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Unified mineral reporting: UNECE aligns international standards for mining industry

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) recently announced the harmonization of key international standards used in mineral reporting to simplify the process of reporting and classifying minerals. The updated Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) template to the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) bridging document, released on April 23 along with a Guidance Note, integrates the original CRIRSCO template and UNFC standards to provide a more accessible guide to reporting and classifying mineral resources and reserves.

The CRIRSCO template serves as the global standard for financial reporting of publicly listed mining companies, providing stakeholders with information about exploration progress, mineral resource estimates, and mineral reserve estimates for current mineral projects. On the other hand, the UNFC guidelines offer a principles-based classification system to assess the environmental, social, and economic feasibility of mineral resource development. By harmonizing these two standards, the aim is to simplify mineral data recording within the mining industry.

Dario Liguti, director of the sustainable energy division at UNECE, emphasized the commitment to enhancing transparency and consistency in mineral project reporting with the release of the updated bridging document.

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Garth Kirkham, principal of Kirkham Geosystems and chairperson for CRIRSCO, highlighted the importance of consistent standards in mineral reporting to avoid inaccuracies. While the harmonization may not directly impact most Canadian mining companies, Kirkham noted its usefulness for companies dealing with international governments or European entities adhering to UN rules or codes.

Kirkham likened the new bridging document to a map facilitating the comparison of mineral reporting codes from different countries to Canada’s codes, thus reducing confusion for mining companies dealing with international standards.

CIM Representatives and CRIRSCO task group members collaborated with UNECE for approximately five years to identify similarities between CRIRSCO and UNFC guidelines. The final draft of the bridging document was released in July 2023, and the approved document, along with guidance on its proper use, was endorsed by the UNECE’s Expert Group on Resource Management during their 15th annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, held from April 22 to 26, 2024.

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