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Documentation of Key Findings of the Workshop on Barriers to Green Mining Innovation in Canada

Session held on March 7, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction
   1.1 Project Mandate
   1.2 Methodology
2.0 Feasibility of a Green Mining Innovation Environmental Technology Verification Program
   2.1 Summary of the Workshop Presentations
   2.2 Key Findings from the Workshop
   2.3 Implications for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative
3.0 Enhancement of Industry-Regulator Engagement and Communication
   3.1 Summary of the Workshop Presentations
   3.2 Key Findings from the Workshop
   3.3 Implications for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative
4.0 Use of Outcome-Based Regulations as a Means to Foster Mining Innovation
   4.1 What are Outcome-Based Regulations?
   4.2 Summary of the Workshop Presentations
   4.3 Key Findings from the Workshop
   4.4 Implications for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative
5.0 Major Findings and Recommendations for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative
6.0 Appendix A – Workshop Agenda
7.0 Appendix B – List of Workshop Presenters and Attendees
8.0 Appendix C – Results from Vote on Potential Best Practices to Lessen/Remove Green Mining Innovation Barriers


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Project Mandate

Previous research studies commissioned by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) indicated that barriers to adopting innovative green mining technologies and practices exist in the regulatory system in the form of regulatory process inefficiencies and in the lack of information sharing and knowledge transfer. As a result of this research, government officials were asked by Federal, Provincial and Territorial Energy and Mines Ministers to investigate regulatory barriers and determine ways to reduce these barriers. Under this mandate, officials decided to hold a green mining workshop to study how other sectors have dealt with similar challenges to the introduction of innovation and to develop a list of recommendations for the Ministers’ consideration. This workshop was held in January 2012 and was facilitated by MNP LLP (MNP). Its results and recommendations were reported to the Energy and Mines Ministers during the 2012 Energy Mines Ministers Conference (EMMC). Three recommendations from the workshop were endorsed by the Ministers during the Conference:

  1. Assess feasibility of a green mining innovation Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program. The development of a verification program for green mining technologies would address the primary issues that were highlighted in the reports as well as by 2012 workshop participants regarding the risks associated with the use of new technologies from the perspective of both industry and regulators.
  2. Enhance industry/regulator engagement and communication. This would involve the development of formal approaches and mechanisms to information sharing on new technologies between industry and regulators from different jurisdictions. Three green mining innovation projects will be used to pilot information-sharing mechanisms based on their regulatory impacts.
  3. Assess use of outcome-based regulations as a means to foster mining innovation. Outcome-based regulations are perceived as being more accommodating to the deployment of new technologies/processes and are less likely to have to be modified when a new technology is being considered.

MNP was again engaged by NRCan to assist with a Pan-Canadian workshop to identify best practices, processes, mechanisms or systems under the three recommendations approved by the Ministers that would improve the verification and adoption of green mining technologies. MNP’s responsibilities included playing an advisory role in the planning of the workshop, facilitating the workshop, and developing a report outlining the workshop’s key findings. The report that follows will be used to inform Energy and Mines Ministers on potential solutions to green mining regulatory issues at the Energy and Mines Ministers Conference in August 2013.

1.2 Methodology

A workshop on barriers to green mining innovation in Canada, hosted by NRCan, was facilitated by MNP on March 7, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario. The main objective of the workshop was to identify best practices under the three recommendations approved by the Ministers that would improve the verification and adoption of green mining technologies, working closely with federal, provincial and territorial regulatory departments and agencies.

A number of mining industry representatives and federal, provincial, and territorial government officials were invited to attend. The list of attendees can be found in Appendix B. The workshop consisted of three sessions on the following topics:

  • Assess feasibility of a green mining innovation Environmental Technology Verification Program
  • Enhance industry/regulator engagement and communication
  • Assess use of outcome-based regulations as a means to foster mining innovation

At the beginning of each session, NRCan presented relevant findings from either the survey or literature review it conducted on the session topics. Following this, two presentations were given by speakers who shared their experiences and best practices related to the topic at hand (for a list of presenters, see the workshop agenda in Appendix A).

At the conclusion of each session’s presentations, attendees of the workshop were asked to discuss with the others seated at their table the topic’s relevance to green mining innovation as well as the best practices, processes, mechanisms or systems that would support the topic’s implementation. In addition, NRCan provided several questions for discussion for each session. The questions can be found in Appendix A.

Following the group discussions, each table was asked to provide a short summary of what they had discussed. From these summaries, MNP compiled a list of the more frequently suggested best practices that could lessen or eliminate particular barriers to the adoption of green mining technologies and practices in the Canadian mining sector. As a means for MNP to validate what was heard during the workshop, the workshop attendees voted on how effective they felt each of these best practices may be. The results of this vote can be found in Appendix C.

The following report outlines the key findings from each session of the workshop as well as recommendations for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative that have been made in light of these findings.

