Mark Burnett – CPs and ESG: A PERC POV

AMC Consultants (UK) Limited 1 Bell Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1BU

“Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

In 1997, John Elkington presented the concept of the sustainable capitalism in “Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business”, however, the concept of sustainable development was first defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED, the Brundtland Commission) in 1987.

Figure 1 General relationship between Exploration Results, Mineral Resources, and Mineral Reserves and the Modifying Factors

Understanding the impact that humans have had on the planet, both in academic as well as in popular media, as well as the rise of consumer, investor, and environmental activism, has forced the extractives industry to re-evaluate the way they report their activities to the market. Following scandals such as Poseidon Nickel, Bre- X and Enron, additional reporting requirements were made mandatory, including Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes Oxley Acts, however, in many ways, the Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance (ESG) aspects of the Figure 1 Modifying Factors, were not always seen as critical to project or operational success or failure. That all changed on 23 May 2020, when the Juukan Gorge caves were destroyed, during blasting operations, as part of the expansion of the Brockman 4 iron ore mine in Western Australia.

In 2020, the Pan European Reporting Code (PERC), convened a working group, led by Sarah Gordon and Cathryn McCallum, to advise on detailed updates to the reporting standard (Standard). As a result of this work, the ESG section (Chapter 13) has been expanded and a detailed section is now included in Table 1.

The revised PERC Code now requires that the determination of the prospects of economic extraction of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves must include written consideration of the full direct and indirect environmental cost of extraction, processing, and end-use in terms of climate change, environmental degradation, ecological diversity cultural destruction as well as the requirements and plans for waste and tailings disposal. Appendix 1 (the glossary) has also been significantly expanded to include ESG terminology that might be unfamiliar to minerals industry professionals.


Mark Burnett, Principal Geologist.

Mark has more than 25 years of experience in the mining industry, including mergers, acquisitions, and asset disposals. Mark joined AMC in 2019; prior to this he was a Divisional Manager with Snowden Mining Consultants Limited in South Africa. Mark was also Manager (Technical) for Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited. Mark is currently the Chairperson of PERC’s Training Sub-committee.