Note from the Consultants Society Chair – October 2020
Dear ConSoc Members and Colleagues, welcome to the second AusIMM Consultants Society Newsletter.
Since our first edition the first Mineral Consultants Handbook Webinar took place on 28 August 2020. An excellent summary of the first three chapters was provided by Murray Lines, Andy Markham and John Dunlop and this was followed up by an interesting Q&A forum, resulting in the event running well over time. The next event covering Chapters 4, 5 and 7 will take place in a few weeks. Register now
As it affects many of our members, ConSoc has corresponded with JORC Chair Steven Hunt regarding the impact that the current COVID-19 restrictions are having on the ability of Competent Persons to undertake site visits when completing Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve Reports. The following discussion is taken from Steve’s reply and is presented as a service to ConSoc members to whom it might be relevant. It is not to be construed as advice, but rather as informal guidance which Competent Persons might use in determining their own course of action.
The JORC Committee has had some discussion (and a number of other queries) regarding the impact of local and global travel restrictions with respect to site access and visits.
The Table 1 requirement in Sections 4 and 5 is to outline visits carried out or to provide discussion of why this hasn’t occurred. Government travel bans are clearly an example of why a Competent Person cannot carry out a visit.
A valid fall-back position is to commission another experienced practitioner to carry out the site visit and provide a report back to the Competent Person. This could include photos, video and interviews of the sort the Competent Person would normally carry out in person. Choosing a local proxy of the right experience will be very important here.
Some have even suggested attempts to do live Zoom walk arounds with a GoPro so that the Competent Person can direct what they want to see, and personally direct inspections.
Activities of this nature can be described when completing Table 1. Given the wide range of lockdowns in place, the approach taken must be appropriate to the prevailing restrictions and not of themselves provide an alternative to a site visit where this is desirable and remains an option. However, where a visit is not an option, a description of alternative activities can at least outline to investors the additional efforts that the Competent Person has undertaken to manage risk and to independently verify site conditions. A longer than normal disclosure would likely be needed.
This will still be difficult for many Competent Persons, particularly if they have never been to the site they are reporting on, and may in fact mean that they cannot reach comfort in signing off. The risk of not detecting issues is higher, and in some contexts may not be able to be closed out. For example, an underground mine where the ability to walk through exposures can be critical in understanding structural relationships etc.
Of course this will be easier if the Competent Person has been to site pre-lockdown.
The main requirement from the JORC Committee perspective is that a Competent Person uses the Code prompts to provide the description of the additional efforts gone through under lockdown conditions to mitigate risk and to provide confirmation of site conditions.
Peter Hills FAusIMM (CP)