We recognize mining operations have a finite life with potential impacts – both positive and negative – that can last many years following the completion of mining activities. These include long-term environmental, social, and economic impacts that should be effectively managed so that a sustainable, positive legacy is created for host communities and stakeholders.
Planning for mine closure is an integral part of our approach to environmental management. As part of the approach, we maintain a commitment to concurrent reclamation practices to minimize negative impacts on temporarily disturbed areas. We also maintain a commitment to ensure that long-term socioeconomic benefits are distributed beyond the life of mine.
To manage these impacts, we have approved mine closure plans at all of our operating sites. The plans cover a wide range of environmental, social, and economic concerns, including reclamation and remediation; decommissioning; public safety; social management; post-closure monitoring; and transfer of assets.
We post financial assurance to cover the costs of implementing our closure requirements when legally required to do so. As at December 31, 2018, we had consolidated surety bonds totaling $54M to cover these obligations.
At the Marigold mine, the mine’s closure plan was developed in 2002 and was approved by the BLM. The BLM and the State of Nevada both approve the financial bond estimates, which totaled $46.5M as at December 31, 2018.
At the Seabee Gold Operation, the initial mine closure plan was developed in 1996 and is updated every five years. The plan includes provisions for reclamation and rehabilitation as well as the relinquishment of the property to the Government of Saskatchewan following the successful implementation of the plan. As at December 31, 2018, the reclamation bond requirements at the Seabee Gold Operation totaled $5.3M.
At our Puna Operations, we updated our mine closure plans as part of the Chinchillas EIA. The plan was approved as part of the broader EIA approval.
In 2019, we will continue to develop and implement an enterprise-level mine closure standard that will be applicable across all our operations and development sites. We will integrate the standard as a key component of our overall environment and community relations management system. We will also develop social closure plans for all our operating sites to further deliver on our commitment to providing long-term, lasting benefits for our host communities.