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We manage our impacts on the natural environment, both today and with future generations in mind.

2021 Highlights


82% of water reused and recycled

ISO 14001

All sites certified to ISO 14001 standard


Action plans at all operational sites to achieve net neutral impact

Net Zero

Goal of net zero emissions by 2050

Responsible environmental stewards

By applying the highest standards of environmental management, using natural resources and energy efficiently, recycling and reducing waste and working to protect biodiversity, we can deliver significant cost savings to our business, reduce future liabilities and help build strong stakeholder relationships.

Responsible environmental stewards
The Falémé River runs adjacent to Loulo-Gounkoto, Mali.

At Barrick, we know the environment in which we work and our host communities are inextricably linked, and we apply a holistic and integrated approach to sustainability management.

That means our approach to environmental management also considers the impacts on the community and we:

  • Regard access to clean water as a fundamental human right and strive to manage local waterbodies to have minimal negative impact on nearby communities and other users in our local watersheds. We also work to enhance and improve access to water for our communities.
  • Build community resilience into our climate change work. The climate crisis requires us to set and meet ambitious reduction targets. For us, that is only part of the story. Equally important is ensuring the communities around our operations, particularly those most vulnerable, are not left behind in the battle against the effects of a changing climate.
  • Understand that global prosperity and life is underpinned by healthy and functioning ecosystem services and work to not only achieve no net loss to biodiversity, but also actively participate in additional conservation actions to deliver positive biodiversity outcomes.

Working to proactively and holistically manage all aspects of sustainability is not only the right thing to do for our communities and wider society, it is also good for our business.

Management approach

From exploration to extraction, construction to closure, we are committed to implementing the highest standards of environmental management across all our sites. Doing so is codified in our overarching Environmental Policy.

As soon as we start planning for the development of a mine, we consider the potential environmental impacts it may have. This process begins with thorough due diligence, which is conducted before and during exploration or potential project acquisition and continues throughout its operational life.

When we move a project to feasibility stage, we conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). The ESIA helps us identify and understand the environmental baseline conditions in the project area and any potential impacts and risks. As we conduct the ESIA, we also develop an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP). The ESMP outlines the mitigation measures to be implemented during each phase of a project throughout the Life of Mine.

Once a project moves to the construction and operational phases, we use the ESIA and the ESMP to develop a site-specific Environmental Management System (EMS) that will be certified to ISO 14001. Our Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea has been in temporary care and maintenance since April 2020. Despite this, we maintained ISO 14001 certification and conducted internal and external certification audits. Our commitment to our environmental stewardship is at the forefront of our activities. All operational sites have achieved ISO 14001 certification.

Through each site-specific EMS, we identify and implement the controls appropriate to the risks identified. Each site’s EMS is reviewed annually. The site General Manager and Environmental Managers are responsible for the implementation and execution of the EMS. Further guidance is provided by the regional sustainability leads and the Group Sustainability Executive.

Responsibility and accountability

Our President and CEO is ultimately responsible for environmental management, including water management and climate change. Our Group Sustainability Executive is responsible for the implementation of our environmental policies, the associated procedures and overall performance.

The Group Sustainability Executive is supported by regional-level environmental leads as well as dedicated site-level environmental teams who drive implementation at the operational level.

Environmental incidents

The bedrock of our approach to environmental management is incident control and management, including proactive prevention measures. At each site, we conduct baseline risk assessments to understand the risks on site and implement appropriate controls to prevent releases to the environment. One of the simplest and most important ways we monitor and assess our environmental performance is by tracking the number of environmental incidents that occur as a result of our activities. We classify each environmental incident on a one to three scale, based on its severity of impact. We also track the number of high potential incidents. We investigate incidents to determine the root cause and develop corrective action plans to prevent future recurrences. Learnings from root cause analyses are incorporated into controls, and where necessary the risk register is adjusted to prevent future incidents.

To encourage our people to consider the impact of any incident, the classification system has a degree of user discretion. For consistency, all incident classifications are reviewed by the Regional Sustainability Leads and then discussed with the Group Sustainability Executive.

All incidents are investigated to ensure we understand what happened and the root cause, with lessons learned shared across the group. Once the investigation is complete, we develop a corrective action plan (CAP), with timelines for implementation of actions. Progress against the CAP is followed up until actions are complete.

We have a target of zero Class 1 high significance incidents each year.


We had no Class 1 (high significance) incidents during 2021, and our last significant environmental incident occurred prior to the merger with Randgold Resources in January 2019. We have also significantly reduced the number of Class 2 (medium significance) environmental incidents from 13 in 2019, to 5 in 2021.

Climate risk and resilience

At Barrick, we recognize that climate change, including shifts in temperature, precipitation and more frequent severe weather events, affect our operations in a range of possible ways. We have seen impacts from climate change at some of our operations, and we are taking action now.

We also know that climate change impacts and contributes to two other significant challenges facing humanity: biodiversity loss and poverty.

  • No country or community is immune from the threat of climate change and the risk and consequences of severe drought, supercharged storms or blistering heat waves will be unevenly felt, with the poorest countries and peoples carrying the heavier load for a problem not of their making.
  • Biodiversity loss and climate change are inextricably linked. Climate change drives biodiversity loss, and biodiversity loss accelerates climate change.

Our climate change strategy does not focus solely on the development of emissions reduction targets. Rather, we integrate and consider aspects of biodiversity protection, water management and community resilience in our approach.

Our goals over the short and medium term seek to not only reduce our emissions, but to also develop resilience to the physical impact of climate change to protect our assets and future proof our business. Refer to Chapter Two for further detail on our social development work.

Our climate change governance

Climate risk and resilience

TCFD disclosures
Reflecting the importance of climate change as a business and strategic matter, governance over climaterelated risks and opportunities at Barrick is provided by the Board, management and at the site level.

