1 The Application of IFRS: Mining September 2009
2 Foreword International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) have now been adopted by a number of countries, including traditional mining centres such as Australia and South Africa. With many more countries planning their adoption, including Canada and Latin America, this convergence to a single financial reporting framework will assist mining companies in communicating their financial performance with consistent messages. With the advent of the widespread use of IFRSs, it was recognised that extractive activities was an area in which there was little guidance. Indeed, until 2004 extractive activities were scoped out of most relevant standards but with no positive guidance being provided. Recognising this, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has established a project with a view to ultimately issuing a comprehensive standard dealing with the accounting for, and disclosures about, extractive activities. The extractive activities project has never been a high priority for the IASB and progress has been slow. Nevertheless, in August 2009 the IASB issued on its Web site a working draft of the project team s discussion paper. While it is not surprising that the IASB has other priorities given the economic events of the last 18 months, we believe that it is important for an accounting standard to be issued as soon as possible. Our survey The Application of IFRS: Oil and Gas, published last year, and this publication, both show that there are significant variations of practice that need to be addressed. The mining industry continues to be an industry in which operations are spread amongst a wide range of global locations. The industry is influenced by global and local demand, global economic performance, commodity prices and government policies. Key accounting issues arise from significant uncertainties associated with exploration and development activities, significant time lapses between initial investment and production, risk-sharing arrangements that companies enter into, the significant impact that commodity prices have in relation to operational demands, and the inherent difficulties in estimating long-term forecasts. Resources and reserves are at the heart of a mining company s value, and the survey highlights the difficulties that mining companies have in communicating clearly to users the impact that resources and reserves have on their financial reporting, and the significant uncertainties that mining companies face in their operations. However, there are also a number of consistent areas in the survey results, such as the inclusion of additional disclosures on resources and reserves, and the disclosure of production tables and non-gaap performance measures, that illustrate how the industry is attempting to provide useful information for financial statements users in addition to the requirements of IFRSs. While the mining industry is making an effort to clearly explain financial performance and the variables relating to that performance, the continuation of the IASB s Extractive Activities project is essential in assisting companies to progress in this area. Lee Hodgkinson Global Director of Mining KPMG in Canada
3 This executive summary has been drawn from The Application of IFRS: Mining, published in September 2009, and focuses on the results of a survey of the IFRS financial statements of 29 companies in the mining sector across 10 countries. That publication was produced by the KPMG International Standards Group, in collaboration with KPMG in Canada and KPMG in Australia. To order a copy, go to or This executive summary should be read in conjunction with that publication in order to understand more fully the findings from the survey. In addition, that publication includes disclosures made by companies in their consolidated financial statements that we believe may be useful in assessing the type of information being disclosed in practice. That publication also includes a section on significant differences between IFRSs and U.S. GAAP on mining accounting issues. KPMG s Global Energy & Natural Resources (ENR) practice is dedicated to assisting all organisations operating in the Mining, Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities and Forestry Industries in dealing with industry trends and business issues. We have a range of publications that can assist you further, including Insights into IFRS, IFRS: An overview, Disclosure checklist, illustrative financial statements, and illustrative condensed interim financial statements. Technical information is available at and For access to an extensive range of accounting, auditing and financial reporting guidance and literature, visit KPMG s Accounting Research Online. This Web-based subscription service can be a valuable tool for anyone who wants to stay informed in today s dynamic environment. For a free 15-day trial, go to and register today. KPMG International Standards Group is part of KPMG IFRG Limited. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. KPMG and the KPMG logo are registered trademarks of KPMG International, a Swiss cooperative. Publication name: The Application of IFRS: Mining Publication no: Publication date: September 2009
4 Contents 1. Exploration and evaluation (E&E) expenditure 4 2. Development expenditure 5 3. Deferred stripping 6 4. Mine closure and rehabilitation provisions 7 5. Impairment of non-financial assets 8 6. Resources and reserves reporting 9 7. Interests in joint ventures Business combinations Revenue Derivatives and commodity price risk Functional and presentation currencies Segment reporting Critical judgements and key sources of estimation uncertainty 16
