Mine Closure

Mine closure
done right

El Indio, Chile

Every mine has a finite operational life and the eventual closure of a mine can contribute to significant social, economic and environmental changes, especially for nearby communities.

We believe that properly closing a mine has to involve managing and addressing our partners’ social and economic concerns, as well as the environmental impacts and obligations created by Barrick.

We start planning for mine closure even before construction begins. We have developed a Mine Closure Management System (MCMS) and integrate this planning into our decision making by embedding closure considerations into both our Community Relations and Environmental Management Systems.

Our Progress

  • In December 2015, Barrick announced a new position of General Manager, Closure Sites, reporting to the Chief Operating Officer. This was in recognition of the fact that these sites require careful management and executive oversight to ensure we comply with all of our regulatory obligations, while keeping communities and the environment safe. Closure sites also represent significant financial liabilities for the company. By bringing a portfolio management approach to our closure properties, we believe there are opportunities to realize significant cost savings.
  • Barrick currently manages 34 closed sites.
  • Currently, two of our mines are within closure or are nearing planned closure within three to five years: Pierina and Golden Sunlight. At these sites, work is already underway to prepare the local communities for eventual closure.
  • A decision was made in August 2013 to accelerate closure at the Pierina mine. Both internal and external communication plans were developed and communication to employees and local communities began in 2014. As part of the closure plan, Pierina is stabilizing the open pit by constructing an in-pit central backfill, while recovering incidental ounces of gold in the leach pad. Pierina has also constructed more robust water management ponds in the open pit drainage basin. Barrick has commissioned an Acid-Rock Drainage treatment plant for the effluent from the pit and waste rock facilities.
  • Barrick’s Golden Sunlight mine in Montana is continuing its work to clean up environmental contamination at historic mine sites while supporting the local economy. These legacy tailings impoundments and waste-rock piles require closure. Although this is typically unrelated to the company’s activities, the mine has offered to accept these tailings from independent operators and re-process and store the materials in its own modern facilities. This project has helped save the state and taxpayers millions of dollars they otherwise would have had to pay in clean-up costs, while stimulating the local economy by creating jobs for small operators that are collecting and trucking the material to the Golden Sunlight mine. Since 2010, the mine has received more than 600,000 metric tons of offsite legacy mining material, paid out more than $45 million to local operators and generated approximately $5.7 million in income for Barrick.

Mine Closure Management System

Our mine closure planning — both the social and environmental aspects — begins early in the mine life cycle. During project development, environmental closure planning is considered and conceptual Mine Closure Plans are developed.  In support of this, we have developed a Mine Closure Management System (MCMS) which incorporates the requirements of a number of foundational Barrick policies, procedures and guidelines, including the Corporate Social Responsibility Charter, Environmental Policy, Mine Closure Standard, Environmental Management System, Community Relations Management System and Community Relations Standard.

Over the life of a mine, reclamation and closure technologies evolve, regulations can expand, stakeholder expectations can change, and our knowledge expands with lessons learned from around the world. Therefore, the MCMS has been designed to reflect and adapt to changing conditions, including by requiring periodic checks, corrections, and risk assessments.

Environmental Closure

Mine closure planning is an important part of our commitment to environmental protection. During project development, closure planning is considered and conceptual Mine Closure Plans are developed. One hundred percent of our operations have environmental closure plans in place, which are reviewed and revised regularly. Budgets are developed for concurrent reclamation activities (progressive reclamation of disturbed lands during the operations stage when they are no longer needed for active mining), along with, in some jurisdictions, financial assurance instruments for final reclamation after closure. Barrick has also developed corporate guidance for closure cost estimation in an effort to accurately estimate closure costs.

100% of our operations have environmental closure plans in place

At closure, in order to return disturbed lands to a stable state for post-mining land use, we remove, relocate, demolish or transfer ownership of buildings and physical infrastructure; close pits and shafts; stabilize underground workings; treat tailings and process waters appropriately; and slope, contour, cap or cover, and re-vegetate our waste rock facilities, leach pads and tailings impoundments. We also protect water resources and other environmental media. The post-mining land use of a property may differ from its prior condition and is the result of negotiation and agreement among various parties including governments, local communities and our operations. In all cases, it is our goal to protect the long-term viability of the land once mining ceases.

Social Closure

Barrick’s Community Relations Management System and the Community Relations Standard help our community relations consider the social aspects of mine closure.

To mitigate social, economic  and other impacts on the communities, three years prior to anticipated closure, Barrick standards require all sites undertake a Social Closure Impact Assessment (SCIA) and a Social Closure Risk Assessment (SCRA) and complete a Social Closure Plan (SCP). SCIAs focus on identifying the potential social risks and impacts to a community from mine closure and require the development of mitigation plans to address any identified risks and impacts.

Most social closure planning activities take place during development and operations and focus on promoting local capacity building. We support education and skills development, and work in close collaboration with local economic diversification programs, where they exist, in order that a healthy, sustainable community can continue to flourish once closure is complete.

As well as addressing the needs of local communities, Barrick provides employee assistance during closure to identify new potential career opportunities. Where possible, our goal is to offer continuing employment opportunities at other Barrick operations. We also offer out-placement services for employees who are not able to relocate.


A Mine Once Stood Here

Its name may ring a bell

Date Download Description
May 6, 2015 files/design/bodybg/our-approach.jpg
2014 Responsibility Report
Gold  $ 1,266.93 -2.87 -0.23% Volume: April 27, 2017
ABX NYSE  $ 16.96 +0.00 +0% Volume: 23,683,300 April 26, 2017
ABX TSX  $ 23.05 +0.00 +0% Volume: 4,645,800 April 26, 2017
Gold  $ 1,266.93 -2.87 -0.23% Volume: April 27, 2017

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.

World Gold Council MemberMember of ICMM

En Español