(TCFD Goverance a)
Our Board and its committees are responsible for overseeing the management our most significant risks, including climate-related risks. The ESG & Nominating Committee oversees our policies, programs, and performance relating to sustainability and the environment, including climate change, which is built into Barrick’s formal risk management process. The Audit & Risk Committee assists the Board in overseeing the company’s management of enterprise risks, including climate risk, as well as the implementation of policies and standards for monitoring and mitigating such risks. The Compensation Committee helps ensure that executive compensation is appropriately linked to our sustainability performance. Our Group Sustainability Executive regularly presents and discusses our strategy and approach on climate risk management to the Board.

(TCFD Governance b)
At the management level, our Executive Committee, guided by our Group Sustainability Executive, provides strategic oversight and governance on key decisions related to Barrick’s climate change strategy, including the setting of our GHG emissions reduction targets. Sustainability issues, including climate change, are a core reporting line on weekly Executive Committee calls and are also agenda items at monthly management and quarterly E&S Committee meetings. Our Group Sustainability Executive is responsible for the development and implementation of our climate strategy, with support provided by other members of the management team as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. Climate change aspects are integrated into performance-related compensation for executives and senior leaders through our Sustainability Scorecard. In 2021, performance against the Sustainability Scorecard, including on our GHG emissions reductions targets, accounted for 25% of long-term incentive compensation for those senior leaders as part of the Barrick Partnership Plan.

In line with our philosophy of decision-making being driven by the operational sites, Barrick identified Climate Change Champions at each site during 2021. The Climate Change Champions are responsible for driving energy and GHG emissions reduction programs at a site level, including sensitizing staff to the importance of energy efficiency, climate change and operational excellence, as well as providing guidance on tracking/reporting energy- and climate-related data and helping to identify further emissions reduction opportunities and projects.

Championing the Cause – Identified and Realized Opportunities

Championing the Cause – Identified and Realized Opportunities

Addressing climate change is everyone’s business, and working to keep global temperature increases to below two degrees Celsius requires collaboration by a number of actors, including governments and companies.

The same is true at Barrick. The work of reducing our emissions, building a robust business and ensuring the resilience of our host communities is not the sole responsibility of our environmental team, but requires cooperation and input from every part of our business. That is why, during 2020 and 2021, we identified interested team members at each site to become Climate Champions. The role of a Climate Champion is to work across the business to drive the identification of climate-related opportunities.

From the assay to accounting, our Climate Champions are drawn from every facet of the business, and no idea is too big or too small to consider.

Some of the opportunities identified by our Climate Champions in 2021 include:

  • Replacing light bulbs in our offices with more energy efficient LED bulbs;
  • Switch off lights campaigns;
  • Electric vehicle commuter program; and
  • Energy and heat recovery analysis at process plants and water conveyance infrastructure.

At the group level, we have identified a number of opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, derisk our business and save costs. These include increasing our use of technology, renewable energy sources as well as other sources of clean energy.

Our progress towards identifying and realizing some of these opportunities, including how they contribute to the achievement of our target, is detailed in our GHG emissions reduction roadmap.

Lighting a path to GHG emissions reduction

At the Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali, we are in discussion with a South African company, Energy LED, to assess the potential impact of switching the operation’s lighting to LED bulbs. The Loulo-Gounkoto complex is not connected to the Malian national grid and relies on a combination of heavy fuel oil, diesel burning generators and an onsite solar farm to meet its electricity needs. Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of the complex’s GHG emissions reduction strategy.

Our initial assessment indicates that switching to more energy efficient LED bulbs could reduce Loulo-Gounkoto’s GHG emissions by as much as 1,000 tonnes CO2e per year and more than 37,000 tonnes CO2e over the life of mine, and deliver savings of more than $6 million.

(TCFD Strategy a & b)

At Barrick, it is important that green technology is made available to developing countries. Tongon, Côte d’Ivoire, has provided solar panels to nearby schools.
At Barrick, it is important that green technology is made available to developing countries. Tongon, Côte d’Ivoire, has provided solar panels to nearby schools.

We know that addressing and reducing the impacts of climate change is not a one-off effort, but requires continuous work both individually and as an industry. We work to constantly review and update our climate strategy. The key objectives of our climate strategy are:

  • Identify, understand and mitigate the risks associated with climate change by building climate change resilience to limit exposure to increasing regulation, scrutiny and physical climate risks;
  • Maintain an updated GHG emissions baseline and reduction target according to our baseline and reduction target recalculation policy;
  • Continuously improve our disclosure on climate change to provide the market with annual Climate Change Strategy disclosures that incorporate scenario analysis and are aligned with the TCFD framework;
  • Switch to cleaner energy sources and increase the proportion of renewable energy in the company’s energy mix;
  • Shift responsibility for our progress to our GHG emissions reduction target to an individual site level and introduce climate champions at every site; and
  • Work with our communities to build resilience and ensure they are not left behind.

We are also lead members of the ICMM Climate Working Group and helped drive that organization’s updated climate position statement.

Scenario analyses
(TCFD Strategy c)

During 2021, we continued to rollout scenario analysis of the potential impacts of climate change across each of our operations. The scenarios assessed are:

  • Stated policies scenario (2°C – 3°C increase);
  • Sustainable development scenario (well below 2°C increase); and
  • Net Zero emissions by 2050 (1.5°C increase).

Both the ‘Stated policies’ and ‘Sustainable development’ scenarios are analyzed and aligned with the International Energy Agency’s World Economic Outlook (IEA WEO) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The Net Zero scenario is analyzed in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Marrakesh Partnerships Climate Action Pathway for Industry and the Institutional Investor Group’s Framework for Net-Zero Investment. High level findings from our scenario analysis work are provided on page 110. By developing our understanding of potential future scenarios, we are able to take informed action and become more resilient to the potential effects of climate change across this spectrum.

