reviewing your environmental impact assessments, conducting on-site environmental assessments, determining environmental liability, preparing environmental audits and establishing a plan of operation or program of work that meets stakeholder expectations.
Mining lawyers in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney can also provide legal support to reduce rehabilitation liabilities and negotiation with concerned landowners including in cases of Native title with Indigenous Australians. The very best can also help with the fine details such as road works approvals, water approvals, and vegetation clearing permits.
An expert in the field of mining approvals, mineral exploration approvals, tenements, mine work health and safety, and environmental compliance 10 years ago, or even one year ago for that matter, is not necessarily an expert now. Immense environmental, political and developmental pressures are continuously leading to the evolution of mining rules and regulations, and the systems by which they are administered and enforced.
It takes a mining lawyer who has the industry awareness to have tracked these developments over the years, and who is capable of anticipating new developments by keeping their finger on the pulse and following all the intricacies of news announced in near-hidden reports, courtrooms, and government documents, as well as news that is funnelled down through their extensive and carefully vetted network of associates.
This discussion cannot be had without also acknowledging the variance between states and territories, and even areas within them when it comes to local mining and exploration law and the application, approval and review process.
It takes a mining legal services firm with national representation to truly understand the intra- and inter-state complications of the legal system as it relates to mining. Selecting a mining lawyer of this description can certainly help you if you have plans for expansion across states, but having a lawyer who has a national, or even global, mindset can even help you if you operate on solely one mine in one state.
If you are interested in engaging the services of a mining lawyer, tenement consultant or environmental consultant that can help you to navigate the complexities of the next decade, contact Hetherington today.