Christmas is almost here, but the time has already come to comply with the New JORC Code and amended ASX Listing Rules. And looking beyond the silly season – it appears there is more in store for us on the competent person front than we initially thought…

Hark! The Heralding of the New JORC Code and ASX Listing Rules

Effective 1 December 2013

In our April 2013 WA Resources Update, we discussed the release of the 2012 Edition of the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) Code and the accompanying changes to the ASX Listing Rules (in particular, Chapter 5).

Both the 2012 Edition of the JORC Code and the amended ASX Listing Rules came into effect on 1 December 2013, with the exception of the requirement that a preliminary (pre-feasibility) study or a feasibility study be completed to declare an ore reserve (which comes into effect on 1 December 2014).  Accordingly (subject to that exception), companies now need to be complying with the 2012 JORC Code and these ASX Listing Rules.

For more information about the key changes to the JORC Code and the ASX Listing Rules, and the relevant transitional arrangements, please refer to our April 2013 article.

I’m Dreaming of a Competent Person

Changes on the horizon for the regulation of competency

As discussed in our April 2013 article, the key changes include streamlining of the competent person consent requirements. A market announcement containing exploration results or mineral resource or ore reserve estimates in relation to a material mining project must only be issued with the prior written consent of the competent person. This requirement only applies to the first time a company publicly reports those results or estimates, provided subsequent public reports cross refer to the first market announcement and the company confirms that it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included. In the case of mineral resource or ore reserve estimates, the company must confirm that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates continue to apply and have not materially changed. Note that this will only apply to mineral resource or ore reserve estimates that are themselves compliant with the new JORC Code.

But that’s not all – we are expecting more changes to the competent person arrangements.

On 11 December 2013, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) hosted a seminar in Perth on JORC and the ASX Listing Rules. During his presentation on the 2012 JORC Code, the first presenter of the day (JORC Committee Member Chris Cairns) drew the attention of the audience to the comments of upcoming speaker Dr Jacqueline Coombes on competent persons. He offered that the next set of JORC Code changes would be targeted at competent persons and that Dr Coombes’s presentation would give us an idea of the direction in which those changes would be heading.

It appeared from the content of Dr Coombes’s presentation and the nature of the closing panel discussions that certain stakeholders are looking for more regulation around the competent person rules. It certainly triggered some lively debate around who is responsible for regulating competent person standards. If one listened closely, one could almost hear the cogs of Santa’s busy brain grinding as he tried to determine who best deserved JORC-compliant coal deposits in their Christmas stockings this year.

Issues discussed included:

  • generally raising the standards that competent persons are required to meet;
  • reviewing the qualifications that competent persons are required to have; and
  • reconsidering the minimum number of years of experience in a competent person’s area of expertise.

It will be important for companies to keep themselves informed as this discussion develops, as any changes will likely involve additional compliance.