ICMI Seeks Comments on Contemplated Code Change and Audit Consistency Study

The International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI) announced today that it is seeking stakeholder comment on a contemplated change to the International Cyanide Management Code for Gold Mining (Code), and on a study it has commissioned regarding the consistency of Code certification audit reports.

Potential Change to Code: To be certified as compliant with the Code, a gold mining operation must use cyanide that has been produced and transported by manufacturers and transporters that have demonstrated responsible management of cyanide. However, cyanide producers and transporters are not required to be Code signatories to provide these services to such mining operations; they only must be shown to be Code compliant. Companies electing not to be Code signatories make this required demonstration through a Code-equivalent, non-certification audit (hereafter non-certification audit).

ICMI’s Board of Directors is considering amending the Code to require certified mining operations to procure cyanide only from cyanide producers and transporters that are Code signatories that have had their operations certified through the Code’s established third-party audit procedure. With this proposed change, cyanide producers and transporters that have not already completed non-certification audits would be required to become Code signatories and be audited for compliance within three years of becoming a signatory, while companies that have already undergone non-certification audits would be subject to a procedure, yet to be defined, that would transition them to Code signatory status.

It is envisioned that the transition procedure would be structured to encourage a transporter or cyanide producer that has successfully completed a non-certification audit to sign the Code without waiting for the end of the full three-year duration of its extant approval. These companies’ auditors would be allowed to submit the report of their non-certification audits to ICMI as a certification audit report as long as the audit was conducted within one year of their signatory date. Additionally, the requirement for submission of audit reports within ninety days of completion of the site inspection would be extended an additional 90 days for mines that are undergoing their verification audit if their transporter has demonstrated its responsible cyanide management through a non-certification audit; this would allow time for the company to become a Code signatory and submit its non-certification audit to ICMI for certification.

Currently, all cyanide used by certified mines is produced by Code signatories that have had their production plants certified as Code compliant, with the results posted to the ICMI web site. However, a number of trucking companies that transport such cyanide to certified mines have elected not to become Code signatories, and instead have used non-certification audits to demonstrate Code compliance. The ICMI Board of Directors believes that the Code’s commitment to credible third-party audits and transparency of audit results would be best served by requiring all participating companies to be Code signatories and have their Code compliance verified through the same procedure. This would allow ICMI to review all audit reports for completeness, require additional information or clarifications where necessary, and post all Summary Audit Reports on its web site for public inspection. However, it would not place additional substantive requirements on cyanide producers and transporters because certification and non-certification audits are identical in scope and expectation.

In conjunction with revising the Code to require that all producers and transporters providing cyanide to certified mines be themselves certified, ICMI is also considering whether to allow consignors of cyanide shipments by truck to become signatory transporters. Presently, the Code’s guidelines require that transport signatories must take physical possession of the cyanide, effectively limiting this category of signatories to companies that own and operate trucking companies. Cyanide distributors, brokers and sales agents are not eligible to become Code signatories though they often coordinate, oversee, or otherwise take responsibility for some aspects of cyanide transport that are subject to Code auditing. Revising the Code to allow consignors to become signatories for a specific supply chain may be beneficial if ICMI ends the option for non-certification audits because some truck transporter companies may not wish to become individual Code signatories.

Stakeholders wishing to comment on these proposed changes are requested to provide written comments to ICMI. Please send your comments to ICMI Vice President Norm Greenwald at [email protected] by July 13, 2009. ICMI anticipates that the Board will make a final decision regarding this issue at its next meeting, planned for July of this year.

Consistency Study of Audit Reports: ICMI has initiated a study to determine if the Code is being implemented and audited consistently at operations around the world and seeks input from any stakeholders with information that can assist ICMI in this project.

The Code’s Review and Revisions procedure (http://cyanidecode.org/about_review_revisions.php) requires that ICMI ensure that the evaluation of operations during Code verification audits, and the resulting certification decisions by the auditors are being done consistently across the globe. ICMI has contracted with Fred Banta, an environmental consultant in Denver, Colorado to conduct this review. Mr. Banta will be examining how various audit reports by different auditors have addressed similar issues for mines in different regions and with different owners. Code stakeholders are requested to send any information that may useful in evaluating the consistency of Code audits to ICMI Vice President Norm Greenwald at [email protected] no later than July 13, 2009.

Friday, June 12, 2009