Biodiversity forms the basis of the many ecosystem services — including the provision of fresh water, and of raw materials such as food and fuel, climate regulation, soil formation, and recreational services — that keep people, and the natural environment, alive and healthy.
Our mining activities can have an impact on local biodiversity and the provision of these essential services. We see biodiversity loss as both as a regulatory risk and a risk to our relationships with host communities. One of our fundamental responsibilities is to as effectively as possible remediate our impacts to the environment.
Throughout the mining process, we follow the guidance provided by our internal Environmental Management System and associated Standards, along with guidance provided by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), to determine how to manage our impacts on biodiversity. We are committed to engaging with local communities, including Indigenous Peoples, regarding these impacts.
To put this into practice, Barrick has in place a Biodiversity Standard, which establishes minimum standards for the management of biodiversity at all exploration, project, operating and closure sites.
We aspire to safeguard, manage and eventually reclaim lands,
with a focus on protecting biodiversity.
We have determined that a “no net loss” approach would be difficult to demonstrate at our older, established mine sites, where original baseline data is not always available. Recognizing this limitation, the Biodiversity Standard and our management approach are focused on ways to achieve beneficial outcomes for potentially impacted key biodiversity features at new projects and major expansions of existing properties. This includes combining the elements of the Mitigation Hierarchy of avoidance, mitigation and restoration programs with biodiversity offsets and/or other conservation actions, so landscapes in the regions benefit over time from our presence. Nonetheless, all of our mines are managed with the goal of minimizing impacts on biodiversity.
Avoid: Avoid impacts on certain components of biodiversity.
Minimize: Reduce the duration, intensity and/or extent of impacts that cannot be completely avoided.
Rehabilitate/restore: Rehabilitate degraded ecosystems or restore cleared ecosystems following exposure to impacts that cannot be completely avoided and or minimized.
Offset: Compensate for any residual significant, adverse impacts that cannot be avoided, minimized, and/or rehabilitated or restored.
1 Biodiversity management requirements changed in late 2015 after the Pascua-Lama project was suspended.
2 The criteria we used to establish the need for a biodiversity management plan was proximity to a protected area and presence of IUCN Threatened species as determined by high-level corporate risk assessments using tools such as the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool, rather than individual site impact analyses.
Land disturbance is an inevitable consequence of mining. Barrick manages large areas of land, either owned or leased, in the countries where we operate. Our aim is to minimize our footprint, mitigate our impacts, and, once mining is finished, leave behind land that will support productive uses for future generations. Careful planning during development and operations helps to reduce the area affected by mining activities as well as the environmental effects of disturbance.
Although not near any existing protected areas in Papua New Guinea, the independently operated Porgera Joint Venture has supported field work to identify a proposed area of importance for future conservation in sub-alpine habitat near the mine site, as well as sponsoring a Forest Stewards Program that engages local land-users in conservation of their traditional lands.
An important element of our environmental management approach is the development of closure and reclamation plans as a part of initial project planning and design. These plans are routinely updated during the life of each operation to ensure that environmental impacts are effectively addressed and financial obligations for closure have been identified.
Where practical, we have implemented native seed collection and soil management projects even prior to mine development. Barrick has also established nurseries at a number of sites to grow local plant species for reforestation and replanting once mining is complete. During operations, whenever possible, disturbed areas are contoured and revegetated after they are no longer required for active mining.
28 hectares of land reclaimed in 2015
Barrick has taken a leading role in the design and construction of evaporative covers for both waste rock dumps and tailings impoundments, and has also won industry and government awards for its reclamation activities. It is not usually possible to restore a mine site exactly as it was prior to mining, but it is possible to restore a healthy, thriving ecosystem, with lands that support productive post-mining land use.
We have implemented controls at our operations to safeguard wildlife from mine processes and chemical exposure. These controls include barriers such as fencing and netting, the use of “bird balls” and other covers for ponds and tanks, and cyanide destruction processes at operations where cyanide is used. Also, at many sites, we have projects specifically designed to protect key wildlife species; at others, projects are underway to enhance habitats.
136 IUCN Red List Species identified by ESIAs near our mines
Our vision is the generation of wealth through responsible mining — wealth for our owners, our people, and the countries and communities with which we partner.
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© 2017 Barrick Gold Corporation© 2017 Barrick Gold Corporation