Corporate Responsibility Policies and Practices
The Company's success depends on how well it manages the economic, environmental and social impacts of its operations on the communities surrounding its properties. In the past fifteen years, the mining industry has undergone a significant shift in its thinking about corporate social and environmental responsibility. Groups such as the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the Alliance for Responsible Mining have set new industry standards to encourage mining companies to strike a balance between environmental and economic responsibility by developing and implementing plans that reduce environmental impact on the local land, water, air and people.
The Company is committed to conduct its business activities in full compliance with recognized international and local environmental standards and in a manner that promotes sustainable development and an improvement in the social welfare of the regions in which it operates. It continuously strives to limit the impact of its activities on the natural environment and the surrounding communities. The Company's fundamental policy is to conduct its business responsibly and in a manner designed to protect its representatives, the community and the environment. Its commitment is to conduct its business in a manner that provides a safe and healthy workplace and environment for its representatives.
Mining, by its nature, has an impact on the environment. The Company has systems in place to educate the local communities about the effects on the local environment from our exploration and development activities, and to monitor and manage the potential effects on the environment.
The environmental policy of the Company provides that the Company is committed to balancing good stewardship in the protection of the environment with the need for economic growth. In particular, it is the Company's policy: to measure, maintain and improve the Company's compliance with environmental laws and regulations; to place a high priority on environmental considerations in planning, exploring, constructing, operating and closing facilities; to place primary responsibility for compliance with environmental laws with operations management; in the absence of any regulation, to recognize and cost-effectively manage environmental risks in a manner that protects the environment and the Company's economic future; to promote employee involvement in implementing its policy; and to encourage employee reporting of suspected environmental problems. The Company ensures that all personnel and consultants working for the Company are aware of the importance of preserving the environment, that the Company's exploration and development activities are designed to have as small an impact as is practical while still achieving the exploration and development goals and that the Company only carry out activities that are condoned by the authorities in each area in which the Company operates.
In late 2012 new environmental legislation related to mineral exploration came into effect in Chile. Amongst others things, the new legislation provided the Ministry of Environment with the resources to review the compliance by companies with their environmental permits and put the onus on companies to advise project status to the Ministry by January 22, 2013. This new legislation will increase the likelihood that the Company's exploration activities at Escalones will be subject to more frequent and rigorous review of the permit conditions and compliance with those conditions. Although the exploration activities of the Company at Escalones are currently carried out substantially in accordance with all applicable environmental rules and regulations, no assurance can be given that new rules and regulations will not be enacted or that existing rules and regulations will not be applied in a manner which could limit or curtail exploration or development. Amendments to current laws and regulations governing the operations and activities of the Company or more stringent implementation thereof, could have a material adverse impact on the Company.
With the exception of the new environmental legislation in Chile disclosed above, there are no environmental regulation issues which, to the Company's knowledge, have an adverse impact on the current exploration programs of the Company. To the Company's knowledge, its operations are in compliance with applicable environmental laws in the countries in which it is carrying out its exploration.
The Board is responsible for assisting and guiding management in management's development of the Company's environmental policy to maintain environmental excellence, and ensuring compliance with such policy.
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