The second Webinar is a Panel session and assembles experts in social issues. Over the course of 90 minutes the panel discussion will identify and introduce topics of importance which are faced by mining companies, mineral property developers and explorationists today.

The ESG Panel consists of the following topics and experts:

Mining’s Next-Gen Social Contract

Mining’s role in our history, present and future is fundamental to our collective existence and wellbeing. Yet the industry continues to struggle with social acceptability, limited lasting contributions to global sustainable development, and slowness to innovate – all affecting social license, ability to manage risk, and competitiveness. Relying on the narrative of mining powering the green energy transition and our high-tech future is clearly not enough to meet the rapidly evolving societal expectations of business.

In the face of the fourth industrial revolution, ongoing company-community conflict, and growing ESG expectations, the Mine of the Future presents both immense threats and opportunities for the industry’s relationship with society, especially local communities. What does our next gen social contract look like? How do we more meaningfully contribute to societal resilience and sustainable broad-based prosperity? How will doing good help us do well? How can we leverage the technologies of Mining 4.0 to do so? And what are the skills we’re going to need to get there?

Elizabeth Freele is a dynamic social performance and ESG strategist, passionate about all things conscious capitalism, tech for good and raw materials stewardship. Driven by the innate potential of business to advance sustainable development and tackle humanity’s grand challenges, her 10+ year business track record has supported private sector, government and non-profit organizations, with a geographic reach spanning the Americas, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Elizabeth develops future-fit corporate responsibility and ESG risk management strategy, to create lasting shared value. She is experienced in fostering cross-functional collaboration to translate business sustainability vision into tangible results, leading teams to mitigate non-technical risk and nurture organization-wide ownership of sustainability performance. Her experience doing so includes mining, agribusiness, impact investing, circular economy ventures and cleantech, in both start-up to mature companies.

Abstract: Mining SLO Depends on Embracing the Mine of the Future

Mining’s Social License to Operate (SLO) has been heavily challenged over the last few decades, from NIMBYism to outrage over accidents or mistakes. While Mining has done much to clean up its act, especially as it relates to the safety of mines and their workers, negative perceptions remain. Now Mining faces a cataclysmic shift in how it can and will operate given the confluence of Climate / decarbonization, Digital, Automation, Globalization and ESG. There is no aspect of mining that will remain untouched by the next decade of changes.

Therefore, the industry’s response needs to include quickly adapting to these shifts and proactively embracing the Mine of the Future to regain the trust of a world dependent on mining for the building blocks of not just decarbonization but everything that humans need for life as we know it. From mining in sensitive environmental regions, digging deeper and deep sea mining, to respect for communities, indigenous heritage and diversity of its workforce, Mining has to raise the bar to build its SLO, do things differently, and reach outside typical comfort zones. This session will explore how to build Mining’s SLO by overcoming its reluctance to adopt and scale new ways of operating.

Debra Johnson is a strategic advisor and C-level global executive focusing on mining and industrial sectors, with expertise in sustainability, digital strategy, business operations, innovation, operational improvement and financial management. At Stantec, she currently serves as a Senior Advisor – Sustainability for the Mining business as well as leads ESG strategy for Energy and Resources. A technology evangelist and digital innovator, Debra is also Founder and CEO of Eco-Edge, a sustainability and digital solutions provider, driving increased profits for mining, transportation and other industrial businesses. Her blend of consulting and corporate executive experience provides insights for identifying and bridging gaps; solving problems with efficiency by connecting ideas, tools, and processes; and distilling goals into detailed action plans. Previously, Debra was Digital Mine Global Director of Business Operations and Innovation at GE – Digital Solutions (a Division of GE Transportation, now Wabtec), helping the team and customers successfully navigate digital technology implementation and their transformation journeys.


NOTE: The questions were answered during the Webinar and can be accessed in the recording.

Walter Weinig: It’s sometimes said that miners want to be the “first to be second” when implementing new technology or practices. How do we overcome the reluctance to be the first out of the gate in making these shifts?

Ian Thomson: So – Debra appears to think that the company/industry can define the terms of its SLO while Liz sees it defined by society. SLO is by definition the license granted by society – is it even reasonable to think that the company can expect to define the terms of acceptance?

Curtis Clarke: Following on from the last question, is the SLO granted by the communities in Peru which are blockading the Las Bambas mine holding sway or the company understanding SLO? The mine operator may have had an epiphany this week throwing in the towel and closing the mine. Do you have any comments? Are you familiar with that particular project?

Francisco Sotillo: In SLO there are constant meetings to coordinate with communities that have elected authorities for short periods (1 or 2 years). However, political differences between the authorities completely change the scope of the SLO. How can this be addressed?

Video |  Freele SlidesJohnson slides