2.0 Feasibility of a Green Mining Innovation Environmental Technology Verification Program

2.1 Summary of the Workshop Presentations

Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) is the “validation of environmental technology performance by qualified third parties based on test data generated by protocols or specific requirements”.Footnote 1 As of February 2011, the performance of over 1,000 technologies had been verified under various national ETV programs, including 57 in Canada. The benefits of ETV extend to vendors, governments and purchasers and include:

  • Providing some level of credibility and acceptance of verified environmental technologies nationally and internationally
  • Reducing the risk for buyers and end users when investing in new environmental technologies
  • More rapid and widespread adoption of technologies to help address environmental challenges
  • Stakeholder engagement and acceptanceFootnote 2

The Canadian ETV Program was established in 1997 by Environment Canada. Environment Canada oversees its independent third-party delivery agent, who manages the technical side of the Program. GLOBE Performance Solutions (GLOBE), the Program’s delivery agent since October 2012, is a global source for performance-based solutions. GLOBE works collaboratively with industry across Canada in order to accelerate market adoption of technology-based solutions. Those involved in the process include:

  • Technology developers
  • Testing and verification organizations, which validate test plans and verify results obtained from independent tests
  • Various groups with a commercial, managerial or technical interest in technology performance
  • National, regional or international organizations, including regulatory authorities and certification bodiesFootnote 3

GLOBE’s ETV procedure includes the following steps:

  1. Pre-screening: A preliminary evaluation based on the Canadian ETV Program’s requirements, the proponent’s submission, available stakeholder input and other information relevant to performance verification.
  2. Formal application: Includes information on intended use of the technology, potential regulatory constraints, benefits and limitations of the technology, expected performance and environmental aspects.
  3. Determination of performance parameters: Includes regulatory requirements, application based needs and user needs, state of the art performance of similar products, performance claims for technology, input from stakeholders, relevant technical standards and reference documents and significant environmental aspects and issues regarding the sue of the technology in a sustainable way.
  4. Verification planning: Based on the defined application and performance parameters, the verification organization determines the overall set-up of the test design, as well as the required data quality and test results assessment method.
  5. Existing data assessment: Quality and reliability of data submitted by the proponent is evaluated by the verification organization to determine whether the obtained test data and results can be part of the verification, taking into account the overall ETV procedure and quality requirements.
  6. Test planning: Testing, if needed, is planned by the testing organization based on the requirements of the verification organization.
  7. Testing: Testing is conducted according to the test plan.
  8. Analysis: When required, test organizations may send samples for analysis to an analytical laboratory, provided the laboratory meets the quality criteria specified in the test plan.
  9. Verification: The verification organization reviews the procedure in the corresponding test plan and determines if the data satisfy the requirements of the verification plan. If data exists from previous tests, then these data are also reviewed.
  10. Reporting and post-verification: Results of verification are reported based on information from the verification plan, testing and analysis, verification results, deficiencies (if any) and the results of quality assurance. A verification statement is prepared which may require renewal.Footnote 4

Two CanmetMINING technologies were used by GLOBE as examples of how the ETV process could be applied to validate the performance of mining-related technologies:

Alternative Slag Binder Technology (ASBT): Alternative to conventional backfill binders to solidify underground mine backfill. Uses a series of cyclones to make fine particle concentrates.
Residuals Optimization Bio-Energy Technology (ROBT): Alternative to conventional mine reclamation practices. Enables post-mining agriculture for bio-fuels on mine tailings.

A very important part of GLOBE’s ETV procedure involves determining what can be measured in order to quantifiably verify technology performance (step 3: determination of performance parameters). GLOBE indicated that possible quantifiable performance claims that could be used in the verification of these technologies’ performance could include: Footnote 5

ASBT ROBT
  • Laboratory strength testing – mortars, hydraulic backfill, paste backfill
  • Footprint reduction
  • Quantity of material managed
  • Per ton of Portland cement used
  • Percentage reduction in GHG emissions that could be realized with implementation of ASBT
  • Percentage reduction in binder costs that could be realized with implementation of ASBT (e.g. over 50%)
  • Energy savings
  • No trend of increasing metal levels in the bio-solids cover (from underlying tailings)
  • No trend of metal accumulation in crops
  • Percentage reduction in GHG emissions that could be realized with implementation of ROBT
  • Percentage reduction in mine reclamation costs that could be realized with implementation of ROBT
  • Energy production

An International Working Group on ETV was established in May 2008, which is working towards international recognition to ensure that a technology verified in one member program will be accepted as verified in other member programs. This includes the development of an ISO-ETV standard and accreditation of organizations involved in the Program, which Canada is leading. The ISO-ETV standard involves the standardization in the field of environmental management systems and tools in support of sustainable development. The committee managing the development of the ISO-ETV standard involves 300 members, 78 participating countries and 32 observer countries.Footnote 6

Environment Canada, in partnership with the GLOBE Foundation, is working to strengthen the Canadian ETV Program by:

  • Discussing with federal, provincial and municipal governments to increase acceptance of ETV in approval processes and decrease technology testing duplication
  • Establishing a delivery structure that meets current national and international needs
    Increasing awareness and understanding of ETV through a variety of marketing means and ensuring stakeholder engagement
    Ensuring accessibility of the ETV Program in all regions of Canada through a network of established verification organizationsFootnote 7

Environment Canada believes that its ETV Program aligns with the objectives of NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative, including sustaining an environmentally responsible mining sector in Canada and creating market opportunities in green mining technologies. The Canadian ETV Program may be able to accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies through increasing buyer and end user confidence in performance, as well as increasing the awareness and performance of green mining technologies in Canada and internationally. There are opportunities for the expansion of the ETV process into the mining sector and for the participation of the mining sector in the development of the ISO-ETV standard.Footnote 8

2.2 Key Findings from the Workshop

ETV is a valid and preferred mechanism to enable technology performance verification
From the results of a questionnaire sent by NRCan to regulators, industry and other stakeholders of NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative, it was found that both industry and regulators felt that it is important that new technology be verified by a third party before adopting it. Furthermore, the majority of respondents saw value in having a technology certified as “green” or environmental. At the same time, it was felt that there is a need to clearly define what is “green” in order to avoid “green-washing.”