Risk management
(TCFD Risk management a & b)

Climate change related factors are incorporated into our formal risk assessment process. For example, when assessing site weather-related risks, we also consider availability and access to water and the impact of increased precipitation, drought and severe storms on operations, as well as on communities near our operations. Through this process, we have identified several climate-related risks and opportunities for our business: physical impacts of climate change, such as an increase in extended duration extreme precipitation events; an increase in regulations that seek to address climate change; and an increase in global investment in innovation and low carbon technologies.

A moving target
(TCFD Metrics and targets a&c)

In 2020, when we set our first post-Randgold merger GHG emissions reduction target, we followed a robust process that considered climate science, our current asset base and expansion plans, current and realized opportunities for reduction, and available technology. The methodology assumed we will at least maintain a steady state production profile and did not rely on the closure of mines to deliver reductions.

Nor did it rely on efforts by our host governments to transition national grids or provide pathways for cleaner energy. Instead, it was based on what we as a company were doing and could do to reduce our emissions going forward. The process also drew on industry practices and market expected standards, such as the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) methodology.

When reviewing and applying these to our operations, we identified limitations, particularly with regards to the SBTi methodology. These were:

  • Firstly, the SBTi does not provide an industry specific methodology for mining overall, nor for gold mining. This means that regardless of size, nature or carbon intensity of a business, all mining companies come out with a very similar result.
  • Secondly, the SBTi does not consider jurisdictional or geographic challenges, such as a ‘carbon budget’ for developing countries. Without such considerations, we believe developing countries will be left further behind.

So, while we recognize the importance of SBTi and its role in helping deliver robust targets for companies and providing a standard that stakeholders recognize, we believe that the current methodology for mining, and more specifically gold mining, is not robust enough, and we have not formally lodged our targets with the SBTi.

We continue to monitor and engage with the SBTi through our memberships. We are also working in partnership with ICMM and the WGC to help develop a more robust methodology for the gold industry. In line with our holistic and integrated sustainability approach, we are working to ensure that methodology also discusses and considers the need to provide a just transition.

A focused and prioritized approach
(TCFD Risk management c & Metrics and tar gets a&c)

Our approach to reducing our emissions is to continuously identify and realize opportunities. As we do this, and as new technology comes online, we consider:

  • the impact to the business and our carbon footprint; and
  • if it could be expanded or rolled out elsewhere in the group.

Based on these analyses, we will continually review and update our GHG reduction target.

Our evolving GHG reduction target

Our evolving GHG reduction target

This work has also helped us identify priority areas of focus for our reduction strategy for each decade, based on the potential impact on emissions and balanced against cost to the business. This approach ensures we focus our efforts on where the greatest impact will be.

Our focus through to 2030 is to decarbonize our current energy sources. This includes transitioning from coal and heavy fuels to cleaner burning fuels such as natural gas, and integrating renewable energy sources into our grids.

The next opportunity for us lies within the vehicles we use on site. We are investigating opportunities to introduce electric vehicles (EVs) into the fleet and are part of ICMM working groups in this regard. Despite technological advances, a stable and reliable solution is still not available, and our expectation is that these opportunities will only be realized in the latter half of the decade. We expect EVs to be available for underground operations towards the end of the decade, but they are unlikely to be suitable for open pit and surface haulage operations.

We will continue to focus on the integration of renewables into our operations and grids. Where we rely on national grids for electricity, we also plan to engage with host governments regarding their respective green transitions. We will also look into further offset projects for our hard to abate emissions (such as those from explosives or lime use).

We are already working on one project in Zambia which integrates biodiversity and social aspects, and are further considering how nature-based solutions could contribute to carbon credits.

Offsets, however, are not a core part of our climate change strategy. Any offset project we participate in, must also deliver social and/or biodiversity benefits.

Electricity and energy

The bulk of the electricity we consume is produced by thermal generators. It is one of our most significant operational costs and represents a major source of GHG emissions.

By understanding our electricity mix and our carbon emissions, we can recognize the contribution and value of our clean electricity initiatives, such as the conversion of the Quisqueya power plant in the Dominican Republic from heavy fuel oil to natural gas, or the introduction of solar power to the Loulo-Gounkoto microgrid, both in terms of cost savings and emissions avoided.

In terms of other energy we consume, the bulk of this is through the fleet of vehicles we operate across our sites. We actively participate in programs such as the ICMM’s EV research, as well as industry research and development to reduce emissions from our fleet. Notably, we are trialing the use of EVs at some of our mines where there are currently no viable alternatives. We will continue to engage and monitor progress in this regard.

Our total emissions in 2021 were 7,105kt of CO2e (Scope 1 and Scope 2: market-based), which represents a decrease of more than 5% when compared with our total 2018 baseline emissions of 7,541kt of CO2e. 86% of our 2021 emissions were Scope 1 emissions, which are direct emissions, such as from the burning of fuel at our power plants, diesel used in the fleet or from limestone used in processing at Pueblo Viejo.

GHG emissions through the mine lifecycle

From national grid access to volumes of explosives used, the GHG emissions a mine generates is dependent on a number of factors.

One aspect that is not been widely discussed, or considered, is how emissions can be impacted by where an operation or project is in its stage of life.

A mine that is in construction has a different carbon footprint than one that is going into closure, while a mine that is expanding has a different footprint than one in steady production. We consider the full mine plans and lifecycle when setting our GHG emissions reduction targets and implementing our climate change strategy.

An example of this is at our Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic. Pueblo Viejo draws energy from the nearby Quisqueya power plant which we own. Until early 2020, Quisqueya ran on heavy fuel oil.

As a result, Pueblo Viejo was one of our largest sources of GHG emissions. In 2020, we completed the conversion of the Quisquyea power plant from heavy fuel oil to natural gas, resulting in GHG emissions reductions. The Quisqueya power station also provides electricity to the Dominican national grid. The proportion of electricity delivered to the grid accounts for approximately 20% of our electricity emissions.