5 The Application of IFRS: Mining 4 1. Exploration and evaluation (E&E) expenditure The costs involved in E&E and development activities can be considerable, and often there are years between the start of exploration and the commencement of production; and even with today s advanced technology, exploration is a risky and complex activity. Even though often there is no direct correlation between the cost incurred and the value created, the accounting for E&E expenditure is a critical element of ensuring that the financial statements of mining companies fairly represent their business activities. There was no IFRS that addressed specifically E&E activities until IFRS 6 Exploration for and Evaluation of Mineral Resources was approved by the IASB in 2005, effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January IFRS 6 was intended to be a temporary standard while the IASB undertook an in-depth project on extractive activities, aimed at bringing some discipline to the accounting for E&E activities. With that in mind, the standard was written with a view to allowing companies to carry over to IFRS their previous GAAP practices to a large extent. It was not common for companies to present an accounting policy for pre-e&e (pre-licence) expenditure, but most companies presented an accounting policy for E&E expenditure. Just under half of the companies capitalised at least some of their E&E expenditure, with a similar number expensing all E&E expenditure as incurred. A small number of companies did not disclose clearly their accounting policy for E&E expenditure. A majority of companies that capitalised E&E expenditure included a specific accounting policy for the impairment of E&E assets. However, most companies did not disclose how E&E assets were allocated to cash-generating units. Companies tended to disclose the amounts of assets and liabilities, income and expenses, and operating and investing cash flows arising from E&E activities in different places in the financial statements, with some companies providing significantly less disclosure than others. The range of disclosures and accounting policies highlighted the significant flexibility allowed by IFRS 6 and the lack of general guidance in IFRSs in respect of mining activities, including in terminology. Almost half of the companies referred to areas of interest, which are not defined or mentioned in IFRSs.
6 5 The Application of IFRS: Mining 2. Development expenditure The mine development phase generally begins after completion of a feasibility study and ends upon the commencement of production. Entities are required to identify and account for development expenditure separately from E&E expenditure. Beyond the E&E stage, an entity develops an accounting policy for development (both before and after the start of production) under the hierarchy for the selection of accounting policies under IFRSs. In the context of our survey, development expenditure refers to the cost incurred in accessing the ore body and constructing the production infrastructure, once the technical feasibility and commercial viability of the ore body has been established. Beyond the E&E stage, there is no IFRS that addresses specifically development activities by mining companies. Therefore an entity develops an accounting policy under the hierarchy for the selection of accounting policies under IFRSs, considering both the guidance and requirements in standards and interpretations dealing with similar and related issues, and the IASB s conceptual framework (the Framework). An entity also may consider the pronouncements of other standardsetting bodies and accepted industry practice, but only to the extent that they do not conflict with the standards, interpretations and the Framework. Significant accounting issues include consideration of which costs should be capitalised and the determination of when development ends and production begins. In practice this is further complicated, as development often continues once production has begun. Most companies presented an accounting policy for development expenditure. Few companies differentiated between pre- and post-production development assets, with most companies combining these into one class for the purpose of disclosure. All companies classified development assets as property, plant and equipment. The range of disclosures and accounting policies highlighted the lack of general guidance in IFRSs in respect of mining activities, including in terminology.
7 The Application of IFRS: Mining 6 3. Deferred stripping There is no IFRS that addresses specifically deferred stripping activities by mining companies. Therefore an entity develops an accounting policy under the hierarchy for the selection of accounting policies under IFRSs (see page 5). Other standard-setting bodies have contrasting approaches when accounting for stripping costs. For example: U.S. GAAP EITF No Accounting for Stripping Costs Incurred during Production in the Mining Industry specifies that stripping costs incurred during production are variable production costs that should be included in the costs of the inventory produced or extracted during the period that these costs are incurred. The EITF does not address stripping costs incurred during preproduction. Canadian GAAP (EIC-160) Shipping Costs Incurred in the Production Phase of a Mining Operation specifies that stripping costs should be accounted for according to the benefit received by the entity. Capitalised stripping costs should be amortised in a rational and systematic manner over the reserves that directly benefit from the specific stripping activity and the accounting policy applied should describe the amortisation method and rationale supporting the reserves used in the amortisation calculation. A significant accounting issue can be the determination of whether costs are development or production stripping costs, when a company has chosen to account for each of these costs differently. Determining when commercial levels of production have been achieved is complex, and development may continue once production has begun. In practice this is further complicated when there are multiple pits, as it can be difficult to determine whether a pit is an extension of an existing mine, or a new mine. The majority of companies disclosed an accounting policy for deferred stripping. Generally companies deferred production stripping costs. However, two companies disclosed that they expense production stripping costs as incurred when the costs are expected to be reasonably constant over the estimated useful life of the mine. The majority of companies disclosing their accounting policy for deferred stripping classified deferred stripping costs as property, plant and equipment.