Group discussions held at the workshop indicated that independent verification of technology performance by a third party could accelerate the approval process, increase the credibility of new technologies and reduce the risk in investing in these technologies.

At the same time, participants shared concerns about the monetary costs of using an ETV program and whether or not these costs would deter some firms from undertaking ETV. It was suggested that the possibility of financial incentives for those who undertake ETV could be explored. Some were also concerned that the length of time needed to verify a technology’s performance may be too long for smaller firms who may not be able to afford a lengthy verification process. ETV should provide guidance so firms are working in the proper direction from the start and do not experience unnecessary delays.

Workshop participants felt that pilot opportunities could be sought out in order to demonstrate how ETV can be an effective mechanism for the mining industry in practice. Some participants also felt that technology could be tested not only in the lab, but also in the field in order to increase the confidence of industry in the test results. It would also be important that the performance of new technologies be compared to industry baselines; however, this poses a challenge since mining baselines are not readily identified.

Promotion of ETV as a mechanism to enable technology performance verification is required
While it was felt that there is value to having a technology’s performance verified by an independent third party, there was little awareness of verification programs amongst stakeholders of NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative. From NRCan’s questionnaire it was found that the majority of respondents were unaware of mining-related verification programs or mechanisms including Canada’s ETV Program. Ninety percent of respondents had never used a technology performance verification program for a mining-related technology or process. Awareness of technology performance verification programs was also low amongst workshop participants.

Workshop participants had a number of questions regarding Canada’s ETV Program and how it applies to the mining industry, taking into consideration all of the industry’s intricacies. In order to establish confidence in an ETV program amongst mining industry stakeholders, detailed information about the program and its application to green mining innovation needs to be communicated transparently. Successes in using ETV in the mining industry could be included in communications. It was suggested that a wide variety of communication mechanisms be used in order to increase awareness and understanding of ETV. Communication regarding ETV also needs to be a part of larger stakeholder involvement in order to be successful.

Technology verification must provide the end user with assurance that the performance achieved through the testing process is how the technology will operate in the field. The value of the verification provided by an ETV program would depend on how well known the program is.

2.3 Implications for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative

ETV is a mechanism that could accelerate the regulatory approval of green mining technologies. However, stakeholders indicated that it is only one part of what is needed to accelerate the approval process and that complementary initiatives, such as enhanced communication and outcome-based regulations, would be required in order for ETV to be truly beneficial to NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative. Since knowledge of ETV amongst mining industry stakeholders is currently very low, communication of ETV would be key to having such verification recognized by all stakeholders and pursued by technology developers. Stakeholders must have a thorough understanding of ETV and its processes in order to have confidence that technology verified through an ETV program will be adequate for field use.

3.0 Enhancement of Industry-Regulator Engagement and Communication

3.1 Summary of the Workshop Presentations

A vital part of green mining innovation projects is effective stakeholder engagement. Effective engagement allows for better development of technology-related proposals and eases the regulatory approval process. The goal should be to increase the awareness of all stakeholders of new technologies being developed and deployed, with a focus on industry and regulators.

Examples of elements of engagement strategies that have been successful in the past include:

  • Consulting stakeholders to identify their research and development needs prior to developing a research plan
  • Preparation and distribution of a gap analysis to stakeholders
  • Establishment of a network to maintain engagement and enhance communication
  • Initial individual and joint meetings with industry and other stakeholders
  • Development and distribution of an Expression of Interest to potential partners in order to determine their level of interest/desired participation
  • Various presentations in order to gather input and present results
  • Publication of general interest articles
  • Pursuing joint funding
  • Formal research and development arrangements
  • Holding annual stakeholder meetings to present results and discuss future research plans

Lessons learned from past successes indicate that to be effective, an engagement strategy should consider the following:

  • Start engagement early, preferably at the development stage
  • Bring stakeholders together through a consortium or network
  • Secure engagement (for example, through joint funding agreements)
  • Work collectively
  • Vary the engagement approach based on the stakeholderFootnote 9

Varying the engagement approach based on the stakeholder is extremely important as each stakeholder has different concerns. For example, mining companies are concerned with operations and performance. Engagement with mining companies should take into account that while new technology may bring operational costs down, the performance of a new technology needs to be highly reliable for companies to adopt it. Furthermore, as various other industry stakeholders (NGOs, communities, consultants, etc.) can have a large influence on mining companies’ decisions, these stakeholders’ concerns and their relationships with mining companies need to be taken into consideration when planning an engagement approach for these stakeholders.

In order to introduce a new technology into a mining company’s operations, the company’s culture or decision-making process also needs to be understood. Finding the individual or individuals within the mining company who are open to adopting new technologies is extremely important. Regulations are also a major factor in company decision making. However, individuals within mining companies who are interested in new technologies are not necessarily the same as those who are concerned about mining regulations. Because of this, both groups need to be engaged when discussing the introduction of new technologies into a company’s operations.Footnote 10

3.2 Key Findings from the Workshop

Early engagement of all stakeholders is beneficial
The majority of respondents to NRCan’s questionnaire indicated that they had either observed or experienced the benefits of early (before the actual regulatory process) communication and engagement between regulators and industry with respect to introducing a new technology. Workshop participants also felt that early communication, ideally at the exploration phase, is beneficial to reducing regulatory approval barriers. Early meetings between industry and regulators could occur, both formal and informal.

