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CMA (UK) ESG Networking Event During LME Week & MSP London Visit

On Tuesday 10 October, during LME week, the UK Government hosted the Principals' meeting of the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) for the first time, at the London Metals Exchange. The MSP is a consortium of nations (USA, Canada, Australia, EU, UK, South Korea, Japan, India), focused on boosting responsible investment and sustainable finance in critical mineral supply chains. London is a capital of finance, and has a key role to play in responsible sourcing.

To coincide with this meeting, CMA (UK) organised a closed-door event to highlight UK strengths in ESG, and to bring together ESG experts with international government representatives. The event started with networking before a series of presentations by UK-based ESG experts. Following this, each ESG expert led a breakout group for participants to have informal discussions and for policymakers to ask questions. The presentations were:

  • Critical Minerals and the UK’s Green Taxonomy - Jane Joughin, Corporate Consultant, SRK Consulting.

  • Quantifying Environmental Impacts in Critical Minerals - Robert Pell, Founder and CEO, Minviro.

  • A Database of ESG Disclosures for Critical Minerals Jamie Strauss, Founder and CEO, Digbee.

  • Drafting Sustainability Standards for Regulators and What to Avoid Sarah Gordon, Founder and CEO, Satarla.

  • Providing Responsible Sourcing through Traceability of Critical Mineral Supply Chains Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, Founder and CEO, Circulor.

Watch the Critical Productions event video summarising key discussion points:

Jane Joughin shared insights into Green Taxonomies. She noted that the application of the EU Taxonomy by European companies was limited in 2022, its first year, possibly because it is technically quite complex. The EU’s Green Taxonomy will eventually include mining but currently does not include mining because the mining and metals sector is so complex. There are many commodities produced in a great diversity of jurisdictions using many different mining and processing methods. Furthermore, there are unique considerations for mining such as the relatively large volume of mining and mineral processing residues, closure and the obligations of mining companies to have positive socio-economic impacts. Jane emphasised the abundance of responsible mining standards and the need to work with existing recognised standards versus reinventing new standards. She noted that companies are making huge investments in ESG disclosures and sometimes this can detract from investing in communities and protecting the environment on the ground.

Jamie Strauss noted that there are still institutional investors who aren’t doing what they promise, reducing confidence in the sector and harming the collective reputation of mining projects. There is also a wider lack of knowledge about ESG, and how this is quantified (especially S/G). For example, the top 30 European mining companies are in the top quarter of ESG rankings but this is poorly communicated.

Robert Pell covered science-backed solutions to measure and reduce environmental impacts, notably life-cycle assessments. He used a case study of how battery raw materials can have a range of impacts across all impact categories (e.g. carbon emissions, water, waste etc.). In Robert’s discussion group, there was acknowledgment that recycled content will play an increasingly important role for the low carbon energy transition globally. This is exemplified by the MSP agreeing to support UK company HyProMag, which is commercialising rare earth magnet recycling using Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap (HPMS) technology.

Douglas Johnson-Poensgen provided an overview of the end-to-end value chain transparency which Circulor offers, with a particular focus on traceability for battery minerals and other materials essential for the clean energy transition. He discussed the upcoming regulatory requirements for companies to prove the embedded carbon footprint, responsible sourcing, and recycled content in products, with digital product passports providing the solution to continuously monitoring the ESG impact across value chains.

Sarah Gordon explained the multiplicity of existing standards, and what policymakers should be considering when addressing ESG in critical mineral supply chains, by going back to basics and explaining the full mining value chain and how responsibility should be integrated at each stage.

The variety of people attending was a positive indication of the interest in critical minerals as nationally and globally, we look towards the energy transition, and ESG aspects of such activities, in order to ensure the longevity of the critical minerals supply chain in a changing world and improve the reputation of extractive industries.

The event showcased the breadth and depth of ESG expertise in the UK, and the CMA (UK) looks forward to continuing to corral stakeholders in this space, from industry, government and academia, to develop solutions to responsible critical mineral supply chains.

If you’re interested in finding out more, join our next event on the 27th November 2023, at the Geological Society and Royal Society of Chemistry in London where we will be hosting our 3rd annual conference ‘The UK Opportunity for Critical Minerals’ in partnership with the Geological Society Business Forum. Register here.

