According to the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), the current loss of species globally is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. We recognize the important role mining companies can play in solving this challenge given our land use requirements and potential impacts on flora and fauna, as well as our ability to enhance local ecosystems through our mine closure efforts.
We manage biodiversity impacts through a variety of mechanisms, which are integral to fulfilling our commitment to protecting the natural environment. We consider our overall project footprint and land use when designing and evaluating projects. Mine planning and optimization exercises incorporate consideration of land use requirements, including for pits, waste facilities, haul roads, and other infrastructure.
We conduct EIAs and develop corresponding management plans for all major projects. The plans include mitigation measures for impacts on land, flora, and fauna, which are aligned with site and applicable jurisdictional-specific environmental requirements.
As part of the EIA process, we conduct comprehensive baseline assessments of flora and fauna. The assessments include compiling information on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species (Footnote 12). We keep records of all these species at our operations.
We consider biodiversity impacts and ecosystem management when we develop mine closure plans, which we develop for all of our operations. The plans contain management measures to reclaim and restore land to a productive, post-mining land use for stakeholders.
Our Seabee Gold Operation and Marigold mine are not located within or adjacent to a protected area or an area of high biodiversity value (as defined by the respective national biodiversity strategy).
Our 0.76 km2 Chinchillas mine is located approximately 25-km away from the Laguna de Los Pozuelos [Footnote 13], which was designated as a protected biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Portions of the reserve were also designated as a wetland of international importance (i.e., Ramsar site) under the Ramsar Convention protocol. The reserve is located in the Jujuy province of Northern Argentina. It is an important area for a variety of wildlife, particularly waterfowl. The reserve is also an important habitat for vicuñas.
We maintain comprehensive environmental monitoring at our Puna Operations to help ensure that we do not negatively impact the reserve. Extensive monitoring data indicate that our operations do not impact the reserve, including local water quality or quantity. In addition, we completed a comprehensive EIA for the Chinchillas mine, which was given full government approval in 2017. The EIA indicated that the ongoing operations at the Puna Operations will not negatively impact the reserve. In addition to full government approval for the Chinchillas mine, we obtained the free, prior, and informed consent of the six direct communities located near the mine.
Throughout 2019, we will review the requirements for adopting the MAC Biodiversity Conservation Management Protocol. The protocol is widely-recognized as one of the leading tools for managing biodiversity in the context of mining operations. We will also integrate an enterprise-level biodiversity standard into our overall environmental and community relations management system. The standard will outline the framework and minimum requirements for biodiversity management at our operating sites.
The following table outlines our land balance to date.
Table 11. Land Balance (Consolidated)
|Total land disturbed and not rehabilitated at the beginning of 2018||4,836 ha|
|Total amount of land newly disturbed (during 2018)||174 ha|
|Total amount of land newly rehabilitated (during 2018)||0.04 ha|
|Total land disturbed and not yet rehabilitated at end of 2018||5,010 ha|
12 The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is a global inventory of the global conservation status of biological species.
13 No portion of the mine is located in the core part of the reserve or the reserve’s buffer zone. Approximately 50% of the mine is in the transition zone between the reserve and non-protected areas.