We conducted a comprehensive materiality assessment for the development of this report. We engaged an independent, external consultant to help conduct the assessment and provide independent verification of the results. The figure below rovides an overview of the assessment process.
The purpose of the assessment was to define the focus areas for the report. In turn, these areas will drive our sustainability strategy and planning.
The scope of the assessment covered our three producing mines, which is aligned with the scope and topic boundaries of this report. We did not include our exploration and development projects given the limited scope of the current impacts at these locations.
We considered a broad range of sustainability issues that are common to mining operations globally. To do so, we conducted peer and industry benchmarking of topics. We analyzed international standards and guidelines, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) topic-specific disclosures and the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Sustainable Development Framework. The ICMM framework also served as a proxy for emerging industry trends and issues. We considered investor ratings services (i.e., Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS)) to incorporate investor input into the assessment.
Our corporate sustainability team and the independent consultant visited our three producing mines to obtain stakeholder input into the assessment. The site visits included focused interviews with senior operations management to determine key sustainability issues, risks, and opportunities.
We clustered the list of topics into categories using the GRI topic-specific disclosures as a guide. This helped refine the long list of topics into a structured, concise list of topics based on common terminology.
We assessed the topics using a weighted scoring system based on our enterprise risk management (ERM) system as well as our peer and industry benchmarking results. A survey was distributed to senior corporate and operations management to determine the importance of the topics. Critically, the survey design included a forced-ranking mechanism to ensure the relative – rather than absolute – ranking of topics.
We combined the survey and weighted scores for each topic, which were then placed on the matrix outlined in the figure below of this report. Materiality thresholds were defined for high, medium, and low topics. Topics in the ‘high’ range are considered material for our company and are the focus areas of this report. Topics in the ‘medium’ range are flagged as part of a watch-list for future review. Topics in the ‘low’ range are considered non-material, and while these topics may be important in some operating contexts, our materiality assessment process determined that they had a low impact on our operations.
To validate the assessment results, we conducted a workshop with a team comprised of senior corporate management and our operations’ General Managers. The participants reviewed and validated the assessment process as well as 11 material topics. In addition, the team chose to include two topics – ‘Biodiversity’ and ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ – that did not meet the defined materiality thresholds given the importance of the topics to stakeholders. Our Executive Leadership Team reviewed and approved the final list of topics.
We are committed to continual improvement in our materiality assessments. To advance this goal, we will incorporate greater external feedback into the assessment for our 2019 Sustainability Report. We will also evaluate material topics for our advanced development projects.