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Nurturing Biodiversity

Nurturing Biodiversity

Nature sustains and stabilizes the ecosystem on which our existence depends, including our mines and particularly their surrounding communities.

Declines in and damage to the integrity of nature not only impact biodiversity and the environment at large but threaten jobs and livelihoods as well. Development has the potential to significantly impact natural habitats and ecosystems, particularly if improperly managed. Protecting biodiversity and preventing and reversing nature loss are also critically and inextricably linked to the fight against climate change. For these reasons, conserving biodiversity has become increasingly important to us and our stakeholders. For Barrick, working to protect, conserve and enhance nature and the inherent biodiversity is nothing new. It has long been enshrined in our Environmental Policy, through which we have committed to:

  • A no net loss on any Key Biodiversity Features (KBFs) identified at our sites.
  • A positive contribution to the conservation of high- risk biodiversity features in the regions in which we operate, through the implementation of Measurable Conservation Actions (MCAs).

Our approach to biodiversity and nature management recognizes that biodiversity, climate change and community development are inextricably linked. We aim to play a positive role in the management of the biodiversity both inside and outside the mine gates, and we strive to use biodiversity and nature as a tool to help drive community development on a regional scale. An example of this is the work we do with the Garamba National Park in Northern DRC. Garamba is one of the oldest national parks in Africa and was once home to a vast array of biodiversity including Northern White Rhino, Kordofan Giraffe, and Elephant. However, extreme poverty, overgrazing by nomadic herders and years of tension and conflict in the region decimated wildlife populations. Since 2015, Barrick has supported Garamba through a partnership with African Parks. Our support is focused on direct and indirect biodiversity interventions and conservation actions such as:

  • 18 Elephant collars.
  • Five lion collars.
  • Fuel for anti-poacher spotting planes.
  • Office buildings and accommodation for park rangers.
  • Rehabilitation of bridges and roads.
  • Removal of alien invasive vegetation.
  • Support for local hospitals outside the park boundary.

The park is also one of the largest employers in the region, with more than 500 fulltime staff and even more on short-term contracts. Beyond direct employment, the park is estimated to support almost 10,000 more lives through the associated social enterprises it supports. Our vision is to support Garamba in becoming a major tourist destination and an additional hub of economic activity in the region.

Global Activities

Global Activities

Conservation Counts – Measuring our Contributions to Biodiversity

Many stakeholders, particularly the investment community, are now aware of the risks posed by poor biodiversity management and are asking biodiversity-related questions as part of investor enquiries.

Some tools and disclosure requirements are emerging such as the Taskforce for Nature-related financial disclosures, Business for Nature handbook, the IUCN’s approach to measuring nature positive, and other metrics such as the iBAT’s STAR. However, as a very complex but rapidly emerging area of concern, how we measure and track progress towards no net loss across widely varying geographies remains a challenge. Existing data sets lack the granularity and nuance that provide information to interested parties to enable them to make informed decisions. When combined with the current rapidly declining state of global biodiversity, nature loss and continually increasing stresses is data that is diluted and lacks value for decision making, which means a site void of or lacking biodiversity value is flagged as the same risk as a site with abundant biodiversity.

To help break the conversation loop and take actions based on our principles, we have been working with third party experts to develop a biodiversity measurement tool throughout 2023. The aim of the tool is to go beyond global data layers and define a methodology to help us establish consistent baselines, identify residual impacts, set KPIs for no net loss and consistently measure our positive contributions to add value to our business, our local communities, and to our shareholders that ask for this information. As we develop and pilot our tool, we will share it publicly to foster collaboration and convergence across the wider industry.

To kick off the development of our biodiversity tool we screened all sites using global data layers to confirm our understanding of regionally specific nature related pressures on biodiversity. This will help focus our biodiversity actions to contribute to alleviating the most important pressures on our KBFs, mitigating our residual impacts and reducing the risk of these aspects affecting our business. Development of the tool includes the following:

  • Screen for relevant global tools to complement our existing site-specific biodiversity risk and priority identification processes.
  • Define and systematize the methodology for incorporating these into a site-specific approach to determine baseline conditions, residual impacts, monitor our actions and track our gains on our journey toward NNL by completion of closure.
  • Pilot the approach on five sites, adapt and roll out.