8 7 The Application of IFRS: Mining 4. Mine closure and rehabilitation provisions In many jurisdictions mining companies are faced with legal or regulatory obligations for mine closure and rehabilitation activities. These include decommissioning and dismantling equipment, restoring the mine site as a result of damage caused to the environment during the development of a mine and from ongoing mining activities, and ongoing care and maintenance of closed mines. These costs are likely to be a significant item of expenditure and the process of estimating the provision is complicated by the long lives of the mines and changing regulatory requirements. The cost of settling the obligation often is difficult to estimate owing to the high level of judgement involved in estimating the future costs that will be incurred. The extent of environmental damage and the work required to restore the site may be impacted by future technological developments, while the cost of carrying out the engineering and other works involved is impacted by the demand for engineers and other skilled labour. Determining the timing of future cash flows and an appropriate discount rate will also impact the provision recognised. These are just a few of the factors that make estimates of mine closure and rehabilitation provisions inherently imprecise. All companies recognised a provision for mine closure and rehabilitation costs. A third of companies provided no disclosure of the rate used to discount future cash flows in determining the amount of the provision. Over a third of companies disclosed the rate(s) used, but the basis of the discount rate often was unclear, making comparison difficult. The general level of disclosure and the use of terminology in respect of mine closure and rehabilitation provisions varied significantly.
9 The Application of IFRS: Mining 8 5. Impairment of non-financial assets In the context of our survey, the terms mine and cash-generating unit (CGU) are used interchangeably when discussing impairment. CGUs were not always defined by the companies surveyed, other than in the context of general statements that assets are grouped together at the lowest level for which independent cash inflows are identified. As some companies went on to state that a CGU would represent an individual mine, we have used both terms in assessing our findings. There are a number of factors that can have a significant impact on the recoverable amount of a mine or CGU. The volatility of commodity prices and foreign exchange rates, combined with the fact that mines are wasting assets support the need for mining companies to consider potential impairment regularly. All companies disclosed an accounting policy on the impairment of non-financial assets. The majority of companies recognised an impairment loss in the latest reporting period. The level of disclosure varied amongst companies. However, those companies that had recognised significant impairment losses during the period provided disclosure of the assumptions used in their impairment testing and details of the specific impairment losses.
10 9 The Application of IFRS: Mining 6. Resources and reserves reporting Mineral resources and reserves estimates are not disclosed in the financial statements and are not addressed specifically by IFRSs. However these estimates provide critical information in the evaluation of mining companies, and their disclosure is a key component of annual reports in this sector. The purpose of resources and reserves statements is to make available information, outside the financial statements, about the mineral resources and reserves controlled by companies in the industry, which is important in assessing their current performance and future prospects. Additionally, reserves estimates impact a number of financial statement balances and operating costs, e.g., reserve estimates are used to calculate depreciation of mining assets on a unit-of-production basis. Importantly, IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements requires the disclosure of key assumptions and other major sources of estimation uncertainty. The information included in the resources and reserves statements varies, reflecting the guidance in the various codes and the various reporting jurisdictions. The most commonly used codes include the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) and the South African Mineral Resource Committee (SAMREC). The minimum level of information required to be provided to be in compliance with the various codes is broadly consistent, primarily driven by the main reserve reporting organisations, which form part of the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO). One of CRIRSCO s aims is to provide an internationally consistent approach to reporting mineral assets; however there are still some differences, e.g., those companies with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting requirements are required to report specific reserves information in accordance with SEC Industry Guide 7, which differs from the information reported in accordance with JORC and SAMREC. The reporting of mineral resources and reserves was a common feature of the annual reports. The majority of companies reporting resources and reserves information disclosed that they applied the JORC code in their reporting. A majority of companies disclosed their process for the preparation and / or audit of the resources and reserves statement. A range of presentational styles and measurement methodologies was applied to reporting of resources and reserves, making comparison difficult. The majority of companies included additional detail in their annual report with respect to production volumes, generally separate from the financial statements, and to a varying level of detail.
