Barrick tops list of sustainable Canadian miners – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – December 3, 2012)

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Corporate Knights, a specialized media and investment research company based in Toronto, has released its first Canadian mining sustainability ranking. The researchers measured the performance of 52 Canadian miners against 12 sustainability indicators, ranging from energy and carbon productivity, to comparisons of CEO and worker pay, and leadership diversity.

Readers familiar with Barrick Gold (56%) will not be surprised to learn it is the highest ranking of the top 10 sustainable Canadian miners. Corporate Knights found it deserved to be first because of its “top-tier disclosure practices and strong across-the-board sustainability performance”. The company was also cited for its water productivity (a measure of revenue generated for every cubit metres of water used in operations) and pay equity (the spread between an organization’s top earning senior executive and a average employee).

Barrick’s score of 56% is only two points ahead of Teck Resources (54%), the second place finisher. Inmet Mining (49%), Goldcorp (45%) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (39%) round out the top half of the list.

The continuing high gold price gives producers of the yellow metal substantial amounts of cash with which to foster sustainability. The trend continues in the next five companies. Eldorado Gold (35%) ranks sixth, Kinross Gold ranks seventh (34%) and New Gold (33%) sit at eighth.

Base metals producers Lundin Mining (25%) and First Quantum Minerals (24%) finish off the top 10.

According to the numbers generated by Corporate Knights, the lowest ranked companies included Rubicon Minerals, Silver Wheaton, and Kirkland Lake Gold.

Undoubtedly, some will argue with the rankings and the methods by which they were determined. Let the Corporate Knights defend them.

The sustainability debate comes in as many forms as there are corporations pursuing it. Hundreds of programs will be established, thousands of reports will be written, and much money will be spent. Now we have a third-party reference for measuring how successful the mining industry’s sustainability efforts are.

This writer is happy to report on Corporate Knights findings. The Canadian Mining Sustainability Ranking is only one of five annual corporate sustainability rankings conducted by the organization. The others include the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World ®, the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada, the S&P 500 Sustainability Ranking and the Global Mining Sustainability Ranking. Visit CorporateKnights.com to learn more.

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