JORC Code Review

Members will be aware that a review of the JORC Code is in progress.

The JORC Committee are currently reviewing and assimilating information provided by a stakeholder consultation survey that formed the initial phase of the review.

The AIG Complaints Committee, in parallel with the review of the Code, has commenced a review of compliance with the Code by Competent Persons. The review was initiated partly in response to stakeholder concerns about whether the low-level of complaints related to the conduct of Competent Persons. The review involves a daily examination of randomly selected ASX announcements for which JORC Code compliance is required. To date, the review results suggest that the low-level of complaints reflects a high-level of compliance with the Code, with Competent Persons taking their obligation to report information relating to exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves in a material and transparent manner. Issues have been identified with just over 10% of the annoucements reviewed. Less than 5% of announcements were referred to the AIG Ethics and Standards Committee and ASX for further consideration.

Announcements considered to require attention spanned the complete spectrum of exploration and mining project activities, from IPO documents, through exploration reports to feasibility studies and production announcements. Areas of concern have included:

  1. failure to nominate a Competent Person, or claims of Competent Person status by individuals not eligible to act in this capacity as either a member of AIG or AusIMM, or a recognised overseas professional organisation.
  2. not describing the physical characteristics of industrial minerals in resource announcements.
  3. reporting contained metal without reporting tonnes and grade.
  4. reporting metal equivalent values without describing the method by which equivalence was estimated.
  5. announcing feasibility study results and a decision to proceed with a project, accompanied by resource information, metallurgical process details and project economics, with no description of how the resource will be mined.

The review will continue for several months. A dashboard is being developed for publication on the AIG web site which will be continuously updated with review results, released without identifying information. Consideration is being given to the review becoming a permanent part of the Complaints Committee’s activities.

There has also been an increase in public complaints relating to the activities of members acting as Competent Persons, after only one complaint being received during 2020. This is attributed to increased interest in the JORC Code, catalysed by announcements relating to the review of the Code.

Members are also reminded of their obligation to report instances of non-compliance with AIG’s Code of Ethics by other members. Compliance with both the JORC and VALMIN Codes is required by the Code of Ethics.

AIG follows a best practice, procedurally fair complaints process in which complaints are managed in complete confidence. Members are only named if there is an adverse finding delivered by the Ethics and Standards Committee.

A detailed description of the complaints process followed by AIG is provided on the Institute website. Complaints may be received from any member, or member of the public, but must be submitted in writing. Complaints cannot be anonymous, but complainants are also protected by the confidentiality processes that AIG has in place for dealing with these issues. A web form is available on the AIG website to assist with complaint submission.

Maintenance and continuous improvement of professional practice standards is central to our profession continuing to enjoy public confidence in work performed and reported by geoscientists in all fields of practice, not just exploration and mining. Suggestions and ideas on how any aspect of AIG’s Code of Ethics and Complaints process could be improved are always welcome for consideration by the AIG Board.

Andrew Waltho