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AusIMM annual compliance report 2021

AusIMM Professional Conduct and Ethics Committees
· 1000 words, 4 min read

The Professional Conduct and Ethics Committees’ report on their work upholding compliance with the AusIMM Code of Ethics and professional codes during 2021

This article was updated in July 2022

AusIMM promotes the highest professional and ethical standards of its members through a strong focus on professional ethics and best practice implementation of professional codes.

Under the AusIMM By-laws, all AusIMM members are bound by the AusIMM Code of Ethics, as well as other Board approved and recognised codes, regulations and directives (including the JORC and VALMIN codes) when acting in certain capacities as a resources industry professional. These codes and regulations serve to protect communities, other members and the profession while providing professional reporting and valuation systems that provide the community and financial markets with confidence in the industry.

Members, upon admission, commit to the principles set out in the Code of Ethics and reaffirm that commitment when renewing their membership in each calendar year. In this way AusIMM confirms its position as a trusted and representative voice for resources professionals.

The complaints process

The AusIMM complaints process is integral to upholding the professional standards of the members within the Institute. The complaints process involves judgement by peers and is designed to ensure that members are held accountable for any conduct that breaches the Code of Ethics and the By-Laws. The Code of Ethics requires members to adhere to the requirements of the JORC and VALMIN Codes.  Breaches of these codes are part of the complaints process. 

Penalties that can be imposed on members where a breach of the Code of Ethics and/or professional Codes is found include:

  • advisory/further education and/or training
  • reissue of an affected public report
  • caution/warning
  • membership suspension or expulsion from the Institute
  • publication of details of the breach, including public naming of the professional found to be in breach.

The intent is to ensure a sanction is appropriate to the breach while preserving the integrity of the profession and the AusIMM. The process is informed by natural justice principles and includes an avenue for appeal.

All deliberations of the Professional Conduct Committee and Ethics Committee are strictly confidential. The identity of the complainant is not disclosed to the person(s) about whom the complaint has been made or to any parties not involved in the process of determining the validity of the complaint. The identity of the complainant and respondent remains confidential, except in the following cases:

  • where the complainant agrees to reveal their name to the respondent when necessary to pursue the complaint
  • where the Ethics Committee has resolved that notice of a breach be published, in which case the name of the respondent may be made public; and
  • in the unlikely event that the matter advances to legal proceedings independent of the AusIMM process, where the identity of the complainant may become known as part of the discovery of documents, or if the AusIMM is directed by a court (or other legally empowered person) to make such information available.

The Professional Conduct and Ethics Committees

The Professional Conduct and Ethics Committees are jointly responsible for investigating and determining the outcome of complaints The Professional Conduct Committee investigates each complaint received with referrals made to the Ethics Committee if it is determined that a significant breach of the Code of Ethics has occurred. Both Committees have reviewed the Professional Conduct Regulations to apply in 2022.

2021 AusIMM Professional Conduct Committee Membership

Mike Spreadborough FAusIMM (Chair to 30 June 2021)

Steve Gemell FAusIMM(CP) (Chair commencing 1 July 2021)

Terry Briggs FAusIMM

Fran Burgess FAusIMM(CP)

Rod Elvish HonFAusIMM(CP)

Ingvar Kirchner FAusIMM

Deborah Lord FAusIMM

Adrian Penney FAusIMM(CP)

Colin Roberts FAusIMM(CP)

2021 AusIMM Ethics Committee Membership

Rex Berthelsen Hon FAusIMM(CP) Chair

David Abbott FAusIMM(CP)

Quentin Amos FAusIMM

Bruce Atkinson FAusIMM(CP)

Susan Border FAusIMM(CP)(Ret)

Tony Cameron FAusIMM

Ivy Chen FAusIMM (AusIMM Board Representative)

Jim Galvin FAusIMM(CP)

Matt Mullins FAusIMM

Stephen Munro FAusIMM(CP)

In 2021 12 complaints were submitted to end December, which represented a marginal decrease when compared to 2020 where 14 complaint submissions were investigated and concluded:
  • Two cases related to alleged breaches of clauses 4, 19 & 49 of the JORC Code (2012 edition) and the Code of Ethics respectively. Both cases were suspended in accordance with clause 9(a) of the 2021 Professional Conduct Regulations when the respondent in each matter resigned their AusIMM membership. Clause 9(a) states: 

‘…. confirm the person named as respondent to the complaint is a current member and a member at the time the alleged breach occurred. If a member resigns during the investigation of a complaint, then that member shall not be eligible to reapply for membership for a minimum period of five years or longer if agreed by the Board;’

In both instances the Board applied a prohibition on membership renewal of five years.

  • One case alleging a breach of clauses 3 & 7 of the Code of Ethics was subsequently withdrawn by the complainant

  • In four cases allegations were made concerning:
    • a breach of By-Law 9.2 and AusIMM Code of Ethics, clause 9;
    • a breach of JORC Code, clause 11;
    • A breach of the AusIMM Code of Ethics, clause 9
    • a breach of JORC Code, clauses 9 & 13 and AusIMM Code of Ethics, clause 6.

These cases were not accepted by the Professional Conduct Committee, although the issues raised in in one case prompted the PCC to recommend a policy consideration to the Board.

  • In four cases allegations were made concerning:
    • A breach of JORC Code, clause 51 resulting in the issue of a caution
    • A breach of AusIMM Code of Ethics, clause 9 resulting in the issue of a caution
    • A breach of JORC Code, clause 20 & VALMIN Code, clause 6.3 resulting in the issue of a caution
    • A breach of AusIMM Code of Ethics, clause 9 resulting in the issue of a caution

  • One case was referred to the Ethics Committee. It involved allegations of a breach of AusIMM Code of Ethics, clause 7 and resulted in the issue of a caution. The respondent was also urged to rectify and reissue the relevant Public Report.

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