We are currently expanding Pueblo Viejo and many of the reductions gained by the conversion to natural gas are offset by the additional trucks and energy required for the plant expansion and mine life extension project. We have accounted for that increase in GHG emissions at Pueblo Viejo when setting our emissions reduction target and developing our plan. We expect the plant expansion and mine life extension project at Pueblo Viejo to continue over the near-tomedium term, after which we expect to realize further emissions reductions from the conversion from HFO to natural gas at the lime kiln.

Scope 3 emissions: Scoping our full carbon footprint
(TCFD Metrics and targets b)

At Barrick, we have worked to calculate our Scope 1 and 2 emissions for more than a decade. However, we know that Scope 1 and 2 emissions are only part of the picture and to fully understand our carbon footprint we also need to better understand our Scope 3 emissions, which are those produced throughout our value chain.

Knowing there is truth in the adage, what gets measured gets managed, a key focus of our climate work in 2021 was quantifying and understanding our Scope 3 emissions. There is currently no agreed industry best practice for Scope 3 emissions calculation, and the process is cumbersome. To streamline the process and ensure we focus energy on our most material Scope 3 emissions categories, in July 2021 we undertook a screening exercise at our Tier One assets using the ‘spend based’ approach as well as the tool from GHG Protocol and Quantis against the 15 different Scope 3 emissions categories. This exercise revealed that Scope 3 emissions from our Tier One assets accounted for more than 40% of our total emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3). The screening exercise further revealed that 99% of our Scope 3 emissions fall within four categories; category one - purchased goods and services; category two - capital goods; category three - fuel and energy use; and category four - upstream transport and distribution.

This clarity of understanding where our Scope 3 emissions flow from enables us to focus our efforts going forward on those categories with the biggest impact. Within this group, we have identified category one - goods and services, as the most material and impactful Scope 3 emissions category that we can address. This is because reduction opportunities in category three - fuel and energy use, are currently limited by the availability of EV technologies. In addition the proportion of renewable energy in national grids, as well as upstream transportation, face similar constraints. Category two - capital goods, are typically one-off purchases and therefore our emissions profile from this category fluctuates annually.

Based on this work, as well as our group climate change strategy, which requires global collective action not at the expense of vulnerable communities or host countries, and coupled with our commitment to the ICMM Climate Change position statement, we have developed a Scope 3 emissions reduction roadmap.

Using technology to drive down emissions

Using technology to drive down emissions

At our Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania, one of the ways we are working to reduce our GHG emissions is by rethinking the way we assay our samples.

Traditional assay processes require samples to be crushed and ground to a very fine consistency and for furnaces to reach temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees. This requires significant energy and, in turn, generates emissions.

At our Bulyanhulu mine, we are trialing the PhotonAssay™ model developed by Australianbased mining tech company, Chrysos Corporation. PhotonAssay™ reduces the need for the crushing and grinding of samples and eliminates the necessity of a furnace altogether by hitting the sample with high-energy X-rays. It delivers results in as little as three minutes. Alongside the savings on energy, emissions and time, this assay method delivers improved representative samples, thereby helping to better define reserves and resources and reduce the cost of analysis.

In 2021, NGM entered into an agreement for First Solar to support the construction of the TS Solar Plant in Nevada. First Solar provides the most environmentally-friendly solar modules on the market and has a strong responsible sourcing program with zero tolerance for forced labor practices. In addition, this partnership supports US manufacturing and job creation, lowers NGM’s GHG emissions, and brings a new opportunity for renewable energy.

Water management

Water is a vital and increasingly scarce resource. Steady, reliable access to water is critical to the effective operation of our mines. Access to water is also a fundamental human right. Managing and using water responsibly is a critical part of our sustainability strategy. Reducing the volume of freshwater consumed and protecting water quality decreases our environmental footprint and helps us maintain community and stakeholder support.

Water management

Management approach

We aim to deliver enough water for the effective operation of our mines, while at the same time protecting the quality and quantity of water available to host communities and other users in our watersheds. Our commitment to responsible water use is codified in our Environmental Policy and our new standalone Water Policy. These documents commit us to:

  • Conserve and protect high quality water resources in areas where we operate;
  • Maintain basin-wide water balances that consider the availability of water resources, impacts from climate change, and the current and future water demands of our operational needs and the needs of other stakeholders;
  • Develop and implement site-wide water quality monitoring programs and management plans; and
  • Disclose our water use and management performance in line with the guidance and requirements of the ICMM Water reporting framework.

We work across a diverse range of geographies and how we manage water varies from site to site. Each mine has its own site-specific water management plan, which takes into account the different water sources available, local climate conditions and the needs of local users and the mine.

We include water risks in each mine’s operational risk register. Risks are then rolled up and incorporated into the Group Risk Register. Our identified water-related risks include:

  • Managing excess water in regions with high rainfall;
  • Maintaining access to water in arid areas and regions prone to water scarcity; and
  • Regulatory risks related to permitting limits as well as municipal and national regulations for water use.

What we measure

  • Total water withdrawn - Water received and/or abstracted by operations and used in a task or process. We monitor this by source: surface; ground; seawater or third party; and by quality.
  • Water diverted - Water which enters the site and requires management but is released into the environment without being used in a task or process.
  • Water discharged - Water used in a task or process and removed from operations and returned to the environment (surface, ground or seawater) by quality (high or low). Water discharged must meet legislated water quality benchmarks.
  • Consumption - Water abstracted or reused in a task and process and then lost through various mechanisms and no longer available for use/reuse. Usually lost through evaporation or entrainment in tailings with smaller amounts lost through human consumption.
  • Total water used - Total volume of water used by operations in a task or process.
  • Water recycled - Water used in operations, treated and then used again.
  • Water reused - Water used in operations and used again without treatment.
  • Change in storage - The change in stored water volume at the operations, calculated as the difference between water in storage at the start of a period and at the end of period. A positive number indicates water accumulation and a negative number indicates decreased storage.
  • Rainfall - Track trends and anticipate potential stresses on water management.