It was stated that a broad, holistic approach to engagement including all stakeholders (industry, regulators, NGOs, public, Aboriginal groups, etc.) has been the most effective approach. By bringing all stakeholders together, everyone would have access to the same information and therefore be able to communicate with one another more effectively. In order for engagement to be as effective as possible, it would be important to first identify the appropriate individuals to contact within each stakeholder organization.

Effective messaging needs to be developed and employed
Once the proper individuals are identified, they should receive clear, accurate and consistent information. The key to building trust is to be open and transparent with information. It was stated that it is not yet clear to all stakeholders what NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative is or what is meant by the term “green mining”. In addition, many stakeholders do not perceive mining as an industry to be innovative. Terminology and other information related to NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative needs to be refined and “packaged” in order to ensure that all stakeholders have an accurate understanding of NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative and the benefits of green technologies. Using case studies to illustrate tangible successes with innovative technologies was identified as an effective tool in developing awareness.

Furthermore, as each stakeholder has different concerns, it was felt that tailoring messages to address particular items of interest to each stakeholder could ensure that they are provided with the information they need to alleviate their concerns.

Use variety in the engagement approach
The majority of those who responded to NRCan’s questionnaire indicated that they are aware of best practices in communication; however, most respondents were unable to identify what these best practices are. Workshop participants felt that efforts could be made toward learning the successful engagement and communication techniques various industries and organizations have employed. Cameco, KSM Cooper and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) were provided as examples of organizations with effective engagement and communication models that could be studied, among others.

Although there are elements of engagement that can be considered best practices, it is felt that there is no single comprehensive approach that can be deemed “best practice” for communicating with every stakeholder. It was agreed among workshop participants that the approach to engagement needs to be flexible and open to be effective in addressing each stakeholder’s needs and concerns. Stakeholder engagement should also be proactive and ongoing with constructive dialogue.

Make efforts towards building an industry culture and standard for green technologies
Health and safety are of the utmost importance in the mining sector. Workshop participants indicated that effort could be directed towards evolving to the same industry culture for green technologies as there is for health and safety. Furthermore, rather than targeting specific mining companies to discuss new technologies, information on these technologies could be communicated across the entire industry. This could contribute to eventually creating an “industry standard” where there are expectations of the industry regarding the use of green technologies.

3.3 Implications for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative

Early stakeholder engagement focused on bringing stakeholders together as much as possible and ensuring that the right messages are conveyed could improve stakeholder understanding of and comfort with green technologies. In turn, this increased awareness could serve to quicken the regulatory approval process by lessening perceived risks associated with new technologies. Early communication could also allow for opportunities for collaboration on innovative projects. It is important to note that if such a comprehensive, industry-wide engagement initiative were to be initiated, significant planning and funding would be required. Such an initiative would need to be industry led and funded.

4.0 Use of Outcome-Based Regulations as a Means to Foster Mining Innovation

4.1 What are Outcome-Based Regulations?

Prescriptive regulations provide not only clear outcomes but also detailed instructions on how to achieve those outcomes. On the other hand, outcome-based regulations provide clear outcomes but do not provide specific instructions on how to achieve them. In other words, the regulator specifies the desired environmental outcomes and enforces compliance with the regulations, but it is largely the responsibility of industry to decide how those outcomes are achieved.Footnote 11

4.2 Summary of the Workshop Presentations

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment was experiencing significant demand for services in conjunction with a growing mining sector, combined with budget and workforce reductions. At the same time, the Ministry was spending a significant amount of effort reviewing “low-risk” transactions and applications. Because of a government focus on efficiency and client service, the presence of a higher degree of environmental understanding amongst stakeholders and the fact that environmental legislation did not always accommodate the speed of business, changes to the regulatory system were desired. Significant consultations occurred regarding the type of regulatory environment Saskatchewan should have; the focus quickly came upon results-based regulations (RBR).

The objectives of RBR, Saskatchewan’s response to outcome-based regulations, are as follows:

  • No lessening of standards – not self-regulation, not de-regulation;
  • Facilitate economic growth via efficient and consistent regulations;
  • Environmental protection at the speed of routine business, supported by qualified professionals;
  • Timely, science and knowledge-based decisions by a professional public service; and
  • Enhanced compliance and enforcement – inspections and audits.Footnote 12

There are four key features of RBR that were outlined by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment:

  • Supporting legislation: Strong, enabling legislation is key to making RBR work.
  • Code: A clear, concise statement of the policies, objectives and best practices that will govern the management and protection of the environment. It will replace, where appropriate, current prescriptive requirements of regulations. The code:
    • Consolidates environmental protection objectives, standards, policies, guidelines and best practices;
    • Promotes efficiency through clear, unambiguous requirements and expectations;
    • Promotes harmonization of environmental protection policies across government;
    • Promotes innovation through alternatives. Under the code the regulated community will be able to choose how to achieve compliance by either following acceptable solutions developed by technical committees or developing their own alternative solutions that will be approved by a qualified person and accepted by the Minister.
  • Emphasis on outcomes: Developers/licensees/citizens are accountable for meeting compulsory parts of the code and finding ways to achieve the outcomes.
  • Compliance and enforcement: Compliance assurance mechanisms and enforcement tools are needed to identify and deal with proponents that do not accept their responsibilities.Footnote 13

Legislative change was required to support RBR. The Ministry has reviewed and updated some of its core legislation and will eventually go through all of its legislation and “codify” where possible. Implementation of the first set of code is planned for 2014. Activities not yet covered by the code will continue to be regulated as they were before.

