In order to assess our performance against the OZ Minerals Sustainability Standards and meet our commitments to other sets of standards such as the MCA’s Enduring Value, the principles of the ICMM’s Sustainable Development Framework, third party certifications such as ISO14001 and the conditions of project finance facilities (Sepon), we conduct a range of internal and external audits. These audits provide valuable feedback on opportunities for improvement, important oversight and assurance to the senior management of the company and the Board, and confidence to external stakeholders that these aspects of our business are being actively managed.
Actions resulting from these audits are tracked and reported to management and the Board.
The formation of OZ Minerals has provided the opportunity to streamline and consolidate the range of different social and environmental audits which existed in the two legacy companies. The plan for 2009 will be to use mostly internal resources to conduct these audits, supplemented where necessary by external accredited auditors (e.g. for ISO14001) and specialists if required. The use of internal auditors provides learning opportunities, alignment and skills transfer within our own staff. Timing for these audits will be such as to minimise the number of audits conducted at each site each year. Instead of attempting to cover the full range of all aspects of sustainability, the audits will be focussed on the key sustainability risks inherent to each operation.
OZ Minerals also has an internal audit function that assists with the identification and control of financial risks of the company. The internal audit function for 2008 was outsourced to two external firms. Prior to the merger between Oxiana and Zinifex, the internal audit function of Oxiana was outsourced to Deloitte and the internal audit function of Zinifex was conducted by Protiviti. After the merger both firms continued to conduct the internal audit functions of the respective Oxiana and Zinifex operations. The internal audit function has independent status within the company and conducts regular audits and reviews in accordance with an audit plan approved by the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee of the Board reviews the mission and charter of the internal audit function and ensures that its scope of work is appropriate in relation to the key financial risks facing the company.
The main areas of focus of internal audit include; assessing the design and operating effectiveness of financial controls, reviewing compliance with statutory regulations and Company policies as appropriate, and fraud awareness and prevention.
Internal Audit also recommends improvements in management and control practices to assist in risk mitigation. Internal audit recommendations and key findings are reported to the Audit Committee.