Our water circuit

Our water circuit

Each month, every site reports on their water use to our Regional Sustainability Leads and the Group Sustainability Executive. The data provided aligns with the requirements of the ICMM’s Water Accounting Framework, which allows for a full picture of water use across the site. Monitoring and reporting our water use regularly ensures our team knows and understands how and where we use water across site, and where further efficiencies might be gained.

We track this data because it helps us to understand how efficiently we use water, and to identify if and how we can reduce the amount of water we withdraw. This understanding helps us to stay within our permitted limits and delivers operational efficiencies by reducing pumping costs.

We also track how much water we recycle and reuse because it helps us to understand all the water that goes in and out of our sites. Ultimately, this enables us to identify ways we can withdraw less from external sources. We also incorporate the data into our scenario planning.

Exposure to water risk

In regions identified as water scarce or vulnerable to water stress, such as Mali and Nevada, our water management plans take particular care to account for the reduced supply of freshwater for local communities and ecosystems. We aim to use low-quality water in our operations and to recycle and reuse as much water from our processes as possible. For mines such as Kibali and Pueblo Viejo where water stress is experienced as surplus or excess water to manage because of high rainfall, our approach to water management is different. At these mines, the sheer volume of water entering the mine site from rain and runoff means that we face different water management challenges, and must manage massive volumes of runoff by either:

  • Diverting it; or
  • Storing it as clean water to discharge back into the environment.

Any rainwater that encounters process areas (for example runoff through the plant) is maximized for use in our processes as opposed to abstracting freshwater from water resources, or is treated to meet required discharge standards before it is returned to the environment.

A site like Pueblo Viejo also has a downstream water demand to consider and not only needs to meet discharge standards in terms of quality, but also in terms of volume of water released into the downstream system to meet environmental and social demands. At these sites, it is difficult to achieve high water recycling and reuse rates given the high volumes of precipitation, and this context impacts our group rates and targets.

Our exposure to water stress

Our exposure to water stress

Improving water access to communities in the Dominican Republic and the DRC

It is estimated that 600 million people globally still lack adequate and reliable access to enough clean water to meet their drinking, cooking and hygiene needs, as well as for other uses.

The World Bank estimates that poor water and sanitation supply costs developing countries as much as $260 billion annually or approximately 1.5% of their GDP. That is why improving access to clean water is one of our community development investment filters. These are some of the ways our community development funding is helping to improve access to drinking water for our communities in the Dominican Republic and the DRC.

Water fountains in the DRC

Since construction at our Kibali mine began, we have drilled more than 100 new boreholes and upgraded many more to provide ready access to water for the communities closest to Kibali’s operations. However, with a rapidly growing population and large area of influence, access to water remains a priority issue for Kibali communities, particularly for residents of the towns of Durba and Watsa.

In these areas, water had previously been supplied by private vendors at a cost beyond the means of most residents, or by a long and time consuming walk to the river. In 2017, Kibali management entered into an agreement with the local CDC to invest in a water distribution project for Durba’s residents. The water distribution system pumps and purifies water from nearby hills to a network of 40 water fountains in the city. The contract for the management of the water network has been allocated to one local company and each fountain has a monitor to supervise water collection and collect payment.

The managing company is also responsible for the maintenance of the system. The system was built by a network of 13 local suppliers and a local NGO, thereby multiplying the benefits delivered by the project.

Water Treatment Plant in Zambrana, Dominican Republic

When the Pueblo Viejo mine was planned, we identified 34 communities near the operation. Our baseline assessment showed that none of these communities had access to municipal services.

The area’s water sources were also negatively impacted by historic artisanal mining, resulting in health risks for local residents. To improve access to clean drinking water for the surrounding communities of Pueblo Viejo, we have kick-started a community-led initiative to build and run a water treatment plant that not only provides access to clean drinking water for residents of Zambrana, but is supported by an economic model which provides jobs and income for the local community and is sustainable over the long term.

As part of the project, during 2021 we spent $370,000 building a reverse osmosis water treatment plant in the town of Sabana Del Ray. A Community Cooperative of 30 community members will take on the management of the plant and coordinate the sale of treated bottled water at an affordable price to surrounding communities.

The plant’s capacity is estimated to produce up to 6,000 bottles of clean drinking water, daily. To ensure water is suitable for human consumption, a local laboratory will be responsible for testing the water quality. In addition to generating drinking water, we are also negotiating a water purchase agreement with the Community Cooperative to supply water to the Pueblo Viejo mine. We anticipate the plant will deliver enough clean water to provide for up to 25 of the mine’s surrounding communities. The operation of the water treatment plant will also provide five direct jobs to the community, and over 200 families will benefit indirectly from the project.


Geohydrology study at Carlin

Prior to the establishment of NGM, both Barrick and Newmont maintained independent groundwater flow models for their respective operations near Carlin (legacy models).

While the information generated by the legacy models was/is accurate, it was only telling half the story. This was largely due to how the legacy models were structured.

As NGM, we combined the data within the legacy models into a single structure (Modflow 6) thereby creating the Carlin Trend groundwaterflow model (Carlin Trend Model).

Tests showed the Carlin Trend Model simulated stream flows and groundwater levels accurately for the period between 1987 and 2019.

Successfully replicating more than 30 years of measured conditions supports the confidence in the predictive capability of the model. Using the Carlin Trend Model, NGM will refine our understanding of the groundwater near our Carlin operations. As we gather input from partner agencies and learn more about the data, the new model will inform our overall water management strategy and planning for future operations. This work and the model results have been well received by state and federal permitting agencies as well as stakeholders.

Our performance

In 2021, we reused or recycled 82% of all the water we used. This equates to 471,481 Megaliters (ML) of water reused or recycled by our mines in 2021. In total, we consumed 85,285ML or approximately 0.0005ML per tonne of ore processed, in 2021. Evaporation accounts for approximately 40% of our consumptive use, while 39% is consumed through entrainment in our TSFs.

