Land disturbance is a consequence of mining.
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. Barrick also has a Mine Closure Standard that requires that we close our properties in a manner that is timely and cost-effective and that restores an ecosystem that can support a productive post-mining land use.
The total area of surface land owned, leased or managed by Barrick at the end of 2015 was 1.1 million hectares, down from 1.5 million hectares in 2014. The reduction in these lands was due to a change in our reporting boundary along with the divestiture of a number of properties in 2014. Of the 1.1 million hectares, just under three percent has been disturbed over the years by our operations. The rest has been left in its natural state or utilized for other activities including agriculture and livestock grazing. At the end of 2015, our current disturbance for active mining was just under 29,000 hectares. Also, at the end of the year, 6,047 hectares had been reclaimed to the agreed post-mining land use.
Barrick has one property located near a World Heritage site, two in a Man and Biosphere Reserve and three near International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protected areas. Other countries in which we have operations located in sensitive habitats include the Dominican Republic, Peru, the United States, Zambia and Papua New Guinea.
In Peru, the 1,300-hectare Pierina mine (now in closure) is located 10 kilometers south-west of the Huascaran National Park and World Heritage site. World Heritage sites are properties that have outstanding universal cultural or natural value as identified by the World Heritage Committee. Members of the Committee are elected from the countries that are parties to the World Heritage Convention (established by UNESCO). Barrick follows the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) position statement on mining and protected areas. Therefore, we neither explore nor initiate mining within World Heritage sites, and we respect the requirements of legally designated protected areas.
The 21,000-hectare Veladero mine, as well as the Lama side of the Pascua-Lama project, are located within the multi-use area of the San Guillermo Man and Biosphere Reserve (San Guillermo MAB) in Argentina. The San Guillermo MAB, comprising 990,000 hectares, is a thriving ecological micro-region, home to diverse migrating species such as condors, vicuñas, llamas, pumas, flamingos, and many others. MABs are places where UNESCO seeks to reconcile conservation and cultural diversity with economic and social development through partnerships between people and nature. The San Guillermo MAB has nucleus, buffer and multi-use areas. Mining is one of the many human uses permitted in the multi-use area of the San Guillermo MAB. Barrick supports the creation of a management plan for the San Guillermo MAB, which is an important requirement to maintaining biosphere reserve status according to the UNESCO principles.
Barrick has set up a $7.5 million fund to support monitoring and controls within the San Guillermo MAB. The money is intended for a number of projects and has so far been used to purchase vehicles to support biological monitoring and water management programs, as well as the construction of two mountain shelters in the biosphere reserve area.
Our sites near IUCN protected areas include our operation in Zambia, which is located within 10 kilometers of a Forest Reserve (unclassified IUCN protected area), and PVDC in the Dominican Republic where one of our pipelines crossed through a protected area declared in 2009. In North America some of our sites are located within 15 km of protected areas and sites identified as sensitive by local entities such as sage grouse and Lahontan cutthroat trout habitats.
The tailings facility of the Hemlo mine in Ontario, Canada, is within 15 kilometers of White Lake Provincial Park (IUCN Cat II), but no impacts are expected.
We also have operations located within or near areas considered of High Conservation Value by UNEP1 (see the table below). Our EMS directs our employees to heed their responsibility to protect these sensitive habitats.
Areas of High Conservation Value
a) Within Global 200 – Northern Andean Paramo
b) Bordering Tropical Andean Biodiversity Hotspot
Lama and Veladero
Each are within the multi-use area of the San Guillermo Man and Biosphere Reserve
Within 10 km of Acres Forest Reserve (IUCN unclassified Protected Area)
Within Global 200 – Central and Eastern Miombo Woodlands
Within 10 km of Huascaran National Park and World Heritage Site
a) Within Global 200 – Atacama-Sechura Deserts
b) Bordering Tropical Andean Biodiversity Hotspot
Porgera Joint Venture
a) Within Global 200 – Central Range Subalpine Grassland / New Guinea Rivers and Streams / New Guinea Montane Forest
b) Within High Biodiversity Wilderness Area
Infrastructure crosses Aniana Vargas National Park declared in 2009
Within Caribbean Island Biodiversity Hotspot
1 Determined by high-level corporate risk assessments using tools such as the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool, rather than individual site impact analyses
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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