5.7 Specific-subject audits

An organisation may decide to undertake an environmental or social audit on a specific operation or part of a mine, or an affected community, for a variety of reasons, such as ensuring compliance, improving efficiency, effecting cost savings or reducing risk. These audits may be of any aspect of the company’s own mining operations, the onsite or offsite operations of contractors for whose environmental, safety and community relations performance the company is legally responsible, or the operations of waste contractors and external waste disposal and recycling facilities. This is often important during the exploration phase of a project, when earthmoving and drilling contractors may be operating over a wide area with little corporate supervision.

Many mining and petroleum operations develop integrated management systems, which can include environment, health, safety, security, community relations and other aspects, such as planning and construction or financial accounting. Some examples are:

  • Anglo American’s Safety, Health, Environment and Community Management System
  • BP’s Getting HSE Right
  • Atlantic Richfield Oil Company’s Operating Excellence System
  • BHP Billiton’s Health, Safety, Environment and Community Management System.

These systems may be audited regularly by internal auditors, or by external auditors commissioned by the company In some cases, they are audited by the lending institutions funding mining operations.

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