Previously, regulations were proposed by the Ministry for review by stakeholders. Under the RBR model, the Ministry proposes where regulation is needed and volunteer committees recommend regulations/code to the Minister. More than 200 volunteers (Federal Departments, NGOs, First Nations and Métis, municipalities, industry) were involved in the development of the code as it stands today.

Lessons learned throughout the change to RBR include:

  • Strong support is required – at the ministerial, cabinet, deputy minister, executive and related ministry levels. Strong supporting legislation is also required;
  • Permanent project management is required from the start;
  • Development of internal change management mechanisms is required beforehand;
  • Allow adequate time – for the design of the program, for proper consultation, for committees to do work and for government legal/legislative processes;
  • Provide adequate human resources to complete the assigned changes.Footnote 14

In Saskatchewan, there are no “mining codes” currently in existence under RBR; however, mines use the codes as needed for operations. It was noted that approval time for “code activities” has seen improvement. It is not yet determined whether there will be sector-specific codes.

In addition to moving towards RBR, Saskatchewan has also developed the Institutional Control Program, an innovative program that establishes funding for the long-term care and control of closed mine sites located on Crown land, among other things. The creation of the Program was fuelled by the uncertainty mining companies had about where their roles end and where the Province’s begins regarding mine closure. Buy in for the Program was gained from stakeholders including Aboriginal groups and NGOs.Footnote 15

4.3 Key Findings from the Workshop

Outcome-based regulations are capable of facilitating technological innovation
NRCan undertook a literature review in order to determine if outcome-based regulations foster technological innovation. This review indicated that outcome-based regulations provide more flexibility for companies to choose what technologies or processes to use in order to achieve compliance with regulations. Workshop participants were also in agreement that outcome-based regulations can provide the flexibility needed to make the adoption of new technologies a more viable option.

Outcome-based regulations may also encourage innovation, especially if current technologies are unable to meet new compliance requirements. Depending upon what technologies or processes are chosen by a company, compliance costs can be reduced. As well, if the outcomes are clearly defined, mining companies can gain a greater understanding of their compliance obligations and can therefore be held more accountable for the results produced.

The literature review also suggested that the standardized requirements in prescriptive regulations may be reducing mining efficiency since the mining sector lacks standardization. This means that regulations may not be protecting the environment enough at some sites, while overprotecting it at others. Prescriptive regulations cause mining companies to be more concerned with complying with standards rather than considering the actual mining process. This in turn promotes the use of standardized technologies that are not necessarily contributing to the achievement of maximum environmental performance. Outcome-based regulations, on the other hand, allow mining companies to identify their site-specific issues and how they will address them.

The review also revealed several disadvantages to outcome-based regulations. There is the potential for outcome-based regulations to be too open to interpretation. For example, industry and regulators may interpret an outcome-based regulation differently, resulting in difficulties with regulatory enforcement and compliance. Proper monitoring would be key to ensuring that regulation continues to be controlled by the regulators, not industry, and that regulations are consistently applied. A lack of proper monitoring could also result in compliance issues going unnoticed. Workshop participants were in agreement that strong monitoring of outcome-based regulations would be critical to their success.

Outcome-based regulations can also increase uncertainty regarding the regulatory process since they allow for a variety of compliance options. Companies may not be willing to invest in new technologies if they are unsure whether or not they will meet compliance requirements. Small and medium companies in particular tend to prefer prescriptive regulations because of the certainty they provide. Workshop participants also shared concerns regarding the uncertainty that outcome-based regulations may cause.

Outcome-based regulations may also entail additional costs as a result of the need to invest in research and development in order to achieve compliance with regulations. This could have a significant impact on small businesses in particular.

NRCan’s literature review indicated that the success of outcome-based regulations depends on the following:

  • Compliance rates: High compliance culture in a sector will facilitate the introduction of outcome-based regulations
  • Ability to effectively measure regulatory objectives: Non-compliance behaviour can be clearly identified by measurable outcomes
  • Appropriate timelines: Deadlines for implementing and meeting new regulation standards need to be appropriate, allowing for adequate time for the development of new technologies
  • Risk levels: Outcome-based regulations are usually more appropriate for low- to medium-risk activities. For example, Australian mining regulations for health and safety remain prescriptive as a result of their high risk levels.Footnote 16

Workshop participants agreed that based on the level of risk posed in specific sectors or locations, there may be value in having a combination of both prescriptive and outcome-based regulations. An option mimicking Australia’s mining regulations was suggested, with prescriptive regulations for health and the extraction of uranium and outcome-based regulations for low-risk activities. It was also stated that some regulations may not require changes as they may not be impacting the adoption of new technologies.

In addition to the success factors for outcome-based regulations noted by NRCan above, workshop participants indicated that it would be critical to have strong, multi-level government support to make changes to regulations, as was the case in Saskatchewan.

