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.


Biodiversity Conservation Management

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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo para la Preservación de la Biodiversidad

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Gestão e Conservação da Biodiversidade

TSM-Canada (English): Biodiversity Conservation Management Protocol

TSM-Canada (French): Gestion du maintien de la biodiversité

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para la Gestión de la Biodiversidad

TSM-Finland: Biodiversity Management Protocol

TSM-Philippines: Biodiversity Conservation Management Protocol


Climate Change

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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo para la Gestión del uso energético y las emisiones GEI

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Gestão de Energia e de Emissões de Gases de Efeito Estufa

TSM-Canada (English): Climate Change Protocol

TSM-Canada (French): Changements climatiques

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para Cambio Climático

TSM-Finland: Energy Use and GHG Emissions Protocol


Crisis Management and Communications Planning

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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo de Crisis y Comunicaciones

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Planejamento de Gerenciamento de Crise e Comunicação

TSM-Canada (English): Crisis Management and Communications Planning Protocol

TSM-Canada (French): Gestion de crises et des communications

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para la gestión de crisis y comunicaciones

TSM-Finland: Crisis Management Protocol

TSM-Norway: Protokoll for krisehåndterings- og kommunikasjonsplanlegging

TSM-Philippines: Crisis Management and Communications Preparedness Protocol

Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are strategic priorities and shared values for the mining sector. People are a great asset and an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce facilitates effective problem-solving, creativity and innovation. There is no place for inequity, harassment, discrimination, violence, or hatred, in any form, in the mining sector.

The TSM Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive Workplaces Protocol supports companies in undertaking broad engagement with a cross-section of people who bring diverse perspectives and experiences to review, develop, and implement:

  • A corporate strategy for equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplaces.
  • Processes to foster a workplace culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion at the mine site.
  • Approaches to information gathering, reporting, and setting objectives on equity, diversity, and inclusion at the mine site.

Related Resources:

TSM-Canada: Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces Protocol


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 Association of Canada has adapted this tool and made it available for use by its members.

Related Resources:

TSM-Canada: Sustainable Exploration Standard

TSM-Finland: Sustainable Exploration Standard


Indigenous and Community Relationships

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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo para el Acercamiento Comunitario

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Relações Indígenas e Comunitárias

TSM-Canada (English): Indigenous and Community Relationships Protocol

TSM-Canada (French): Relations avec les Autochtones et les collectivités

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para Relacionamiento Comunitario

TSM-Finland: Community Outreach Protocol

TSM-Norway: Protokoll for kontakt med interessegrupper, lokalsamfunn og urfolk

TSM-Philippines: Indigenous People and Community Outreach Protocol


Preventing Child and Forced Labour

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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Verificação da Prevenção do Trabalho Infantil e Trabalho Forçado

TSM-Canada (English): Preventing Child and Forced Labour Protocol

TSM-Canada (French): Prévention du travail des enfants et du travail forcé

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo de verificación de Trabajo Infantil y Trabajo Forzoso

TSM-Norway: Verifikasjonsprotokoll for å forhindre barne- og tvangsarbeid

TSM-Philippines: Preventing Child and Forced Labour Protocol


Safety, Health and Respect

The Safe, Healthy and Respectful Workplaces protocol includes indicators that concern occupational safety, health management and respectful behaviour 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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo de Seguridad y Salud

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Saúde & Segurança

TSM-Canada (English): Safe, Healthy, and Respectful Workplaces

TSM-Canada (French): Santé et sécurité

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para la gestión de la seguridad y la salud

TSM-Finland: Health and Safety Protocol

TSM-Norway: Protokoll for helse, miljø og sikkerhet

TSM-Philippines: Safety and Health Performance Protocol


Tailings Management

The TSM Tailings Management Protocol is a leading global standard on tailings management and is used to measure performance with indicators focused on:

  • Having a corporate tailings management policy and commitment, intended to confirm that companies have established and effectively communicated a policy or commitment that expresses intention, commitments, and principles in relation to tailings management.
  • Developing and implementing site-specific tailings management systems and emergency preparedness measures, intended to confirm that companies have:
  • Developed and implemented a tailings management system.
  • Developed and tested emergency response plans and emergency preparedness plans.
  • Assigning accountability and responsibility for tailings management, intended to confirm that accountability for tailings management is assigned to an Accountable Executive Officer, and that an appropriate management structure and resources are in place to provide assurance to the company that tailings are managed responsibly.
  • Conducting annual tailings management reviews, intended to confirm that there is an annual review of tailings management that is reported to the Accountable Executive Officer to ensure corporate governance over tailings management and to ensure that the company is satisfied that the tailings management organizational structures and systems are effective and continue to meet the needs of the organization.
  • Developing and implementing site-specific OMS manuals, intended to confirm that the company has developed and implemented a tailings facility-specific OMS manual to facilitate implementation of the tailings management system.

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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo para el Manejo de relaves

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Gestão de Rejeitos

TSM-Canada (English): Tailings Management Protocol

TSM-Canada (French): Protocole de gestion des résidus

TSM-Canada: Table of Conformance

TSM-Canada: Tailings Guides

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para el Manejo de relaves

TSM-Finland: Tailings Management Protocol

TSM-Philippines: Tailings Management Protocol


Water Stewardship

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 guides the development of water stewardship practices in a manner that goes 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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo para el Manejo del Agua

TSM-Brazil: Protocolo Gestão da Água

TSM-Canada (English): Water Stewardship Protocol

TSM-Canada (French): Protocole d’intendance de l’eau

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para la Gestión del Agua

TSM-Finland: Water Management Protocol

TSM-Norway: Protokoll for vannforvaltning

TSM-Philippines: Water Stewardship Protocol

Mine Closure

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.

Related Resources:

TSM-Argentina: Protocolo de Cierre de Mina

TSM-Colombia: Protocolo para Cierre Minero

TSM-Finland: Mine Closure Protocol

Alignment with Other Standards

This TSM Responsible Sourcing Supplement (supplement) was developed to support companies that are implementing the TSM standard alongside the following additional standards:

  • International Council on Mining and Metals’ (ICMM) Mining Principles (MPs)
  • World Gold Council (WGC) Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs)
  • Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA) including the International Copper Alliance (ICA) Copper Mark (CM)

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.