Our Biodiversity Exposure and Opportunities for Action

Our Biodiversity Exposure and Opportunities for Action

Offsets and Bank-enabling Credits in Northern Nevada

Our operations in Northern Nevada include ownership of some very large areas of ranchlands. These ranches are a key part of how we manage nature and biodiversity in the United States. Our IL ranch, for example, is one of the largest tracks of greater sage-grouse habitat in the state. Since 2012, we have focused on managing IL ranch for habitat values and entered significant portions of the ranch into Nevada’s Conservation Credit System to protect and improve sage-grouse habitat.

Born to Rewild

Through our efforts to replant, remove invasive species and rewild tracks of our ranches and wider properties in Nevada, we are also participants in the state’s conservation credit program. This program is a long- term investment, which provides us with the ability to offset against any potential future impacts our operations or expansion plans may create. We generally operate on a 2:1 basis, ie we rehabilitate twice as much land as we may impact.

Biodiversity Credit Generation

Management approach: Biodiversity

Governance and accountability

Our President and CEO is ultimately responsible for environmental management with our Group Sustainability Executive taking the lead in driving the implementation of our environmental policies, the associated procedures and overall performance — including biodiversity.

The Group Sustainability Executive is supported by our Group Sustainability Manager, regional-level environmental leads as well as dedicated site-level environmental teams and at priority sites biodiversity specialists who drive implementation at the operational level.

Policies and procedures

Our approach to biodiversity is codified in our Environment Policy and our standalone Biodiversity Policy and augmented by our group Biodiversity Standard.

These are informed by international best practice, such as the guidelines set by the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) performance Standards (PS), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and International Council on Mining and Metals, including their Mining and Protected Areas position statement.

Our policies commit us to:

  • A net neutral impact on any Key Biodiversity Features (KBFs) identified at our sites, and
  • A positive contribution to the conservation of high value biodiversity in the regions in which we operate, through the implementation of Measurable Conservation Actions (MCAs).

To fulfil these commitments, we require all our operational sites to develop and implement Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs). These detail the flora, fauna and habitats on and around the site and outline the strategy we will follow to achieve a net neutral biodiversity impact. They identify areas around the mine that require protection or could benefit from conservation support, as well as existing conservation areas that require additional support and resources.
To achieve these commitments we are developing a roadmap of actions we plan to take now and in the future.  This includes the development of our own tool to measure biodiversity or nature impact.

What is a Biodiversity Action Plan?

BAPs are the cornerstone of our approach to biodiversity management. They document the biodiversity in, or impacted by an operational site, and the actions to be taken to minimize risks and maximize opportunities. We have aligned our approach to BAPs with that of the IFC Performance Standard 6 (PS6), which stipulates that a BAP should address the following:

  • The actions and rationale for how a project’s mitigation strategy will achieve net gain or no net loss of biodiversity;
  • The project’s approach to implementing the mitigation hierarchy; and
  • The roles and responsibilities for internal staff and external partners.

Our BAPs are developed as strategy documents for the achievement of operational biodiversity goals. In keeping with our Biodiversity Policy, the goals are to achieve net neutral biodiversity impact for any ecologically sensitive environment we affect, where practicably possible.
Our understanding of the mitigation hierarchy and our approach to its implementation are set out in our BAPs and the roles and responsibilities for all key players are clearly defined.

BAPs also refer to the operational biodiversity mitigation measures included in the project EMS or biodiversity management plans (BMP).

In line with the IFC PS6 approach, our BAPs differ from BMPs and also include actions for off-site areas (e.g., offsets, additional actions) and involve external partners (e.g., implementing partners, reviewers or advisors). Designed to function as living documents, our BAPs are reviewed on an annual basis and revised every two years. As part of our approach to biodiversity, we emphasize concurrent reclamation and work to keep the overall footprint of our mines to a minimum. We work to restore and rehabilitate areas of the operation during its mine life by returning topsoil as well as planting native and endemic vegetation.

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