Mining is a highly regulated industry. The regulations can themselves be influenced by changes in the global economy and environment. Case in point: the pandemic. However, other significant factors like rising awareness about the environmental impact of mining keeps the regulatory process dynamic.
The rules also tend to be different from country to country and require different processes for compliance. A mining company needs to be aware of the regulations in all the countries it operates in. It needs to comply with international rules as well as those that apply only locally.
In this post, we’ll talk about how the pandemic impacted mining regulations, changes in regulations across the world, and the role of content in compliance.
The pandemic impact on mining regulations
The Coronavirus pandemic impacted the mining sector severely, as it did so many others. S&P Global identified 275 disrupted mining operations throughout the world in June 2020. When the lockdown ceased and mining operations resumed, the industry had to contend with new regulations on safety and travel.
Companies had to be on their toes to communicate pandemic-related guidelines to their staff working at different sites. The guidelines would change from time to time as the pandemic went into the second year and beyond and it would be vastly different across locales.
It was at such times that a company’s communication processes came to be tested. Companies that had a communication team in place or strong communication processes could quickly tide over the pandemic challenge by keeping information flowing smoothly. It also meant that they needed to translate the content because of the global nature of a mining company’s operations. Not having information in one’s language can cause confusion and anxiety in times of uncertainty.
Regulations for safety and environmental protection
Mining companies need to put in place a host of safety protocols to protect their staff, machinery, and the local population from accidents and disasters. It also helps to safeguard natural resources from pollution. For instance, there are regulations for the storage of mine tailings. Leaks or breaches in mine tailings dams have been known to cause huge disasters to the environment as well as loss of human life.
Hence, countries have brought in laws on exploration activities of mines. Often, different states, counties, or regions in the country can have specific laws applicable. They need to be complied with in addition to any national and international laws.
Various permits are required from the government for a mining company to run its operations. Elaborate documentation needs to be done on the various compliance measures that a company has undertaken to secure these permits. They may often need to be created in the local language; but they will also need to be translated so that headquarters can validate the documentation. Translation enables the legal department to be closely involved in the documentation process.
New and upcoming regulatory changes
The mining sector has had to continually adapt to changes in the regulations governing it. Below, we talk about some important developments in regulation around the world.
Canada amended its Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations in June 2021. It relates to the effluent discharged from both new and existing metal and diamond mines. Effluent concentration limits for zinc, nickel and copper are unchanged, but mining companies need to note the changes in the arsenic, cyanide, and lead concentrations, as well as for un-ionized ammonia.
A couple of years ago, Canada replaced the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act with the Impact Assessment Act (IAA). One of the key objectives of this Act is to bring in more transparency in the decision-making processes of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is currently working on draft regulations for mining the ocean bed. The Pacific state of Nauru has proposed a deadline of mid-2023 to come up with the regulations, but some other countries from Africa and Latin America have said that this deadline may be missed. This delay might hinder companies seeking to start their ocean mining operations.
The European Union announced earlier this year that it would bring about new rules for mining raw materials. The details of these rules are not known as yet.
The role of content in compliance
Effective content creation for compliance leads to transparency and a better image of the company. The mining industry is frequently seen as a polluting industry unlike perhaps a sector like IT, which, of course, owes its existence partly to the mining industry.
Mining’s image affects it in many ways, including making it difficult to find great talent. Hence, mining companies have begun to clean up their image by way of their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts. And content is needed to proactively communicate about these efforts to the local community, authorities, employees, and investors. Putting this social data out there is critical to a mining company’s future strategies.
Content production for a global mining company must include translation and localization. Local government authorities may expect you to fill out forms and submit documentation in the local language. Intra-company communication as well as guidelines need to be available at all the branch offices in the local language.
Instructions and information about best practices around ESG must flow from headquarters to the local site offices. Headquarters must, in turn, be kept in the loop about the compliance steps taken locally.
Thus, a mining company creates a lot of documentation – both for external as well as for internal use. It is created in formats prescribed locally and with local terminology when a local law has to be followed. When national or international laws come into consideration, the format and terminology may vary.
Many versions of the documentation need to be created in all the languages of the countries the company operates in.
It all ends up in humongous volumes of content, which is also complicated. Hence, it’s best to work with a global content partner so you can navigate around the content creation process without hiccups. Lexcelera has been working with mining companies around the world and is well-versed with content creation for this sector. Get in touch with us today to know more on how we can help you.
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