Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) – An initiative for today and tomorrow

Over the past several decades, many environmental prevention and control programs have emerged to address issues such as pollution, species loss and climate change. Developments in the field, scientific and technological advances, measuring instruments, means and tools at our disposal, data, education and dissemination of and access to information have all changed the way we see these issues and our attitude towards the environment and its protection.

It goes without saying that our society is constantly evolving. Government authorities have established laws and programs for environmental protection, both at the provincial and federal levels, over the past 30 years. What was once the Ministry of the Environment has changed its name several times as it expands its mission to reflect our growing concerns for the environment. Since 2018, it has been known as Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Social change is needed, and mining companies, as good corporate citizens, have responded by gradually adopting measures and practices to meet their social obligations and responsibilities. For example, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) launched the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative in 2004, and the Québec Mining Association (QMA) followed suit in 2014. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MERN)’s Mining Act has also evolved recently.

To do so, they called on experts and specialized firms who, thanks to their expertise and know-how, helped them to pursue their business activities in compliance with the new standards and laws.

A unique expertise

When it comes to sustainable development in Quebec, we can’t help but mention Isabelle Richard, an experienced expert in the field. An engineer by training, she has worked in a number of sectors, including the characterization and remediation of contaminated sites. Most notably, she worked during the Lac-Mégantic train derailment in 2013.

Throughout her career, she’s always prioritized the protection of our environment and the people who live there.

Mrs. Richard has extensive practical experience and has worked in areas as diverse as occupational health and safety, geotechnics, mining and sustainable development. This allows her to have a global vision of the work at hand and fully understand its environmental and social issues.

Now the Director of Sustainable Development at InnovExplo, she uses her knowledge and experience to, among other things, help mining companies implement the MAC’s TSM initiative. This program is a performance monitoring system that helps mining companies and their facilities assess and manage their environmental responsibilities. It includes protocols developed specifically to promote continuous improvement. Indicators guide mining companies towards practices and operations that support this initiative.

Watch this video in which Mrs. Richard tells us more about her expertise.

How TSM works

TSM allows companies to take concrete action to meet their environmental and social commitments. It can also provide communities with valuable information on important activities in various sectors, including community relations, tailings management and biodiversity. Participation in the TSM initiative is mandatory for all Canadian members of the MAC and the Quebec Mining Association (QMA). Watch the CMA video to learn more about this initiative and its advantages.

In addition to ensuring that the main risks of mining are well managed, the initiative allows companies in the sector to provide transparent results to communities of interest.

The initiative’s strategy is based on three pillars: providing tools to minimize risks; helping to measure results; and fostering progress in three key areas: the environment, communities and energy. Environmental protection, respect for communities and energy efficiency remain the focus of the initiative.

TSM initiative online training program

An online program consisting of eight courses (approximately one hour each) is available. This program is designed to prepare participants for the consistent application of TSM protocols and the evaluation of their company’s facilities. The courses cover the following topics:

  • Understanding the TSM initiative*
  • Applying TSM protocols**
  • Managing energy and greenhouse gas emissions**
  • Crisis management planning**
  • Aboriginal and community relations**
  • Health and safety**
  • Biodiversity maintenance management**
  • Tailings management**

A thorough process

The gap analysis process takes a certain amount of time. It is necessary to meet and sit with the client and work closely together to analyze the environmental impact, then take appropriate action to correct the situation and adopt better environmental practices.

When expertise meets passion

One thing that Ms. Richard particularly enjoys about her work is being in the field and participating in operations with multidisciplinary teams. Everyone is involved in the process and working towards one goal: protecting the environment.

Ms. Richard and the entire InnovExplo team are distinguished by their teamwork and concern for the environment. Click here to learn more about all the services offered by InnovExplo.


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