Courtesy of Anne Marie Toutant

Trust is the glue of society, wrote Dennis Jaffe, who specializes in working with family businesses. “Its presence cements relationships…allows organizations and communities to flourish, while the absence of trust can cause fragmentation, conflict, even war.”

This power-punching word caught my attention a couple of weeks ago when, combing through hundreds of emails that had flooded my inbox overnight, I glimpsed the subject line “Building Trust to Decarbonize the World.” Clicking open, instead of the usual delete, I saw to my delight that this was the theme of the 2023 CIM Convention + Expo, selected by the organizing committee led by convention chair David Cataford, CEO and director of Champion Iron.

Societal trust is a belief in the honesty, integrity and reliability of others; it builds slowly and can be lost in an instant. Evidence of increased trust with the Canadian mining industry was highlighted in a poll conducted by Abacus Data and released by the Mining Association of Canada on June 27, 2022. The poll report identified that over the past seven years there has been a modest increase from 76 per cent to 81 per cent in the number of Canadians who believe mining companies in Canada are earning the trust of Canadians. Abacus Data chair Bruce Anderson noted that Canadians expect progress on climate action and a lower carbon future and the 2022 poll results revealed a couple of trends. “First, Canadians are seeing economic opportunities in the mining sector when it comes to the future uses of sustainably produced minerals and metals, and second, that they observe Canadian mining companies moving in a good direction across a range of priorities, from environmental stewardship to emissions reduction to Indigenous relations,” he said.

Going forward, maintaining this trust-building momentum will be critical for Canadian companies involved in sustainably producing the metals and minerals needed to move the world to a lower carbon future. The transition from carbon-neutral declarations to the execution of concrete first-step actions, while partnering in trusted alliances with others to advance technologies for mid- and longer-term reductions, is happening all around us. Several operators partnering with original equipment manufacturers have declared that they will in the next few years start transitioning fleets to zero-emission battery-powered large mining trucks. Projects are being advanced through permitting and into construction by leveraging new business models that include local and First Nations communities. Advancements in dry stacking, co-disposing and co-mingling waste and tailings is reducing risk by removing water from tailings storage.

What are you doing to inspire trust in both the industry and in your business? What actions are your company taking to drive forward sustainable mining in Canada? How are you implementing technologies, partnering with others, protecting your workforce, securing financing, reducing your footprint? One way to build trust is to be transparent and to share knowledge and best practices. The call for abstracts for the 2023 CIM Convention is open – inspire us and share!