11 The Application of IFRS: Mining Interests in joint ventures Joint ventures are common arrangements in the mining industry, and come in a wide variety of forms. Companies historically have used joint ventures as a means of sharing business risk with other mining companies and / or local governments, attracting investors, entering new markets, sharing infrastructure and achieving synergies. Companies often share interests in a mine. Typically interests are acquired through the joint application for a licence, or by purchasing an interest in an exploration licence. In the early exploration stages of a licence area, a joint venture arrangement allows the licence holder to share the risks associated with an unproven area. For the original owner of the permit or licence, entering into a joint venture allows them to gain access to additional sources of finance from the other venturers to fund ongoing exploration and evaluation activities. From the investor s perspective, taking an investment in a mine can provide access to resources more quickly than having to acquire a licence and commence independent exploration and evaluation activities. Companies may also use joint ventures to share resources and assets, for example in port and rail facilities that service a mine in an area. Within the mining industry, the term joint venture is used widely as an allencompassing operational expression to describe shared working arrangements between mining companies. However, under IFRSs there are strict criteria that must be met in order for joint venture accounting to be applied, and when a company refers to an operational involvement in a joint venture it does not necessarily follow that the arrangement will be accounted as a joint venture in accordance with IAS 31 Interests in Joint Ventures. The term joint venture was widely used as an all-encompassing operational expression to describe shared working arrangements between mining companies. However, this does not mean that such arrangements are joint ventures for accounting purposes. A lack of disclosure sometimes made it difficult to understand the nature of the company s interests in joint ventures and the accounting applied. There also appeared to be some confusion regarding the accounting difference between jointly controlled assets and jointly controlled operations. Just over half of companies accounted for jointly controlled entities by applying proportionate consolidation, with the remainder using the equity method.
12 11 The Application of IFRS: Mining 8. Business combinations Growth by acquisition has been an increasing feature of the global mining industry in recent years. The drivers behind this activity include opportunities to consolidate market share and achieve synergies, for example through shared infrastructure (e.g., port and rail facilities). The level of business combination activity is affected by the availability of capital, and the ability of companies to service their existing debt. At a time of volatile commodity prices, some companies will look to consolidate their position through the divestment of non-key assets, creating opportunities for others. Some companies may be unable to fund their project requirements or meet cash calls from their joint venture partners, and may default on their debt re-payments, creating further opportunities for others, particularly those companies that are cash rich. Typical issues arising in accounting for a business combination that are more specific to mining acquisitions include the allocation of excess purchase consideration to mineral rights rather than to goodwill, in recognition of exploration potential. In the mining industry acquisitions can take a variety of forms, with three broad categories: acquisitions of businesses (business combinations); acquisitions of a collection of assets and liabilities; and transactions involving a joint venture. For the period covered by our survey, the relevant standard on business combinations was IFRS 3 (2004) Business Combinations. However, IFRS 3 (2008) Business Combinations applies to business combinations for which the acquisition date is in annual periods beginning on or after 1 July Although early adoption is permitted for annual periods beginning on or after 1 July 2007, none of the companies in our survey had applied the revised standard. The most common fair value adjustments were to property, plant and equipment, receivables, provisions and other liabilities, deferred tax balances, intangible assets and inventory. Goodwill was recognised in just over half of the business combinations reported in the latest financial year; the majority of companies disclosed the factors giving rise to goodwill.