Speaker bios:

Jane Joughin: Corporate Consultant, SRK Consulting

Jane has 29 years of experience providing sustainability consulting services to the mining industry. Extensive experience undertaking impact assessment, permitting and auditing of mines, coupled with a thorough understanding of environmental, social and governance (ESG) concepts, enables Jane to provide forward-thinking ESG advisory services. Her interest is in assisting mines to manage impacts and risk and to gain and maintain a sustainable development licence to operate.

Based in South Africa initially (1991 to 2005) and then in Wales (from 2006), Jane has worked on mining assets in Africa, Europe and Central Asia. She has worked on over 35 mine environmental and social impact assessments and has led half of these. Most of her work in the last decade has involved review of mining assets for lenders, investors and stock exchange listings. She has overseen environmental and social reviews of well over 100 mining assets.

Robert Pell: Founder and Director, Minviro Ltd.

Dr Robert Pell is the Founder & Director of Minviro, which is a spin-out company from University of Exeter. Robert completed his PhD at Camborne School of Mines (University of Exeter) as part of the NERC funded SoSRare project on the topic ‘responsible sourcing of rare earth elements’. During this project, novel LCA approaches were developed and applied to rare earth element projects in the pre-feasibility stage of development. A unique method to apply LCA to mine planning was also developed and these technologies have been further refined and applied in commercial settings. Prior to this, Robert worked as Assistant Editor at International Mining, a globally distributed magazine covering technical innovations and project case studies for the mining industry.

Jamie Strauss: Founder and Director, Digbee

Jamie is the founder and CEO of Digbee following a 30-year career in The City, primarily in the resource finance arena. His interaction and connections with all parts of the mining companies and associated investment groups have given him a unique perspective of the unfolding changes in the sector. Having initially started his career with Societe Generale, he progressed to setting up his own Mining sales and research unit at Hargreave Hale before selling this to and joining BMO Capital Markets as Managing Director and leading their UK Equity Products division. Jamie has been an active Independent Director on a number of different mining and royalty companies. He launched Digbee's ESG solution in 2021 and identified the huge opportunity that sustainability brings to re-establishing trust with the mining industry, both in society as well as capital markets.

Sarah Gordon: Co-Founder and CEO, Satarla

Sarah is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Satarla. She has worked in a number of fields including risk and assurance, safety, sustainability, R&D, business divestment, mine and exploration geology. These roles have allowed her to live and work all over the world including North and South America, Australasia, Africa, and Europe.

In 2014, Sarah left Anglo American plc (as Head of Assurance – Safety & Sustainable Development (S&SD), Africa, and Risk Analysis Manager – S&SD Global) to co-found the risk consultancy and training organisation: Satarla. Satarla focuses on providing individuals, teams, and organisations with simple, practical and effective tools to implement risk management and assure it’s successful implementation and effectiveness. To date, Sarah, through Satarla, has worked with mining, healthcare, research & development, energy, agricultural, construction, hospitality, software, insurance, events, and financial companies, together with charities, governments, and Tech Startups.

Sarah is an honorary lecturer at Imperial College London and an accredited Institute of Risk Management public and in-house course designer and trainer. She is also a Trustee of the Geological Society London as well as Geology for Global Development, and was voted as one of the 100 most inspirational women in mining 2016.

Douglas Johnson-Poensgen: Founder and CEO, Circular

Douglas Johnson-Poensgen is founder and CEO of Circulor. Circulor’s platform brings traceability to complex industrial supply chains, to underpin manufacturers responsible and sustainable sourcing efforts, measure inherited scope 3 emissions and to produce digital product passports. Douglas aims at accelerating the energy transition and the circular economy without exploiting the most vulnerable communities or the planet. He has led teams that have delivered cutting-edge solutions for clients in the TMT, financial services, IT, and management consultancy sectors.

Douglas has 25 years international experience working both in leadership roles for large corporates as well as starting and growing companies. Before Circulor, he held leadership positions at Barclays Bank and BT with his earlier career spent in management consulting and the military.

Thank you to the event sponsors: Circulor, Digbee, Minviro, Satarla, SRK Consulting.

Article by Kirsty Benham, Founder & CEO, Critical Minerals Association (UK)

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