Mining and Minerals
By definition mining is a multifaceted industry with a complex chain of operations and a fast-turnaround between extraction and sales. It is typically a high-investment, labour- or process -intensive activity, and is particularly sensitive to both cash-flow disruption and fluctuating commodity values; mining companies are under exceptional pressure to control costs, heighten efficiency and improve environmental and social performance, all under acute time pressure.
A mine using the best technology available whilst building capacity and production effectively will capture maximum returns. Where appropriate, recognising the achievements of a mine through certification can also improve access to new markets or to enhanced relationships with investors or downstream gold users. This applies to small, informal groups of artisanal miners, juniors and large- scale operations.
Ensuring the highest standards of responsible extraction are applied, whilst working against the clock, requires agility and a keen eye. TDI's expertise in due diligence, risk assessment, mine engineering, HSE, capacity-building and deep market-knowledge has supported clients of all scale and across mineral sectors. We have successfully supported mines through planning applications, lobbying, NGO attention, HSE and certifications including IFC, RJC, Fairtrade, Fairmined, ISO, and ICMM 10 Principles, as well as brokering relationships between miners and markets.
The Dragonfly Initiative has a deep understanding of the technical, organisational, social and business needs of small-scale miners and our joint work together in the artisanal gold sector in East Africa is both innovative and robust. It is a pleasure to be partnering with TDI.
-Gonzaga Mungai- Director, Gold Programme, Fairtrade Africa
We have helped attract investment for successful or promising projects, demonstrated compliance against benchmarked standards and have worked on the ground to help subsistence miners recover more gold. In all we do, TDI promotes continuous improvement in practise to avoid harm to both people and planet. Our unique ‘cradle-to-grave’ experiences in mining recognises the challenges faced in establishing new mines while also having the foresight to maximise impacts that can be accrued as positive legacies for local communities.
Our global reach includes mines in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.
TDI has in-depth knowledge of sustainability standards in the mining and metals value chain. Members of our team have initiated, participated in, audited against, and currently serve on the governing bodies of numerous standard setting organisations. We have completed assignments to review and compare standards used in the extractive industries sector, to develop due diligence tools for supply-chain companies, and to build standards for operators and businesses in the precious metals and gemstones sectors. We are retained by our clients to assist operating units to prepare for audits and to implement the recommendations and corrective actions of verification assessments, as well as submit successful ESIAs and build environmental and management systems at operating unit and corporate level.
Some TDI Projects
Assurance Programme Development - TDI has played a leading role in the drafting and consultation process for many global programs, supply chain and industry initiatives, and standard setting organisations, such as Bettercoal, Equitable Origin (EO), International Tin Industry Research Institute (ITRI), Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), and Responsible Business Alliance (formerly EICC).
The Dragonfly Initiative is one of very few firms that has a comprehensive knowledge of risk and best practices in mining and minerals production and the chain of custody from mine to market, and has the experience to codify that knowledge into standards, certification and assurance frameworks. Their creativity and skill in business consulting means that they never deliver a formulaic product, and always bring a bespoke solution to whatever challenge is presented them. I cannot recommend TDI more.
-Marieke van der Mijn- Head of Standards and Assurance, Bettercoal
Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance - We have worked with IRMA to test the draft versions of the IRMA Standard for Responsible Mining at underground platinum mines. TDI used its assurance model and standard setting experience to review suggested assurance system, analyse means of verification to be used by assessors and determine whether the IRMA Standard requirements were auditable as well as provided feedback to IRMA on how the draft Standard versions, means of verification and scoring system needed to be refined prior to finalisation of the Standard and launch of the IRMA System.
Goldlake Group, London – We worked with founders and the board to build site-level management practices and a market strategy to supply ethical gold from its mining operations to the luxury jewellery and watch industry. Goldlake’s Eurocantera mine in Honduras has a highly innovative business model: the company works with artisanal miners in its local community, who produce more than 30% of its total gold output. This partnership is an example of an inter-dependent relationship bringing communities into the core of the mineral economy, rather than leaving them on the margins of development. Eurocantera is a zero-waste, zero-pollution operation that uses no toxic chemicals widely employed in the industry such as mercury and cyanide. To maximize the value of its efforts, Goldlake controls the path to market of its product through its refinery in Italy and to the luxury jewellery market in Europe.
Anglo Gold Ashanti, Africa - We were contracted by the firm’s senior vice president of sustainability to analyse, assess, recommend solutions for and train project teams to address issues arising from small-scale mining activities at a number of AGA sites in East and West Africa. AGA faces similar problems to many mining companies in mining territories around the world. The price of gold and other commodities has encouraged informal and illegal diggers to seek opportunities to make a living from extracting near-surface deposits, bringing them into conflict with large-scale formal miners. There is no ‘cookie cutter’ answer to this persistent problem; understanding the development dilemma of the diggers, skillful engagement by mine staff, engaging government and regulators and attempting to find options that allow a ‘co-existence’ between both types of mining is the best way forward.
Scotgold Resources Limited - Our client is the Scottish gold mine, Scotgold; our brief to develop the value chain and to establish a premium market in the ethical jewellery market in Scotland, the U.K and ultimately to the USA. We were closely involved in the landmark success of the 2011 application for Scotgold Resources to extract gold in Scotland, following their failed 2010 application. We have full responsibility for the engagement of jewellers and for the creation of strong industry demand and downstream economic benefits for a commercial Scottish gold source. Scotgold Resources are the first mine to be granted permission to commercially extract gold in Scotland. In 2016. We managed the launch of the sale by auction of the very first 1 oz Scottish Gold Rounds, the highest bid for which reached a staggering £21,000 and we have placed 100% of the company’s gold product into premium markets (Royal Jewellers Hamilton and Inches, Sheila Fleet, etc.) attracting in excess of 30% above the London fixed gold price. We have supported Scotgold throughout their journey with our marketing and communications expertise.
Bettercoal – TDI continues to support Bettercoal through provision of expert input into the governance, structure, and technical content of the Bettercoal benchmark and assurance system. This includes standard equivalence and cross-recognition, review of Bettercoal Code, codifying international best practices and re-design of the assurance system in line with best practices and Bettercoal member needs.
International Tin Industry Research Institute (ITRI) and OEM, U.K and USA - We co-designed and implemented a breakthrough assurance system that provided a path to market for conflict-free minerals in the DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and expanding to other countries in the Great Lakes Region (GLR). The ‘bag and tag’ program built a physical chain of custody from small mines in the hills and forests of jungle to export and finally to the component manufacturers and OEM companies in the US and Europe. The program attracted support from US, South African and Dutch governments, as well as electronics groups, refiners and mining companies. The most important potential of this program is the hope for artisanal and small scale miners in the GLR to make a dignified living free of conflict.