Your letter asks about our own due diligence and any engagement with the company. As you expected, we are unable to provide further information on these subjects, because of our ongoing duty of client confidentiality.
More generally, our 2007 Mining and Metals policy did explicitly cover the issue of tailings, and our revised policy (2016) recognises that the mining sector ‘can have unacceptable adverse impacts on people or on the environment’ and includes specific restrictions, requiring enhanced due diligence, around human rights issues and where there is a poor sustainability track record, including material accidents, spills or pollution.
HSBC works with clients who meet its sustainability standards and those who are making credible progress towards meeting them; but where clients are unwilling or unable to meet those standards, we will end the relationship.
We do not generally comment on the financial information used by Facing Finance in compiling its reports. We most frequently appear on shareholder registers where we are the nominee holder or custodian for our clients’ assets - we have not made the underlying investment decision and are not the beneficial owner of the assets.”