Our total water withdrawal in 2021 was 171,892ML or an average of 0.001ML per tonne of ore processed. Most of the water we withdrew was from precipitation and runoff (30%) and rivers and streams (26%). We also drew down significant volumes of water stored on our TSFs. In 2021, 21% of the water we withdrew was from low quality sources.

In 2021, we discharged 81,346ML, 84% of which was to surface water such as rivers and streams. The bulk of the water we discharge is at our sites with high rainfall such as Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic, as well as Kibali in the DRC. We also discharged significant volumes at North Mara and Lumwana. 69% of the water we discharge is high-quality water, suitable for agricultural or potable use.

Reducing freshwater abstration at Kibali

The DRC, where our Kibali mine is located, is blessed with an abundance of rainfall every year. However, because of the sheer volume of water the mine has to manage from rainfall each year, we regard Kibali as water stressed.

Regardless of the abundance of water at Kibali, we aim to minimize the amount of water we take from the nearby Kibali River each year and are constantly looking for alternate water sources. Due to the heavy rainfall, groundwater levels in the DRC are fairly high and we need to dewater. In the third quarter of 2021, we commissioned two new pumps at the Pakaka pit. The new pumps take dewatering water from the Pakaka pit lake to the nearby KMS dam for storage before use in the process plant.

These efforts led to a 53% reduction of fresh water taken from the Kibali River in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same periods for 2020 and 2019. We are now working on phase two of the project, which will see us install a further two lines from the Kombokolo and KCD pit lakes toward the KMS dam. This means that even in the dry season, the KMS dam will not have to draw signficant water from the Kibali River. Overall, this work is anticipated to reduce our abstraction from the Kibali River by as much as 80%.


Water efficiency improvement project at the Pueblo Viejo mine

Our Pueblo Viejo mine is in an area with abundant water supply, and the site had one of our lowest water use efficiency rates, with an average of just 46% of water used by the site reused or recycled prior to 2021.

Having ready access to water, however, does not mean that we should not take the utmost care with water management on site. Therefore to improve Pueblo Viejo’s water use efficiency, we conducted a full water use review between 2019 and 2021 to understand exactly how much water we use on site and through which process. With this information, we then reviewed where we could swap fresh water use for reclaimed or process water, or where we could utitlize diverted rainwater.

The review identified a number of short-, medium- and long-term initiatives that could improve water use efficiency. The projects implemented in 2021 include using reclaimed instead of fresh water, installing flow meters across site to enable better tracking of reclaim water use, and evaluating the blend of water in the lime slaking to reduce the proportion of fresh water. In 2021the implementation of these steps helped us to improve water use efficiency at Pueblo Viejo by 43%, to 66% reused or recycled.

The site has an action plan in place to achieve 80% water use efficiency over the next two years, and the following projects are being reviewed for implementation in 2022 to drive further efficiencies:

  • Engineering for the use of reclaim water for cleaning of the tanks (instead of fresh water); and
  • Engineering for the extension of reclaim water pipes to use in limestone grinding.

Waste management

Gold mining and its processes create waste including tailings, waste rock, and non-processing waste. Making sure we deal responsibly with the waste we generate is critical to the health of local environments, local communities and our business. Reducing mine waste and increasing recycling throughout the mine life cycle drives down costs, and reflects our commitment to operating in a responsible and sustainable manner. We have a target to increase the proportion of waste we recycle year-on-year.

Waste management
Tailings Storage Facility at Carlin – NGM, USA.

Responsible tailings management and dam safety

Tailings are one of the most significant waste streams generated by the mining process. They are created as mined ore is crushed, milled and processed to separate the valuable minerals from the ore. Tailings typically consist of a slurry of fine mineral particles and water, which are either incorporated into materials used to backfill pits or mined-out underground stopes or pumped in a slurry form into a specially designed and engineered repository, known as a tailings dam or a TSF. TSFs need to be carefully monitored and maintained to ensure the stability of the dam walls and prevent seepage of contaminants into the local environment. With the implementation of a dedicated group-level Vice President, Closure and Governance, we will roll out extensive Closure Plan reviews across all our sites, including aiming to maximize the opportunity and set tailings backfill target.

Tailings storage facilities

Management approach

At the center of our approach to tailings management is safety. Ensuring that people and the environment are safe determines how we manage our facilities.

Our Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard aligns with international best practice and sets out:

  • How we manage our TSFs from location and design through to operation and closure; and
  • The key roles required for the management of each TSF, such as an Engineer of Record (EoR) and a Responsible Person.

The Responsible Person manages key documentation such as the compliance plan, risk assessment and manuals, and maintains an emergency response plan that has been communicated to all affected people. For the construction of any new TSF or heap leach pad, the Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard stipulates that the technical specifications will meet all national requirements and follow international good practice including World Bank standards, Canadian Dam Association Safety guidelines and Mining Association of Canada’s Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities.

Our Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard sets out six levels of inspection and surety for the safe management and operation of TSFs and heap leach pads.

Improving the North Mara TSF

As set out in our 2019 and 2020 Sustainability Reports, when we assumed operational control of North Mara in Tanzania in 2019, we inherited a neglected TSF, which had been closed by the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) due to safety concerns related to excess water on the dam.

Our priority ever since has been to restore the North Mara TSF to within its design capacity and eliminate the excess water.

As a first step, we undertook a hydrocensus to determine if any impacts had occurred to community water sources that required remedy. While undertaking the hydrocensus, we deployed evaporators at the extensive TSF pool. This allowed us time to develop and implement longerterm solutions. We invested approximately $65 million to upgrade the water treatment facilities at North Mara. This has improved the water treatment plant’s daily throughput from 2.5ML to a 40ML capacity. The plant upgrade was completed in December 2020, and we installed a brine plant in 2021 which can deal with high salt levels and increases water recovery.