NRCan is currently conducting a scan of environmental regulations in Canada. At the time the March 7, 2013 workshop was conducted, five provinces and two federal departments had responded to NRCan’s inquiries.Footnote 17 The process to gather additional information has continued since the workshop. In total, 19% of these jurisdictions’ regulations and acts were indicated to currently be outcome-based. Furthermore, outcome-based regulations are being considered for 78% of the regulations expected to be modernized within the next two to five years. This indicates that there could be a potential increase of more than 20% in the number of outcome-based regulations and acts in the next two to five years. It appears as though outcome-based regulations are becoming part of regulation modernization, decreasing the amount of time regulators need to spend approving and monitoring lower-risk activities.

Incentives are also required to encourage the industry to use new, innovative technologies
Outcome-based regulations alone may not encourage mining companies to adopt new technologies as these technologies would still involve more risk than those that have been proven through extensive use. Workshop participants indicated that the use of incentives in conjunction with outcome-based regulations may increase their effectiveness in promoting innovation in the mining industry. A variety of possible incentives were suggested:

  • Industry awards or recognition for adopting green mining technologies;
  • Financial incentives from governments for exceeding regulatory outcomes; and
  • Tax incentives for companies to adopt green mining technologies, including suggestions for reductions in royalty payments for proactive firms.

Participants also indicated that consideration could be given as to whether or not there are any market-driven expectations of mining company customers that could be seen as incentives for mining companies to adopt green technologies. For example, consumer knowledge of conflict diamonds resulted in outcry against the trade of these diamonds and the creation of the Kimberley Process to ensure diamond purchases were not financing rebel violence against legitimate governments. It could be determined whether or not there are any market-related factors pushing for the use of new technologies in the mining sector.

4.4 Implications for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative

The results of the workshop and NRCan’s literature review suggest that outcome-based regulations with proper monitoring have the potential to foster innovation in mining. Continued evolution to outcome-based regulations is a positive foundation for the adoption of green mining technologies. However, outcome-based regulations alone may not provide the motivation for all mining companies to adopt new technologies. If the goal is to achieve industry-wide adoption of green mining technologies, then incentives may be required in order to encourage lagging mining companies to use new, innovative technologies to achieve compliance with regulations. Extensive consultation with mining industry stakeholders would be required in order to educate them about outcome-based regulations, discuss where they could be used in order to encourage the development of innovative mining technologies and gain support for their implementation.

5.0 Major Findings and Recommendations for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative

Attendees of the workshop conducted on March 7, 2013, confirmed that the three recommendations endorsed by the Energy and Mines Ministers in 2012 can all play an important role in streamlining the approval process for new, innovative technologies including green technologies. Throughout the course of the workshop it was made clear that there are also strong linkages between the three recommendations in that they support one another in facilitating the development and implementation of green mining technologies.

While outcome-based regulations may facilitate/enable the adoption of new technologies as a result of their flexible nature, they also may provide some uncertainty for companies as to whether new technologies will achieve the established outcomes. Having new technologies verified through an ETV program may provide the certainty companies require to feel comfortable using new technologies instead of the “tried and true” industry standard. However, effective engagement and communication related to the ETV program must occur first in order to establish the program’s credibility. Effective communication of information regarding new technologies can also help provide mining companies with the assurance that if implemented, these technologies would not expose them to unnecessary risks.

In order to achieve the necessary level of stakeholder buy in to move forward on these initiatives, extensive consultation and discussion with all mining industry stakeholders would be required. This is true particularly for the ETV program and outcome-based regulations, as there are many mining industry stakeholders who currently have little to no understanding of both of these initiatives.

The following specific points are the recommendations that have emerged for NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative as a result of the March 7, 2013 session:

Expand the use of the ETV Program

  • Endorse the use of the Canadian ETV Program by industry as a mechanism to test and verify technologies; and
  • Support the promotion and communication of the Program to mining companies and suppliers including encouraging industry associations to promote the ETV Program to their members.

Opportunities to improve industry-regulator engagement and communication

  • Proponents of green mining technologies should consider engaging all stakeholders early in the process when proposing a new technology;
  • Regulators may consider inquiring about the degree to which stakeholders have been consulted and support early consultation;
  • Use transparent and open communication when promoting the use of a new technology; and
  • Consider supporting an industry-led public relations initiative that highlights the green track record of the industry and the steps being taken to implement new technologies.

Champion the evolution to outcome-based regulations

  • Continue to champion the use and expansion of outcome-based regulations as a mechanism to enable the adoption of additional green mining technologies
  • Expand the use of online portals that provide direct public access to environmental assessment documentation in order to provide public disclosure and transparency; and
  • Evaluate the potential use of incentives as a means to encourage broader adoption and use of green mining technologies to exceed regulatory requirements.

These recommendations are intended to sustain the momentum of NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative and enable the accomplishment of measurable outcomes.

 

6.0 Appendix A – Workshop Agenda

Agenda
Workshop on barriers to green mining innovation in Canada
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 370 King Street W, Toronto – King II Room
March 7, 2013

Chairs:

Magdi Habib – Director General, CanmetMINING, Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada

Gary White – Branch Head, Alberta Energy-Coal and Mineral Development Branch, Resource Revenue and Operations

8:30 a.m.
Introductory Remarks - Objectives and Context of the Workshop Chairs

8:40 a.m.
Overview of the Green Mining Initiative
Magdi Habib, Director General, CanmetMINING, NRCan

8:50 a.m.
Overview of green mining innovation barriers and historical background
Gary White, Branch Head-Coal & Mineral Development, Government of Alberta

9:00 a.m.
Sessions Format Overview
Facilitator

The general objectives for each session are to present background information, research and questionnaire findings on each theme; to propose specific actions under the theme; and, build stakeholders support on proposed actions. The results of each session will contribute to a report that will be presented to the Energy and Mines Ministers in August 2013.