13 The Application of IFRS: Mining Revenue The sales process differs significantly across the mining industry, typically depending on the commodity sold. The sales process includes establishing the terms of the sale, managing the logistics of delivery and receiving payment. Companies can sell their products directly to end users or for further processing to smelting or refining companies who in turn sell to the end users. The large diversified mining companies, however, often smelt or refine product arising from their existing mining activities. In addition, these facilities can be used to toll thirdparty material along with their own. For some commodities, prices are set by reference to a quoted market, whereas for others, prices are negotiated and agreed when contracts are concluded annually. For example, metallurgical coal and iron ore contractual prices generally are agreed annually. In the case of iron ore, provisional pricing is widely used whereby producers receive provisional payments from purchasers on delivery, ahead of the final settlement, while contracted prices are being negotiated. In contrast, metallurgical coal sales contracts generally specify the price for the year ahead. Take-or-pay contracts sometimes are used when purchasers are keen to secure the supply and in the event the full quantity is not required, the purchaser still is required to pay. Provisional pricing is also used for some commodities which have a quoted market, for example copper, lead, nickel, silver and zinc, whereby the contract allows for the customer to assay the goods to determine the mineral content. While all companies disclosed an accounting policy for revenue, a varying range of detail was provided. The majority of companies explained the timing of the transfer of risks and rewards of ownership. A majority of companies disclosed information about revenue that went beyond the strict disclosure requirements of IFRSs, either as part of the segment reporting or in a separate note.
14 13 The Application of IFRS: Mining 10. Derivatives and commodity price risk Over the past 18 months commodity prices have been moving rapidly, both up and down, causing many companies to revisit their risk management strategies. And as a result of significant economic deterioration in many countries, companies are not the only organisations to be revisiting risk management; the regulatory and governmental agencies in many jurisdictions have also been active in re-evaluating practices and standard-setters such as the IASB have been active in reviewing requirements to encourage transparency in reporting. This section of our survey focuses mainly on commodity price risk, which is a key risk to the operations of mining companies; other exposures include foreign exchange risk, interest rate risk and energy price risk. Derivatives are used frequently within the industry to manage these risks and provide certainty over the future cash flows that will be received or paid for an existing or forecast transaction. Larger mining companies often have a trading division through which risks are managed and trading conducted. The factors that influence a mining company s hedging strategy include the nature of its selling arrangements, and whether products are sold on long-term contracts or on the spot market; the nature and diversity of products sold, and whether it is exposed to commodity price risk during the smelting process; the location of operations and currency of transactions; the arrangements in place for buying commodities for own use, e.g., freight requirements; management s views on forward energy pricing and the general economic outlook; the entity s structure of funding and whether it is exposed to floating or fixed interest rates; and the entity s risk appetite. These wide-ranging factors mean that hedging and risk management activities vary from company to company within the industry, not just in terms of the type of risk that companies seek to manage, but also in terms of the specific instruments that they use for the purpose of achieving those objectives. The diversity of hedging and risk management activities mining companies complete was reflected in significant differences in the level of detail provided by our survey group. Most companies appeared to have used derivatives in risk management activities. For companies that disclosed a sensitivity analysis in respect of commodity price risk, a value at risk analysis was not the preferred disclosure. All companies that disclosed a sensitivity analysis considered commodity prices to be a significant risk.
15 The Application of IFRS: Mining Functional and presentation currencies An entity measures its assets, liabilities, equity, revenues and expenses in its functional currency, and all transactions in currencies other than the functional currency are foreign currency transactions. Each entity in a group has its own functional currency; there is no concept of a group-wide functional currency under IFRSs. Functional currency is determined by reference to the primary economic environment in which an entity operates. Commodity prices are routinely denominated in U.S. dollars, while costs often are incurred in local currency. However, the influence on demand from countries like Russia, China, India and Brazil makes it increasingly complex to determine the key factors that are influencing the primary economic environment of a mining company. Many mining companies operate in different geographical locations and therefore need to consider whether any of the entities within the group have the currency of a hyperinflationary economy. The majority of companies simply disclosed that the functional currency of each entity in the group was the currency of the primary economic environment in which the entity operates. Some companies chose to disclose the functional currency of the parent entity and / or the functional currency of significant entities within the group. Companies chose as their presentation currency the currency of the country in which the group s parent was based or the U.S. dollar. Some companies chose to present their financial statements in U.S. dollar as well as their chosen presentation currency. One company chose to present a convenience translation of U.S. dollar primary financial statements in addition to publishing a full set of financial statements in their presentation currency.
