TSM is implemented through a suite of protocols that mining companies measure and publicly report their performance against in annual TSM Progress Reports.
Each protocol is made up of a set of indicators that are designed to measure the quality and comprehensiveness of facility-level management systems and are intended to provide the public with an overview of the industry’s performance in key environmental and social areas. Each participating organization has the ability to make minor adjustments to suit the particular needs of their jurisdiction.
We believe that mining, conducted in consultation with communities of interest, can co-exist with biodiversity conservation. Conserving biodiversity through all stages of a mine’s life cycle is an industry priority and helps to maintain a company’s privilege to operate.
The TSM Biodiversity Conservation Management Protocol sets out expectations for mining companies with respect to conserving biodiversity.
The protocol seeks to confirm that mining facilities have made formal commitments to manage biodiversity at their sites, that action plans for significant biodiversity aspects are implemented, and that biodiversity conservation reporting systems are in place to inform decision-making and to communicate their performance publicly.
The mining industry recognizes its important role in reducing its emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
At the same time, the mining sector is uniquely positioned to supply the minerals and metals required for the global technological transformation that will be required to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. The TSM Climate Change Protocol is designed to support mining companies in managing their climate-related risks and opportunities, including associated mitigation and adaptation strategies, target-setting, and reporting.
The protocol supports mining companies in responding to emerging investor expectations around climate-related disclosures, including the Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. At higher levels of performance, companies will be required to make commitments – supported by short- and long-term targets and actions – to climate action consistent with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees, as well as commitments corresponding with ambitions to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The TSM Crisis Management Planning Protocol is intended to provide mining companies with the tools needed to effectively plan for communications in the unfortunate event of a crisis at one of their facilities or at the corporate level.
Where the crisis is caused by a physical emergency, such as a fire or flood, the tools offered in this protocol are intended to work in conjunction with emergency response plans at the facility.
The protocol requires both head offices and facilities to develop crisis management plans, as well as establish crisis communications teams to support the execution of these plans. Facilities must be able to demonstrate, among other requirements, that they have crisis communications programs in place to effectively alert employees and the public of a crisis, its development and resolution. They must also be able to demonstrate that their crisis management plan is regularly tested and updated.
In order to know where deposits of minerals and metals are located, sustainable exploration is key. Exploration activities must focus on effective engagement with surrounding communities, environmental stewardship and high commitments to safety. The Finnish mining association’s standard in this space is comprised of guiding principles and three protocols that cover the entire lifecycle of exploration activities. Once adopted, exploration companies utilizing this standard should report on an annual basis on its implementation. Every three years, an external verification will take place to make sure that the information provided by the companies is correct.
The mining industry has prioritized building and maintaining respectful, strong and trusting partnerships with communities impacted by, or with an interest in, mineral exploration and mining activities.
From exploration to mine closure, the mining sector engages with communities, including Indigenous peoples, impacted by their projects in order to share information and to collaborate on issues related to environmental effects, monitoring and cultural protection. The industry also focuses on developing partnerships and initiatives that generate economic opportunities and wealth for surrounding communities.
The sector further supports Indigenous participation through training, business development, employment, social investments and procurement.
The revised protocol raises the bar on facility performance by strengthening criteria across indicators. It also features new indicators on effective Indigenous engagement and dialogue, as well as community impact and benefit management.
The purpose of this protocol is to provide guidance on verification requirements regarding the prevention of child labour and forced labour. The protocol sets out the general approach taken to confirm that processes are in place to ensure that neither child nor forced labour as defined by ILO conventions are occurring at TSM participating facilities. Through this protocol, participating members commit to respecting the rights of its workers and not engaging in practices of forced or child labour, as defined in ILO Conventions 29, 138 and 182.
The Safety and Health protocol includes five indicators that concern occupational safety and health management at the facility-level.
These indicators have been designed to confirm whether facilities have established clear accountability for safety and health management and performance, that processes have been established to prevent the occurrence of all incidents, that all employees and contractors are engaged in the appropriate training to identify hazards, that performance is reported both internally and externally, and that facilities set targets for continuous improvement.
The TSM Tailings Management Protocol is a leading global standard on tailings management and is used to measure performance with indicators focused on:
In addition to the TSM tailings protocols linked below, detailed guides on tailings management, and a table of conformance with these guides, from the Mining Association of Canada are available here.
The Water Stewardship protocol was developed by experts from across the industry to measure water governance, operational water management, watershed-level planning and water performance and reporting at the mine-site level.
The TSM Water Stewardship Protocol strengthens the standards included in TSM and will guide the development of water stewardship practices in a manner that will go beyond legal compliance.
To achieve good performance, a facility must demonstrate that commitments and accountabilities related to water stewardship are in place and that water-related plans and management systems are implemented, which includes preparation of a water balance, a water monitoring program, and response and contingency plans for water-related risks and incidents.
TSM-Canada (French): Protocole d’intendance de l’eauProtocole d’intendance de l’eau
Appropriate mine closure is an integral part of mine life cycle management and sustainable development and managing it is an integral part of the commitments made under the TSM Guiding Principles. In many jurisidictions, mining companies are required to plan for closure before entering into production. Not only are closure plans often required by law, but companies must also provide financial assurance to ensure that appropriate funding is available for effective mine closure and reclamation.
Several TSM members, including mining chambers in Finland and Argentina, use protocols focused explicitly on closure to provide guidance to companies in completing their evaluation of mine closure management.
In 2008, TSM introduced a framework on mine closure, which articulates its members’ commitments to responsible mine closure. The framework includes eight elements, which go beyond legal compliance.
Through this framework, TSM members have committed to working with communities to develop closure plans and strategies to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of mine closure.
In addition, the framework also encourages companies to help communities develop plans for long-term economic development and to work with communities of interest to identify values that are important to the community and incorporate those values into reclamation objectives.
This TSM Responsible Sourcing Supplement (supplement) was developed to support companies that are implementing the TSM standard alongside the following additional standards:
The purpose of this supplement is to support a single, integrated, streamlined reporting and assurance process for members using TSM who elect to use the TSM processes to demonstrate that they meet the requirements for one or more of the above listed standards.
The Mining, Minerals, and Metals Partnership (M3 Partnership) is a collaboration of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), ResponsibleSteel, and Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM). The M3 Partnership aims to identify opportunities for alignment and collective action to drive improvement in social and environmental performance. The M3 Partnership Integrated Assessment Protocol is a tool designed to allow mine sites to be assessed against multiple site-level standards in a single audit, supporting identification of alignment across standards, and promoting demonstration of conformity with multiple standards with greater efficiency and reduced cost.
The TSM Tailings Management protocol is also aligned with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (the Standard). The requirements presented the Standard, first introduced in 2020, have been mapped to the current Level A requirements for tailings management, water stewardship and community relationships already established in TSM.