9:05 a.m.
Session 1 – Assess Feasibility of GMI-Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Program

The development of a verification program for green mining would address the primary issues highlighted in the report and by workshop participants regarding the risks associated with the use of new technologies from the perspective of both industry and regulators. ETV Canada will do a presentation to raise the awareness of verification programs. Case studies will be presented and a potential mock case study of a CANMET Mining technology will be presented to introduce participants to the verification process followed by ETV Canada.

  • Results of the survey (5 minutes)
    Magdi Habib, Director General, CanmetMINING, NRCan
     
  • Presentation (30 minutes)
    - Paul Jiapizian, Program Manager, Technology Programs, Science & Technology Branch, Environment Canada
    - John Neate, President, GLOBE Performance Solutions

     
  • Group discussion (35 minutes)
    • How are verification systems applicable / relevant to the mining sector?
    • Is there a particular need for a verification system?
    • What areas of the mining sector could benefit from a verification program?
    • How could verification help the mining sector in the next 5-10 years?
    • Is there a market demand for this type of program in the mining sector?
    • Are there any obstacles or limits to a verification program that you can foresee arising in the mining sector?
    • Can verification be effective in bringing more technologies from the labs to the market?
       
  • Session 1 Wrap-up, including comments from presenter(s) (20 minutes)

10:35 a.m.
Break

10:50 a.m.
Session 2 – Enhance Industry / Regulator Engagement and Communication

Discuss formal approaches and mechanisms to information-sharing on new technologies between industry and regulators from different jurisdictions. Three GMI projects have been used to pilot information-sharing mechanisms based on their regulatory impacts. The results of these three GMI pilot projects will be shared by NRCan. A member of the industry will also present insights on their experience with engagement and communication mechanisms. The objective is to identify a set of best-practices for the mining industry

  • Results of the survey (5 minutes)
     
  • Panel Presentation (30 minutes)
    - Janice Zinck, Manager, Mine Waste Management and Footprint Reduction, NRCan
    - John Thompson, Canada Mining Innovation Council President, PetraScience Consultants Inc.

     
  • Discussion Session (35 minutes)
    • What are some examples of communication/engagement mechanisms that you have used in the past?
    • What are some common challenges that the mining sector faces with regards to engagement/communication?
    • Is there an area of mining where engagement/communication mechanisms are particularly weak?
    • Would a national approach to engagement/communication in the mining sector be feasible? Or would it be more effective to develop mechanisms that are specific to each mining activity? Please explain.
    • How could the communication between funding organizations and mining companies be improved, so that more technologies receive the necessary funding and make it to markets? Who else needs to be engaged more in the mining sector?
    • What are the preferred mechanisms for information-sharing (i.e. internet, working groups or other formal forums, etc…)?
       
  • Session 2 Wrap-up (20 minutes)

12:35 p.m.
Lunch

1:25 p.m.
Session 3 – Assess Use of Outcome-Based Regulations as Means to Foster Mining Innovation

Outcome-based regulations are perceived as being more accommodating to the deployment of new technologies / processes and are less likely to have to be modified when a new technology is being considered. The objective of this session is to share best practices for regulations that accommodate innovation and support opportunities.

  • Literature review (15 minutes)
    Gary White, Alberta
     
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment (40 minutes)
    Mark Wittrup, Assistant Deputy Minister, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment
     
  • Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy (20 minutes)
    Keith Cunningham, Senior Industry Analyst, Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy
     
  • Group discussion (40 minutes)
    • Where do outcome-based regulations have the most potential in the mining sector? Why?
    • How would you assess the compliance culture in the mining industry? Does it differ by sector?
    • What are the challenges associated with measuring results and outcomes in the mining sector? Is it easily achievable
    • Please identify some high risk activities in the mining sector and their likeliness of occurrence. Based on your understanding of the different types of regulations are these activities more commonly regulated by prescriptive or outcome-based regulations?
    • Please identify some low risk activities in the mining sector and their likeliness of occurrence. Based on your understanding of the different types of regulations are these activities more commonly regulated by prescriptive or outcome-based regulations?
    • Who could be considered a qualified expert, who would be capable of assessing if a new technology meets compliance, in the mining sector?
    • What sorts of enforcement mechanisms or incentives are most effective in the mining sector to ensure compliance with regulations? Is there a general set of preferred mechanisms or is it specific to the area of mining?
       
