ERM at PDAC 2016: Risk Management in the New Reality of Mining

6 - 9 March 2016

Reality and Rebound

Four years into our current downturn, the resource sector continues its re-structuring to face a ‘new reality’. Many promising new greenfield projects remain undeveloped and still seek financing, while operating assets race to reduce unit costs. In addition, the demand for transparency from stakeholders drives both technical and non-technical accountability. This is particularly top-of-mind as recent fatal and environmental catastrophic events highlighted in the media begin to impact the industry’s credibility, and by association, the brand value of individual companies.

This new reality calls for more - not less - risk management. Risk management is about taking a commercially-minded investment approach when protecting the business from major value erosion events. Cash constraints are not a business justification for tolerating or denying risk. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The companies that can control risk efficiently during the downturn will be those that are ready for the rebound when it comes.

The management of non-technical risks in particular can lend itself as a cost-effective strategy in the downturn, when companies have more time to focus on these needs. As the industry weathers the current drop in the mining super-cycle, companies need to re-evaluate and put actions against their hazards to set them up for success as it recovers.

Learn more about the PDAC Conference

ERM’s Role at PDAC 2016

ERM addressed what approaches the mining industry is taking in response to the changing landscape through multiple forums at the 2016 PDAC Conference, the world’s leading mineral exploration conference.

Sunday, March 6 - Wednesday, March 9

Exhibited at booth #724 throughout the week in the Convention Centre’s South Building

Sunday, March 6

Hosted a session as part of the PDAC CSR Series: Preparing for the Rebound – Strategic Stakeholder Engagement 

Facilitated a panel discussion: Managing Catastrophic Hazards

Monday, March 7

Was a panelist on the PDAC CSR Series: The Beyond Zero Harm Framework – Measuring Community Well-Being

Tuesday, March 8

Was a panelist on the Mining and Integrated Water Management Technical Session: Managing business critical water risks

Was a panelist in the Aboriginal Program Session Exploring key issues in company-community engagement and Aboriginal participation in the mineral industry: The Making of a Successful Environmental Consulting Joint Venture (RTEC) with the Tahltan Development Corp

Wednesday, March 8

Hosted an ERM Workshop: Untying Bowties - Identifying and Using Critical Controls to Manage Risk

Why does ERM Participate at PDAC 2016?

The Mining Sector is a key focus for ERM, as well as rePlan – now an ERM company. Both companies have been long-standing participants at the PDAC conferences and joined forces this year. The conference gave us the opportunity to collaborate with past, present and potential clients. Each year our delegates leave the conference with a deeper understanding of the current mining climate; having substantiated new trends and shared our learnings from the past year.

Learn more about ERM's services to the Mining Industry

ERM Sessions at PDAC 2016

Exhibiting at PDAC
Sunday, March 6 to Wednesday, March 9

ERM exhibited at booth #724 throughout the week.

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PDAC CSR Series: Preparing for the Rebound – Strategic Stakeholder Engagement
Sunday, March 6 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Room 803

When money is tight and project timelines are uncertain, what messages and approaches should companies use to build and maintain constructive relationships with their stakeholders? Through a discussion with industry practitioners, each panelist presented a unique view based on their experiences at different stages of the mining lifecycle, having held various roles within junior, mid-tier and senior exploration and mining companies.

Keryn James, ERM’s Global Director of Operations, brought a global perspective based on her extensive experience with stakeholder engagement on projects in Australia, South East Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. What all the panelists zeroed in on as key to preparing for the rebound, was the importance of ongoing and transparent engagement with stakeholders.

The panelists agreed that being open and honest with stakeholders regarding the uncertainty of project futures, along with the need to scale back activities and spending during the downturn is the best way to manage expectations and maintain strong relationships. In the same way that care and maintenance keeps the key systems in a mine operational, companies must maintain their relationships with stakeholders during the downturn to ensure they are in position to move quickly when the rebound begins.

Access the full abstract

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ERM Session (PDAC Presentation Room): Managing Catastrophic Hazards
Sunday, March 6, 3:00 pm to 5:00pm, Room 205D

Recent high-profile catastrophic events have resulted in fatal consequences to workers, contractors and members of the community. These events can also impact the environment and livelihoods of local communities. Beyond direct physical outcomes, these events have the potential to damage stakeholder trust, generate new socio-economic challenges for affected communities, and severely influence shareholder value.

Leading mining companies are now asking themselves important questions: 

  • Are there blind-spots in current thinking and approaches to risk and catastrophic hazard management? 
  • Is catastrophic event and scenario planning sufficiently mature to identify and understand high consequence / low likelihood events? 
  • How do we know if current controls and the judgements of our operators align with recent advances in expectations from Board Members? 
  • How can we provide our stakeholders the assurance that these “unique” risks are understood and being responsibly managed? 

Facilitated by Louise Pearce, Managing Partner for ERM’s Global Mining Sector, this session featured a panel of leaders from the mining industry. Through an interactive panel discussion, participants were able to learn from others’ experiences in maintaining secure and credible assets.

