Accountable mineral exploration covers the entire life span of mineral exploration, from the planning of mineral exploration to the aftercare. The accountability system provides companies practical instructions for sustainable actions at every stage of mineral exploration. The system also enables us to assess and to verify the commitment of member companies to the common rules of game. The mineral exploration system consists of common policies and three assessment tools, covering the entire life span of mineral exploration, phase by phase.
The mineral exploration accountability system comprises policies that the companies committed to the accountability system adhere to at each and every stage of mineral exploration. The policies of the mineral exploration accountability system are listed below.
1. Companies actions are transparent
2. Companies adhere to the best practices of mineral exploration and undertake to continuously improve their actions
3. Companies limit the negative impacts of their actions on the communities, environment of the adjacent areas and on the biodiversity to the minimum
4. Companies respect the surrounding community and take into consideration the community’s culture and ways of life
5. Companies maintain active dialogue with the interest groups, and the interest groups participate in developing the principles of sustainable mineral exploration
6. Companies shall not risk the health and safety of their employees and the communities in the adjacent areas
7. Companies take care of the aftercare subsequent to mineral exploration in a responsible manner
Mineral exploration companies may assess, monitor and develop their own actions by means of three assessment tools. The assessment tools comprise entities pertaining to interest groups, environment and safety of mineral exploration.
Companies committed to the mineral exploration system explore and identify the social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts of their actions on the local communities. In their actions, the companies adhere to the principles of open communications, promoting the possibilities of the interest groups to participate in creating, developing and application of the companies’ policies in a manner taking also the interest groups’ needs into consideration. In the Sámi Homeland and in reindeer herding area, the special characteristics and rights of these particular interest groups shall be taken into consideration.
Companies committed to the mineral exploration system adhere to such policies and working methods that ensure effective administration of environmental matters and the preservation of diversity of nature at all stages of mineral exploration. The companies operate adhering at the minimum to the No Net Loss principle, pursuing the Net Positive Impact principle.
The aim of the companies adhering to the mineral exploration system is to ensure that the employees of the companies and their subcontractors return home safely and healthy after each working day. The companies actively promote their employees’ health and well-being both at work and outside of it. The company’s actions shall not cause either harm to the safety of other parties operating in the area and visiting it. Practices pertaining to them shall be developed in cooperation with interest groups. The companies shall ensure the safety of exploration areas also after the termination of the operations. Based on the safety assessment the companies shall determine the actions to eliminate risk factors caused by mineral exploration. The companies shall provide the interest groups an opportunity to participate in the follow-up inspection of the area.
The accountability of mineral exploration shall be evaluated by means of the self-assessment of the mineral exploration accountability system. Companies committed to the accountability system carry out self-assessment annually. The purpose of self-assessment is to instruct companies in the planning and execution of entities pertaining to responsible mineral exploration. The self-assessment of the accountability system shall not function only as a proper tool for mineral exploration companies operating in Finland to develop responsibility, but also as a guide for companies coming to Finland to help them to start their operations. The result of the self-assessment provides a concrete assessment about the accountability of actions, guiding also to develop the actions in different areas pertaining to the accountability of mineral exploration.
Verification of results
The results of the self-assessments pertaining to the mineral exploration accountability system shall be verified at three years’ intervals. Only persons approved by the Sustainable Mining Network may act as parties verifying the results. The verification process has been established in order to ensure that self-assessment reporting carried out by the companies committed to the system is logical, accurate and open.