  • Session 3 Wrap-up, including comments from presenter(s) (20 minutes)

3:35 p.m.
Break

3:45 p.m.
Workshop Wrap-up
Facilitator
    - Discuss key findings
    - Identify next steps and action items

4:30 p.m.
End of workshop
  Chairs

7.0 Appendix B – List of Workshop Presenters and Attendees

Name, Title Organization
Co-Chairs
Habib, Magdi; Director General Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada
White, Gary; Branch Head – Coal and Mineral Development Alberta Energy, Government of Alberta
Presenters
Cunningham, Keith; Senior Industry Analyst Ministry of the Economy, Government of Saskatchewan
Jiapizian, Paul; Program Manager Environment Canada, Government of Canada
Neate, John; President GLOBE Performance Solutions
Thompson, John; President (of CMIC) Teck/PetraScience Consultants Inc. and CMIC
Wittrup, Mark; Assistant Deputy Minister Ministry of the Economy, Government of Saskatchewan
Zinck, Janice; Manager, Mine Waste Management and Footprint Reduction Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada
Attendees
Beckett, Peter; Biology Department/Vale Living with Lakes Centre Laurentian University
Burwash, Beth; Geologist, Coal and Mineral Department Alberta Energy, Government of Alberta
Daignault-Simard, Xavier; Analyst – Green Mining Initiative Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada
Doiron, Chris; Manager, Mining and Processing Environment Canada, Government of Canada
Dudley, Bruce; Senior Vice President Delphi Group
Ham, Linda; Manager, Minerals Government of Nunavut
Hassani, Ferri; Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering McGill University
Holmes, Robert; Director, Mineral Resources Branch, Energy, Mines and Resources Government of Yukon
Janhager, Stephan; Vice President, Standardization and Quality Assurance GLOBE Performance Solutions
Jones, Chuck; Resource Management Geologist, Mining Engineering Section Government of Manitoba
LeClair, Jean; Director, Uranium Mines and Minerals Division Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Ledain, Timon; Director, Screening and Evaluation Sustainable Development Technology Canada
Moroskat, Michael; Operations Manager Alberta Energy, Government of Alberta
Pakalnis, Vic; President and Chief Executive Mirarco Mining Innovation
Plouffe, Michel; Senior Research Engineer Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada
Pratt, Heather; Director, Research and Development University of Windsor
Robert, Stéphane; Manager, Regulatory Affairs Nunavut Agnico-Eagle
Steele, Ken; Senior Policy Advisor Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Government of Ontario
Stewart, Andrew; Senior Manager, Habitat Operations Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Government of Canada
Trikoupis, Anna; Project Manager, Environmental Innovations Branch Ministry of the Environment, Government of Ontario
Weatherell, Carl; Executive Director Canada Mining Innovation Council

8.0 Appendix C – Results from Vote on Potential Best Practices to Lessen/Remove Green Mining Innovation Barriers

Number Scale
7 Extremely effective
6 Highly effective
5 Effective
4 Somewhat effective
3 Neutral
2 Somewhat ineffective
1 Not effective
Session 1 – Assess feasibility of a green mining innovation Environmental Technology Verification Program
In your opinion, how effective would the following be for reducing/eliminating green mining innovation barriers? Rating (Out of 7)
Use of qualified/certified experts for verification reliability 6.5
Implementation of a national network of ETV testing partners 5.6
Use of a third-party delivery agent to manage the ETV program 5.4
Effectiveness of ETV procedures 5.4
ETV as a tool or concept to enable technology innovation 5.3
Value of Canadian verification of new technologies 5.3
Importance of an international standard for verification (ISO) 5.0
Ability of ETV to accelerate the regulatory process 5.0
ETV’s ability to assess technologies from other industries for their applicability to mining in Canada 4.9
ETV’s focus should be on mining practices, not just technologies 4.9
Value of creating a green mining innovation-specific ETV program 4.8
Importance of branding a green mining innovation verification program 4.7
Session 2 – Enhance industry/regulator engagement and communication
In your opinion, how effective would the following be for reducing/eliminating green mining innovation barriers? Rating (Out of 7)
Importance of early engagement of all parties regarding an innovative technology 6.4
Use of a broad, holistic approach to consultation on new technologies (industry, NGOs, public, Aboriginal) 6.1
Clear, consistent use of terminology by the mining industry 6.0
Use of case studies to illustrate tangible success 5.9
Build an industry “culture” for green technologies similar to the culture of workforce safety 5.9
Industry-funded pools for innovation vs. individual company led innovation 5.3
Use of tailored messages to specific audiences on the green practices of the mining industry 5.1
Joint development of innovative projects at the outset between industry and regulator 5.1
Build industry “standards” for green technologies 5.1
Have a clear champion for the use of green technologies in the industry (e.g. an individual and/or association) 5.1
Joint development of innovative projects at the outset – inclusion of NGOs in the process 4.4
Adopt a COSIA-type alliance for the mining industry 4.4
Use NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative as a means to relate to Aboriginal values 4.4
Focus on “majors” over “juniors” to increase the adoption of green mining technologies 3.2
Session 3 – Assess use of outcome-based regulations as means to foster mining innovation
In your opinion, how effective would the following be for reducing/eliminating green mining innovation barriers? Rating (Out of 7)
Use of an online portal for submission and tracking of regulatory applications 5.9
Use of financial and imprisonment penalties in extreme cases for non-compliance with OBR 5.5
Use of institutional control programs as a model for decommissioning 5.4
Use of online permission applications 5.2
Use of an institutional control registry 5.2
Effectiveness of supply-driven expectations of the buyers from mining companies (e.g. blood diamonds) 5.2
Use of incentives for industry firms to exceed defined outcomes 5.1
Effectiveness of OBR as a system to adopt green mining technologies 4.9
Use of an awards program (recognition) for adoption of green mining technologies 4.9
Have governments allocate a portion of royalties toward incentives to encourage the adoption of green mining technologies 4.6
Use of an economic cluster approach to coordinate and manage innovation 4.5

 

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