Through these efforts, we achieved our objective of returning the TSF’s functionality back to design and legislated capacity in 2021, and reduced the volume of water on the TSF from 7.0Mm3 in 2019 to below 0.8 Mm3 today. Alongside critically important safety improvements, this reduces the need for a further TSF at North Mara. Our advances are continually monitored by NEMC, with regular mutual engagement to ensure the TSF is managed to the highest standards. This includes regularly analysing drinking water wells and surface water sources surrounding the mine.


Tails from the desert

Our Jabal Sayid copper mine in Saudi Arabia is located in a water-scarce area, and for the operation to be a success, we needed to adapt our mining processes to suit this climate and water availability. Both copper processing and tailings management usually require fresh water, which would place significant constraints on an operation in the desert.

Jabal Sayid has adapted to dry conditions by adopting a new method to process copper concentrates which can use either raw sea water, brackish water or waste water. This method, known as the Air-Metabisulfite Process (AMBS), also allows the mine to use treated municipal sewage water for flotation. We also make a concerted effort to save water by treating waste water on site.

We recover water so that the tailings material has a moisture content of just 18% when stacked at the lined TSF. This has a significant impact, not just on our water use, but also in the way we manage our tailings. Reducing the amount of water content in a tailings facility also vastly improves the facility’s safety, which can otherwise be a major risk carried by most mines.

This process of storing dryer tailings is called dry stacking, and the process comes with a number of benefits. The dryer material requires less space, and it is more stable and therefore reduces the risk during flooding or seismic events. Dry stack TSFs also reduce the overall footprint or so-called ‘dirty mining area’ as these TSFs require less space.


During 2021, we continued to align with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management and continued the review of our TSFs against our internal standards and current industry best practice. Based on these reviews, we generated a prioritized list of actions to reduce the risks at our TSFs to the lowest possible level. We are on track to align with GISTM by August 2023 for all ‘very high’ and ‘extreme’ classified facilities, and August 2025 for the ‘high’ to ‘low’ classified facilities.

In 2021, independent reviews of the TSFs were conducted at the company’s Goldstrike (Carlin), Cortez, North Mara, Bulyanhulu, Turquoise Ridge, Loulo-Gounkoto, Tongon and Kibali mines, as well as the Mercur and McLaughlin closure sites.

Mercury management

Naturally occurring mercury is found in some of the ore at some of our sites in Nevada and Latin America. This mercury can be mobilized during processing. We are aligned with the ICMM position statement on Mercury Risk Management and follow a rigorous risk-based approach to the management of all hazardous chemicals and reagents. Mercury capture and safe storage are critical aspects of onsite safe practices.

We use a range of controls during processing and disposal, including retorts, scrubbers, condensation towers and activated carbon filters which trap mercury vapor before it can be discharged into the atmosphere. Air pollution control devices on the thermal processing units (roasters, autoclaves, refineries) at NGM meet Nevada Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards, which are the most stringent best practices for the gold industry in the US.

Our operations in Latin America ship mercury for permanent safe storage in the decommissioned area of a former salt mine in Germany. In Nevada, regulations prohibit the export of elemental mercury, and the United States does not have a permanent government regulated storage facility. That means long-term mercury storage is a challenge for our operations in Nevada, and captured mercury compounds are stored on site. We are also working to build relationships with waste management companies to further enable long-term safe and environmentally responsible disposal.

Cyanide controls

We are a signatory to the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC) and member of the International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI), and adhere to best practices for the safe transportation, storage, use and disposal of cyanide. This includes:

  • Conducting regular internal audits against the ICMC;
  • Monitoring local waterbodies and discharge for potential traces of cyanide;
  • Formally tracking all incidents involving cyanide;
  • Training for workers and contractors who handle, transport, and dispose of cyanide;
  • Specialised training and equipment for onsite emergency response teams; and
  • All our cyanide suppliers and transporters must be ICMC certified.

Cyanide management is built on stringent operating permits and standards. We work side by side with the regulators to ensure responsible management of cyanide across our operations and meet all requirements to maintain ICMC certification.

All operational sites, with the exception of Kibali, are certified to ICMC. Kibali is on track to achieve compliance in 2023. We had no significant cyanide-related incidents in 2021.

Non-processing waste

Alongside process waste, we also create a small quantity of non-processing waste each year. This includes batteries, fluorescent lights, waste oils, solvents, electronic waste and laboratory assay waste. In line with the commitments set out in our Environmental Policy, we strive to minimize the amount of waste we produce, and we apply the ‘avoid, reduce, re-use, and recycle’ hierarchy to our non-mine waste. How we manage waste is guided by local context, and restrictions. For example, our Veladero mine in Argentina is in the High Andes and does not have a landfill. In order to manage our waste effectively and responsibly, our site waste management team works with local and regional bodies as well as governments to manage and recycle waste to ensure that no waste is stored long term at site and is recycled and repurposed wherever possible.

We track the volumes of waste we generate and how each waste stream is disposed of, and our aim is reduce the proportion of waste we send to a landfill. Tracking and reporting our waste streams helps us to compare performance across our sites and identify opportunities for improvement. Based on this benchmarking, we are bringing some of the lessons learned in the Africa and Middle East region to North America to improve recycling rates.

These lessons include exploring opportunities to use community-based commercial enterprises that can also create economic opportunities. At our Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali, local youth co-operatives GIE Kenieba and GIE DK have contracts to collect and recycle scrap metals. In Tanzania at our North Mara mine, to better manage waste and deliver additional value to the community, we have installed a new waste storage and separation facility. This facility is managed by local youth collective Kemanyaki and sorts waste into recycleable waste, which is sent to a local contractor off site for recycling. In addition, food waste is collected and shared with local community pig farms, while scrap metals, wood and plastics are sorted and made available to local artisans for use.


Pueblo Viejo’s plastic prevention plan

Most plastic products have a working life of just 15 minutes but take centuries to break down, and often end up in waterways and the ocean.

Since 2019, our Pueblo Viejo mine has been working to reduce the volume of plastic waste it generates. This includes eliminating single-use plastic bottles and replacing them with reusable bottles. This also includes the introduction of reusable or biodegradable containers and cutlery, and reusable bags at the on-site grocery store.

