Equivalency Benchmark: Towards Sustainable Mining

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Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) is the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) commitment to responsible mining. Mandatory for all MAC members, TSM requires the assessment and independent validation of 30 distinct and in-depth performance indicators addressing eight critical aspects of social and environmental mine, smelter and refinery site-level performance. MAC members publicly report their performance against the program’s 30 indicators annually. In recent years, other mining associations around the world have adopted TSM and are in different stages of program implementation (Spain, Finland, Norway, Botswana, Argentina, Brazil and the Philippines). TSM is also overseen by an independent community of interest or stakeholder advisory panel in each country.

In addition to the TSM protocols, which are applied as a condition of membership by the national associations or mining chambers that have adopted TSM, MAC is finalizing an additional tool called the Responsible Sourcing Alignment Supplement. This tool is applied on a voluntary basis and is intended to enable participating facilities to meet the additional requirements included in the ICMM Mining Principles, Responsible Gold Mining Principles, Copper Mark and Risk Readiness Assessment through the TSM reporting and assurance processes. Facilities that include this supplement in their TSM reporting and assurance process will be able to meet all of the requirements for both TSM and the ICMM Mining Principles as well as the additional standards with a single reporting and assurance process. Information on and access to this supplement will be available on MAC’s website in the near future.


The purpose of this and other equivalency benchmarks is to:

Basis for assessing equivalency

The assessment of equivalency has been made based on whether or not a requirement, or a combination of requirements from TSM’s Protocols, covers the same scope of activities and intended outcomes for each of the Performance Expectations associated with ICMM’s Mining Principles, including the individual company member commitments contained within ICMM’s Position Statements. This can be the case even if there are minor differences in the detail or language used.

Using these tables for joint implementation or cross-recognition

These tables can be used to inform what an asset will need to do in order to meet the requirements of both ICMM’s Mining Principles and TSM’s Protocols and could inform joint validation for both schemes (recognising that in all cases, users should refer to the ICMM Validation Guidance and TSM Guiding Principles).

Alternatively, for ICMM member assets which have undergone third party validation through the TSM Protocols in the last three years, will be ‘recognised’ through this validation and will not need to be repeated given the validation for those requirements are deemed equivalent in this table and conformance has already been demonstrated under the TSM Protocols.

In this case, the asset could refer to the table below to complete its self-assessment and third party validation for ICMM’s Mining Principles which provides the equivalency assessment outcome for each individual TSM Protocol. In the equivalency column of ICMM’s self-assessment form the asset can indicate whether the requirements of the TSM Protocols ‘partially meet’ or ‘meet’ (including ‘exceeds’) any given Performance Expectation. The asset must provide evidence that it is in conformance with the relevant requirements of the TSM Protocols as listed in this table for that Performance Expectation. If the Performance Expectation is ‘partially met’ by the TSM Protocol’s requirements, the highlighted text and notes in the main benchmark table will say what additional evidence is needed to meet the Performance Expectation.