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 that use cyanide.
At many sites, we have projects specifically designed to protect rare or key wildlife; at others, we strive to enhance habitats. For example, at the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, we are working with locally and internationally renowned scientists to protect several frog species that have been identified on the project site.
In 2015, there were no major wildlife mortalities1 at Barrick’s sites.
In Nevada we support fire management programs to protect sage grouse and mule deer habitats. In addition to fire protection, on March 15, 2015, Barrick signed a Bank Enabling Agreement with the Department of the Interior through USFWS and the BLM to voluntarily mitigate for impacts to sage grouse habitat in Nevada. Parties agreed to use the Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Forecasting Tools to build a Habitat Conservation Bank to compensate for significant residual impacts of future mining activities. Although the USFWS did not list the greater sage grouse under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2015, work to protect these birds is underway. Greater sage grouse are wide ranging and can be found across much of the western United States.
Many national conservation organizations, along with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), have developed inventories of plant and animal species listed by conservation status. The main purpose of the IUCN’s Red List and other national and international conservation lists is to catalogue and highlight those plants and animals that are facing a high risk of local and/or global extinction or are close to meeting the threatened thresholds.
Barrick’s support in the development and use of additional conservation data tools, such as the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) is now providing easier access to protected area information and the potential presence of Red-Listed species for our operations and projects to consider in mine development. The IBAT provides a broad scope of habitat and species’ potential in an area, which is followed up by field work when required to determine if habitat on the ground would be suitable for the list of flagged sensitive species.
Based on the IBAT, we estimate that approximately 136 species with IUCN conservation assessments ranging from critically endangered to near threatened2 could be possible at our sites if habitat were suitable. We then checked environmental impact assessment data for each site, where possible, and identified 93 species on the IUCN Red List potentially present in habitat near our operations. These categories ranged from those of least concern (50) to those endangered or critically endangered (two species). At a local level some species are also identified as sensitive; by identifying these species we are able to develop appropriate management plans to avoid harm where necessary.
These numbers have changed since 2014 since we had fewer properties in 2015 on which to report.
IUCN Red-List Category
Not reported in the IBAT
1 A major wildlife mortality is an event in which five or more wildlife mortalities occur due to a single unwanted event or a single mortality occurs five or more times during a calendar year due to mine-related circumstances that are similar.
2 Species listed as Least Concern are not flagged on the IBAT tool.
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