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  • To say the mining industry is diverse is an understatement. It's an evolving industry that demands constant advancements while reducing costs, all while remaining compliant.

    • Two main challenges within the mining industry

      The mining industry spans across many regions, sectors and professions. Regardless of the potential differences between companies, one thing remains consistent - the need to comply with legal requirements and obligations.

      Organisations within this industry can encounter many challenges in daily operations. However, two challenges remain priority to all - staying safe and sustainable. How a company addresses these two concerns can not only impact their productivity and efficiencies but also their competitiveness in the market. 

      • Stepping towards sustainability in mining 

        As mining has traditionally been seen as an industry of carbon and environmental waste, implementing processes that reduce this impact is crucial for long term sustainability - for both the company and the environment.

        All sustainability efforts should begin long before any mining activities start. A thorough environmental management system such as in accordance to ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems is the first of many steps. This Standard specifies the requirements and guidance for a management system to enable an organisation to develop and implement environmental policies and objectives.

        Standards can also provide guidance in areas such as:

        • Greenhouse gas emissions (ISO 14064, Greenhouse gases Series

        • Air sampling methods (AS 3580, Methods for sampling and analysis of ambient air Series

        • Contaminated sites (AS 4439, Wastes, sediments and contaminated soils - Preparation of leachates Series)

        Prioritising health and safety in the mining industry

        Meeting best practice guidelines for health and safety can have many benefits, including meeting legal requirements and minimising the potential of risks. This in turn can lower injury-related expenses and increase overall productivity.

        Meeting the requirements outlined in ISO 45001:2018 Requirements with guidance for use Occupational health and safety management systems assists organisations in terms of:

        • Clarification and registration for certification 

        • Implementation, maintenance and improvement 

        • Conformance to WHS policies 

        • Guidance to comply with WHS regulations 

        Further to this management system are numerous Standards to assist in areas including: 

        • Emergency planning (AS 3745-2010, Planning for emergencies in facilities

        • Confined spaces (AS 2865-2009, Confined spaces

        • Working at heights (AS/NZS 4576:1995, Guidelines for scaffolding

        • Safety clothing and equipment (AS/NZS 4501 Set:2008, Occupational protective clothing Set

        • Machinery safety (AS/NZS 4024.1-2019 Series, Safety of Machinery)

        When safety and environmental requirements are not met 

        When a company fails to meet their obligations, there can be devastating consequences for the wellbeing of all involved and a high chance of damage to reputation alongside associated legal costs.

        Take the Samarco dam collapse as an example1. In 2015, a dam collapsed at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil. This tragedy took the lives of 19 people as the nearby Doce River was flooded with toxins.

        All companies in the mining sector have a responsibility to prioritise the health and safety of everyone and consider their impact on the environment.

        Overcoming mining industry challenges with Standards

        Companies with a competitive edge in mining recognise the importance of Standards in achieving their business and growth goals, while addressing sustainability and safety concerns. Access to the latest technical documents and Standards are considered essential to remain compliant. Instant access, anywhere and anytime, is considered a must.

        A platform, such as SAI Global's i2i Standards Management solution, in which experts can access a tailored online library of local and international Standards, can minimise manual and time-consuming processes.

        SAI Global has relationships with over 350 Standards publishers and can provide you with a subscription service that enables you to customise a content library based on your projects and business needs.

        As companies aim to reduce costs, meet compliance obligations and maximise efficiency, it can be a complex industry to navigate at times. Standards are the building blocks which set expectations and provide best practices.

        1 Mining Technology. Samarco dam disaster: dealing with the fallout of a tragedy, www.mining-technology.com/mining-safety/samarco-dam-disaster-dealing-fallout-tragedy

        • A Standards Management solution customised to your needs

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        • Keeping construction workers safe

          Discover 4 Standards designed to keep construction workers safe on the work site

        • 8 Benefits of Standards

          Discover the benefits to your business

        • Top 5 Environmental Standards

          There are many Standards aimed at creating sustainable practices within your business

        • Discover how SAI Global’s cost-effective Standards Management Platform can assist with your company’s needs.

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