16 15 The Application of IFRS: Mining 12. Segment reporting The majority of companies in our survey group applied IAS 14 Segment Reporting; however, IFRS 8 Operating Segments was adopted by seven of the companies in our survey group, before its effective date of 1 January 2009, resulting in a change in their approach to segment reporting. Adopting a management approach to segment reporting has resulted in the majority of these companies reporting on a site by site basis. Some of the large mining companies have diverse operations, mining a range of products across many geographical locations. These companies typically manage their operations by grouping together risks based on the nature of operations and tend to disclose extensive information in their segment report by product and by mine site. In contrast, some of the large mining companies have concentrated their businesses around one product in one geographical location, for example, some of the gold mining companies in South Africa. For these companies, the consolidated results in the financial statements reflect the business and geographical segments in which they operate. As companies adopt IFRS 8, the requirement to report operating segments has resulted in some companies disclosing their results as separately managed segments. In our experience, these segments commonly are disclosed as individual mine sites, or separate divisions based on separate businesses (e.g., mining and telecommunications) or specific processes (e.g., mining, smelting and transportation). Many companies currently use non-gaap profit measures internally and these measures may be used in IFRS 8 disclosures, which will be a significant change to existing practice. The most common primary segment reporting format was business segments. Nearly a quarter of companies early adopted IFRS 8 Operating Segments. A third of companies that had not yet adopted IFRS 8 disclosed that there will be some impact of adopting IFRS 8; nearly half the companies indicated that the impact of IFRS 8 was still being considered.
17 The Application of IFRS: Mining Critical judgements and key sources of estimation uncertainty Mining companies make a number of key estimates and judgements that are industry-specific. One of the most important estimates, from both an operational and an accounting perspective, is the estimate of reserves. Mining companies rely on this measure to assist them in setting the strategic direction of the company as the reserve estimate drives the selection of which areas to develop, which to focus exploration activities on, and how long the life of the mine is estimated to be. With the current significant volatility in commodity prices, determining a long-term price estimate is a critical input for impairment testing. Another key estimate relates to the mine closure and rehabilitation provision. Some of the factors that make this estimate so difficult to assess are estimating the extent of environmental damage and the work required to restore the site, estimating the future costs of decommissioning and dismantling a site, both of which may be impacted by future technological developments and determining an appropriate discount rate. The most common areas of disclosure in respect of critical judgements and estimation uncertainty were impairment testing of mining assets, reserves estimates, provisions for mine closure and rehabilitation, and taxation.
18 kpmgifrg.com Contacts Michiel Soeting Global Chair, Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) KPMG in the UK Tel: +44 (0) e - Mail: Jimmy Daboo Global Audit Lead, ENR KPMG in the UK Tel: +44 (0) e - Mail: Lee Hodgkinson Global Director of Mining KPMG in Canada Tel: e - Mail: Global Mining Centres of Excellence Australia Simon Crane KPMG in Australia Tel: +61 (7) e - Mail: Brazil Andre Castello Branco KPMG in Brazil Tel: +55 (21) e - Mail: Canada Lee Hodgkinson KPMG in Canada Tel: e - Mail: Chile Patrick Hanley KPMG in Chile Tel: +56 (2) e - Mail: China Melvin Guen KPMG in China Tel: +86 (10) e - Mail: India Hiranyava Bhadra KPMG in India Tel: +91 (22) e - Mail: Russia Alexandra Bouriko KPMG in Russia Tel: +7 (495) e - Mail: South Africa Carel Smit KPMG in South Africa Tel: +27 (11) e - Mail: United Kingdom Jimmy Daboo KPMG in the UK Tel: +44 (0) e - Mail: United States Sheri Pearce KPMG in the U.S. Tel: e - Mail: