ESG (environmental, social and governance) compliance – a term I heard for the first time about three years ago – has quickly escalated to become one of the mining sector’s biggest priorities.

But the essence of what it means is by no means new. It has overridden the phrases ‘social license to operate’ and perhaps ‘corporate social responsibility’ which have all had their spotlight moments. Are they the same thing? In part yes, but each has built on the concept before to incorporate greater responsibility into more areas.

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Let me stop here before this starts sounding like a textbook extract. The point I’m making is that the mining industry’s contribution towards sustainability within and around the areas in which it operates has always been a requirement– only now it’s anon-negotiable requirement if you want investment and funding support. And this brings me back to the word I used at the start: compliance.

From my perspective, the simple definition of ESG is ‘giving back’. Giving back to the environment, the communities you may have affected and the country you’ve chosen to settle in. And giving back should be a willing act of desire, not an obligation.

Let’s hope, for the most part, the true motivation for doing what’s right is just that – doing what’s right. The reward is, and can undoubtedly be, so much greater.

One company living the ESG philosophy in its truest form is B2Gold Namibia. Having had the privilege of spending three days with the company on site, I got to see and experience it for myself. This company is an example of what one mine can do to make a significant difference.

I don’t want to go into specifics here (you can read about it for yourself on page 62) but I do want to salute B2Gold Namibia’s MD and country manager Mark Dawe for all the wonderful work he is doing in conjunction with an equally passionate and committed team supporting him.

Because Mining Review Africa as a whole is an ESG ambassador, you can join our team for the Africa Mining Forum digital event on 2 – 4 November. This year it has chosen to look at ESG, not collectively but as individual components. Over the three days we’ll delve into each field of ESG and unpack some of the latest trends and changes in this regard.

We are excited to see you there. Join us in being part of the real ESG evolution.

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