Read the full session description

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PDAC CSR Series: The Beyond Zero Harm Framework – Measuring Community Well-Being
Monday, March 7, 4:30 pm - 5:15 pm Room 717

The Beyond Zero Harm Framework was designed as a participatory process for discussing, defining, measuring and analyzing community well-being. It was developed over 3 years by a multi-stakeholder working group of mining companies, NGOs and academics that belong to Devonshire Initiative.

The Framework is laid out in four-phases and is designed to complement existing company initiatives for baseline data collection (such as Social Impact Assessments) as well as existing community planning and development processes.

The panel discussion at PDAC highlighted the need for companies to collaborate with other stakeholders in order to coordinate and maximize community development initiatives. This can help to remove the dependence on mining companies for development and build the capacity of other stakeholders.

NGO and mining company representatives alike also emphasized that the process is as important – if not more – than the outcome. The process of engagement and dialogue is what supports successful collaboration and more sustainable development, while also contributing to a more enduring social license to operate.

Learn more about the ‘Beyond Zero Harm Framework’

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PDAC Technical Program: Mining and Integrated Water Management Technical Session - Managing Business Critical Water Risks
Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 9:10 am - 11:15 am Room 715

Derek Chubb, a Senior Partner with ERM drew on ERM’s recent global experiences to demonstrate how the development of a strategic framework can provide management principles for businesses, whilst allowing site operations the flexibility to tailor solutions to their particular water risk profile.

When looking at the entire lifecycle of a project across corporate and site operations, this approach results in a more effective and precise management of intra-organizational water risk diversity. This helps companies to potentially avoid:

  • Financial complications that arise from delayed project approvals
  • Water constraints on production
  • Infrastructure damage
  • More stringent regulation 
  • Reputational impacts

Download the presentation

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PDAC Aboriginal Program: Exploring key issues in company-community engagement and Aboriginal participation in the mineral industry - The Making of a Successful Environmental Consulting Joint Venture (RTEC) with the Tahltan Development Corporation
Tuesday, March 8, 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm Room TBD

Clem Pelletier, Managing Director of RTEC and Senior Technical Advisor with ERM, presented a case study that examines joint venture models and strategic alliances relating to the Tahltan and mineral projects. In this session, Mr. Pelletier discussed the formation and governance structure for the RTEC joint venture, through to how they measure success and manage benefits sharing.

Read the description of the panel session

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ERM Workshop: Untying Bowties: Identifying and Using Critical Controls to Manage Risk
Wednesday, March 9, 9:00 am to 11:30 am

The demand for transparency from regulators, communities, and other stakeholders has readied the mining industry to apply systematic approaches that demonstrate an understanding of their fatality and catastrophic risks, alongside processes that allow for a holistic approach to hazard management.

ERM hosted hands-on workshop that demonstrated how a structured bowtie process can support the identification of critical controls and management requirements to effectively reduce related risks. Led by our global risk practitioners, this workshop focused on a common mining-operations hazard that participants used to:

  • Identify risk events and consequences related to a specific hazard;
  • Define the control strategy to manage a risk event;
  • Determine the controls that are deemed critical to mitigate against the risk event; and
  • Determine the performance criteria (plant/process/human factors) necessary to ensure the integrity of the critical controls.

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Metro Toronto Convention Centre
22 Bremner Blvd
Toronto, ON M5V 3L9


Keryn James is ERM’s Global Director of Operations. With over 20 years’ of global experience in the social and environmental space, Keryn is well-versed in stakeholder engagement and social risk management. She spoke on the CSR Panel Preparing for the Rebound – Strategic Stakeholder Engagement.  

Emily Nunn is a stakeholder engagement and social performance specialist based in Dakar, Senegal. Emily moderated the CSR session Preparing for the Rebound – Strategic Stakeholder Engagement.

Louise Pearce is the Managing Partner for ERM’s Global Mining Sector. With over 25 years of international consulting experience, she concentrates on developing corporate strategy and risk management programs, alongside managing global due diligence and post-merger integrations for the mining sector. Louise facilitated ERM’s panel discussion titled Managing Catastrophic Hazards.

Michelle Hassen is a Senior Consultant with experience in social impact and risk management. She spoke on the CSR panel, ‘The Beyond Zero Harm Framework – Measuring Community Well-Being’, in which she acted as a lead consultant on the framework’s development.

Derek Chubb is a Senior Partner with over 25 years of mining industry experience. Related to water management, he provides organizations with integrated solutions that consider both technical and operational aspects to help mitigate business-critical water risks. Derek was a panelist on PDAC’s Mining and Integrated Water Management Technical Session.

Clem Pelletier is a Principal Consultant with ERM. Clem was a panelist on the PDAC Aboriginal Program session Exploring key issues in company-community engagement and Aboriginal participation in the mineral industry.