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 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.
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.
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.
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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