Mining is a sector in transition, from the focus on large capital intensive project developments a few years ago to managing existing assets more efficiently. From precious metals in South America to aluminum in Africa, we enable mining and metals companies to make the most of the world's natural resources while safeguarding the planet for future generations.
Mining, however, can be dangerous; safety represents one of the greatest challenges and risks for operating companies. At ERM, we support mining and metals companies to deliver material improvements in their safety performance. With many clients opting to work with us on a program rather than single project basis, we are able to see how our engagements contribute to make a real difference in the long term.
Safety is just one of the operational issues that we address; ERM also provides a range of services that minimize the environmental and social impacts of mining. For example, we help clients:
- Assess and control water-related risks through innovative modeling and management solutions;
- Manage resettlements and other social impacts; and
- Plan for responsible closure and site exit at the end of a mine's life.
Community Engagement and Resettlement in South Africa
ERM worked with Anglo American Platinum over a five-year period to help resolve a highly charged and, at the time, intractable dispute over the resettlement of the Motlhotlo community adjacent to its Mogalakwena mine in South Africa.
Our team first reviewed the complex, controversial and incomplete resettlement process for the affected community. Next, ERM mediated a conflict-ridden process of agreement on relocation between Anglo American and the households who had refused to move previously. Throughout this process, we served as advisors to both parties on best practices in resettlement. Lastly, ERM developed a resettlement action plan for the relocation, which was aligned with international standards.
We continue to be engaged as independent reviewers and advisors to the committee overseeing the resettlement process. This successful mediation will allow the mine to continue operating and expanding, unlocking billions of dollars of value.
Enhancing Safety Culture at Goldcorp
Goldcorp, a global mining company, is deeply committed to safety, with a stated aim of making their operations "Safe Enough for Our Families." ERM co-created "Time to Act," a program based on merging our proven safety performance-improvement methodologies with key Goldcorp programs and building upon the fundamentals of Goldcorp's philosophy towards safety: Care-Think-Act. ERM undertook field-focused safety diagnostics to ensure leadership at the mines was aligned on the need for change. ERM also provided leadership training to front-line leaders and senior executives, on Safety Leadership, hazard recognition and coaching on high-impact engagements in the field. ERM deployed Time to Act at nine of Goldcorp's operating sites and two projects in North and South America.
ERM then further partnered with Goldcorp to build on and extend the reach of Time to Act with a new program called Fighting Fatalities. Fighting Fatalities supports Goldcorp's efforts to create sustainable changes towards leaders' ability to influence safe behaviors, and to help the workforce recognize hazards, perform stronger risk assessments around planning and act safely on the job — all with a particular emphasis on reducing serious injuries and eliminating fatalities. Fighting Fatalities has been a collaborative effort, using ERM expertise from around the globe, integrating our Human Factors Group and Accelerative Learning Team into development and deployment.
In addition, as part of Fighting Fatalities, ERM and Goldcorp worked together to revamp Goldcorp's Golden Rules, which now address over 95 percent of potentially fatal occurrences at Goldcorp. ERM and Goldcorp co-created materials that would support Fighting Fatalities, which were designed to work with each mine site's internal controls and processes; included in these materials were the "Golden Guide," a field guide to facilitate supervisors and crew having interactive conversations around safety issues involving the Golden Rules, and Technical Companions, the revised corporate standards and minimum expectations around the Golden Rules.
Fighting Fatalities is being implemented at each mine site through a collaborative strategy with ERM and Goldcorp, comprising a series of interactive management planning workshops, high-impact leadership engagement sessions and additional coaching for high-performing individuals on advanced field engagement techniques, high-impact toolbox talks, and hazard recognition and effective engagements with front-line personnel in the field. These efforts are laying the foundation for Goldcorp to sustain these marked changes in safety behavior over the long haul and achieve their goal of eliminating fatalities.
Alastair Gow-Smith, London, U.K.
Assessing Impacts in Africa
I feel that the work I do genuinely can change how companies operate on the ground. The people I work with have a real passion for what they do. I believe strongly that corporate entities have a responsibility to manage the way that they develop projects, and in the field of sustainability, ERM has a proven record and reputation as a leader. We provide innovative and effective strategies for our clients in all industries.
Primarily, my role focuses on the management and delivery of social impact assessments for projects in Africa. This involves traveling overseas to supervise data collection with impacted communities or carrying out stakeholder engagement activities. I am in a rewarding position - one where I can see our recommendations implemented on the ground.