Geologists hit out at proposed ASX changes

Australian geologist favour a ‘principles’ approach instead of a ‘prescriptive’ approach in regards to the proposed JORC reporting changes proposed by the ASX.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is currently reviewing how listed miners report updates on exploration results, mineral resources, and any ore reserves under the current JORC code.

The ASX said it was concerned companies were attempting to lure investors with production targets that did not fall under the JORC code.

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy hit out, saying that it was concerned the ASX could introduce standards that weaken rather than strengthen ASX reports.

"The ASX clearly believes that breaches of the JORC Code will be easier to identify if there is a mandatory list of minimum reportable items that sit outside the JORC Code," AusIMM president Alice Clark said.

The Australian Institute of Geologists president Andrew Waltho agreed.

"JORC, as a principles-based system can deal with the complexity of mineral deposits and, backed by qualified geologists, meet clear standards able to properly inform the public.

"The ASX appears to favour a “checklist” or “prescriptive” approach in its recently released ASX Listing Rules discussion paper."

He went on to say that AIG – which is one of the parent bodies of the JORC Code-  believes the code, which has been in place for more than twenty years, served regulators, the public, and industry.

"We note that every other resources reporting code in the world except Canada follows the JORC model.

"No overseas minerals jurisdiction has adopted the prescriptive Canadian model now being considered by the ASX – so that is a performance yardstick that needs to be given some weight if there are major changes eventually proposed by the ASX," Waltho said.

"We would not want to see changes in reporting guidelines that either reduced the quality of reporting or damaged investor confidence in a sector now very much driving jobs and project growth in this country."

Waltho added that the AIG did support a refining of ASX reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves, as any wholesale change of the JORC Code would have wide ranging impacts within the equities and resources sector.

"The ultimate effectiveness of a principles-based approach to public reporting must be the ability of regulators to competently assess technical information presented in public announcements of exploration results, resources and reserves, as these constitute price sensitive information," he said. 

"Investor confidence in the resources sector is paramount to the continued strength of Australia’s exploration and mining industries."


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