Perseus Mining Ltd (ASX:PRU) (TSX:PRU) (OTCMKTS:PMNXF) (FRA:P4Q) has recorded great progress in its 2020 sustainability report as it moves forward in delivering sustainable gold production of 500,000 ounces per annum by financial year 2022.
The report confirms the work Perseus has been doing over the years, which has led to a solid, social and environmental performance.
Highlights of the report include zero fatalities in the history of the company and significant benefits for its host countries, including 96% of its employees coming from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
Further, nearly 80% of goods and services are sourced from the host countries.
Win-win situation for all stakeholders
Speaking to Proactive, Perseus Mining chief executive and managing director Jeff Quartermaine said: “ESG is not a winner takes all game.
“Done properly, it can definitely be a win-win situation with all our stakeholders benefiting, not just our stakeholders and this is what Perseus is seeking to do and I trust the report we publish today will provide readers with an excellent insight into the progress we have been making today.”
In the report, he added: “Our achievements from the last 12 months include increasing our social investment spend by 71% from 2019 to US$1.9 million, delivering critical health and education infrastructure projects in our communities.
“We have also increased our local employment from 94% in 2019 to 96%, increased our local procurement from 66% in 2019 to 78% in 2020.
“This resulted in a total economic contribution to Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire of about US$385 million in 2020.
Confirms work done over the years
Perseus Mining’s group head of sustainability Jessica Volich told Proactive: “This work confirms all the work Perseus has done over the years has today led to a solid social and environmental performance.”
Perseus started working with KPMG in 2020 to establish a three-year sustainability roadmap, focused on driving improvements in environmental and social performance to enhance its economic and social value proposition.
New board member
In financial year 2021, the company refreshed its board composition and accountability to enable greater focus on sustainability risks and opportunities, and environmental and social performance.
A new director will be appointed before the end of the financial year to enhance the sustainability skills of the board.
The new director will lead oversight of the company’s sustainability performance, as part of the Audit and Risk Committee.
In 2020, Perseus established and commenced the roll-out of a compliance management database, capturing its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) commitments and sustainability legal requirements, which will be completed in 2021.
In financial years 2021 and 2022, the company will review and update its code and associated processes to ensure it remains current with legislation changes and its risk profile, and enhance its integration within the company’s governance and sustainability performance framework.
Supply chain and responsible sourcing
To further enhance the sustainability of its supply chain and in line with the introduction of the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, Perseus developed and commenced implementation of a Modern Slavery Management Plan in 2020.
Key to the delivery of this plan is its supplier due diligence program, which will be implemented across its higher risk supply categories in financial years 2021 and 2022.
The company has developed its policy and standards framework with a focus on governance at individual operations and through financial years 2021 and 2022, it will review, simplify and integrate its policies to drive performance across the group.
As part of this work, Perseus is committed to aligning its approach to sustainability with the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs), with full implementation by the end of financial year 2023.
It completed internal audits during 2020 of Anti Bribery and Corruption, Mining Contractors, Human Resources, Fixed-Plant Maintenance and Information Technology.
Internal audits currently planned for the coming year include Critical Spares and Consumables, Capital Management and Compensation payments in Cote d’Ivoire, Procure to Pay, General Ledger Controls and Group Safety Management Systems.
Third-party assurance providers are engaged to evaluate its sustainability approach and management systems at each operation every two to three years to ensure accurate representation of its commitments and actions.
Perseus commenced external independent assurance of its sustainability performance data in 2020 as part of its reporting process, with pre-assurance by KPMG for safety, water, community contributions, people, energy and greenhouse gas emissions data.
Pre-assurance will continue in financial year 2021, with limited assurance on selected data commencing from financial year 2022.
World Gold Council Responsbile Gold Mining principles
The RGMPs, launched in September 2019, provides a comprehensive framework to guide improved performance in responsible gold mining, grouped into the environmental, social and governance-related issues that are increasingly important to a broad range of its stakeholders.
The company has commenced work to integrate the RGMPs into its sustainability performance framework, conducting an alignment analysis of its existing processes which indicated around 75% alignment, with full alignment with the Principles of Ethical Conduct, Working with Communities and Environmental Stewardship.
In line with the World Gold Council’s implementation requirements, independent assurance of its gap analysis will be conducted in financial year 2022, with full implementation to be completed in financial year 2023.