These measures have seen single use plastic waste generated on site drop from 14.3 tonnes in the first quarter of 2019, to 0.1 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2021.


Value from waste

Creating a buzz at Lumwana

At our Lumwana mine, we have embarked upon a project that simultaneously decreases the volume of waste we create, and promotes circular sustainability. The project provides hives for biodiversity-saving bees, reduces deforestation, creates jobs, benefits the community, and is the perfect use for scrap wood lying about the salvage yard.

The salvage yard collects a significant amount of fairly good pieces of timber previously used to package various goods that were delivered to the mine. We invite the community to sort through the timber and take the timber they want to make furniture and other wooden wares. Some of the local carpenters have also used the timber to build beehives for a bee keeping and apiary program that we are running in the community. To date, carpenters have produced over 800 hives and 50 swarm boxes, which are used to entice a swarm. By utilizing salvaged wood, we have more than halved the cost of the hive project.

Traditionally, beehives have been constructed from tree bark which contributed to deforestation in the area. Traditional bark beehives also have an extremely limited shelf life, producing only one harvest. The locally made reclaimed hives boast a five-year life of hive with a greater honey yield: 25kg versus 19kg from the single-use bark hives. These hives are placed in the local forests, which has seen an increase in bees, essential for pollination.

Cooking up a profit in Mali

At our Loulo-Gounkoto mine in Mali, a similar initiative is under way to create revenue from what would otherwise be garbage. Waste on site is actively separated and made available to local artisans to collect, including tin, wood and other general waste. Artisans transform crates and other scrap wood into furniture, tin is transformed into cooking pots, and scrap metal is used for troughs and other containers. These initiatives provide local artisans with the opportunity to create new sources of income, while simultaneously reducing the unnecessary waste to landfill of reusable materials.


Biodiversity underpins many of the ecosystem services on which our mines and their surrounding communities depend. If improperly managed, mining and exploration activities have the potential to negatively affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. Impacts could include reductions in water quality or quantity, loss of protected species and habitat fragmentation. Protecting biodiversity and preventing nature loss is also critical and inextricably linked to the fight against climate change. The conversion of natural grasslands, forests and wetlands can release stored carbon into the atmosphere as CO2 and reduce the number of vital carbon sinks.


We also know our presence, or that of any mine, can result in population influx, and this puts pressure on local resources including biodiversity. Our aim is to play a positive role in the management of the biodiversity in the areas in which we operate and for it to play a positive role in community development, as the two are intrinsically linked.

Many stakeholders, particularly the investment community, are now aware of the risks posed by poor biodiversity management. Unfortunately, there is limited understanding in the industry and the investment communities about what good biodiversity management looks like. At Barrick, we are committed to driving best practice both through our own actions, and through engaging with industry bodies and our stakeholders.

Management approach

We work to proactively manage our impact on biodiversity and strive to protect the ecosystems in which we operate. Wherever possible, we aim to achieve a net neutral biodiversity impact, particularly for ecologically sensitive environments.

Our approach is informed by international best practice, such as the guidelines set by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and ICMM, including their Mining and Protected Areas position statement. Our commitments to biodiversity management are set out in our Biodiversity Policy, which compels us to:

  • Contribute to national and regional biodiversity planning;
  • Not explore, mine, drill or otherwise carry out mining-related activity in declared natural World Heritage sites;
  • Apply the mitigation hierarchy to manage and offset biodiversity impacts; and
  • Establish a biodiversity baseline for all greenfield projects and to always consider ecological impacts and opportunities for ecological enhancement for any new project or expansion.

To fulfil these commitments, we require all our operational sites to develop and implement Biodiversity Action Plans (BAP), and this commitment was achieved during 2021. BAPs 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. Our goal is to ultimately achieve a net neutral impact of key biodiversity features. They also specify the resources required to put the plan into action and identify key institutional and local community partnerships to aid the implementation and review of the plan.

Setting the Standard

To reinforce our biodviersity commitments and translate them into clear actions to be taken on the ground, in early 2022, we developed a new biodiversity standard for Barrick with the assistance from external experts. The aim of this standard is to proactively manage our biodiversity risks and opportunities to achieve our target of no net loss of key biodiversity values in areas affected by our activities. To focus our efforts, our net neutral commitment applies specifically to the Key Biodiversity Features (KBFs) identified at our sites. Each mine is required to develop a site-specific strategy to achieve this goal, which is to be captured in a BAP.

To develop the standard, we reviewed and evaluated current international and industry biodiversity best practice, as well as the policies and performance of our peers. We noted that current practice, tightly bounds what is and is not regarded as a biodiversity offset. While we recognize the importance of rigor in this regard, we believe this can place undue emphasis on like-for-like restoration of low biodiversity value sites, and overlook contributions to nearby high value locations such as national parks. We call these actions Measurable Conservation Actions (MCAs), and MCAs are a key part of our biodiversity strategy.

Our approach to biodiversity management and protection, is first and foremost, to avoid and minimize impacts to local biodiversity by our operations. Where we cannot avoid negative impacts, we work to manage the risk and to restore and rehabilitate the land, flora and fauna once activities have ceased. We undertake concurrent rehabilitation to reduce the length of time an area is disturbed. After avoidance, minimisation, and rehabilitation, we strive to achieve net neutrality and, where possible, net gain through MCAs and/or biodiversity offsets. MCAs target the enhancement of KBFs and/or biodiversity of higher conservation value in an effort to achieve conservation gains.

The standard is applicable to all our operational and exploration sites, closure properties and joint ventures where we have operational control.


What is a Biodiversity Action Plan?

In 2021, we achieved our goal of implementing a BAP at all operational sites. 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 (eg, offsets, additional actions) and involve external partners (eg, 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.

This reduces the overall disturbed footprint of our mines. It also helps us to restore habitats faster and reduces our closure costs over time.


Garamba National Park - Barrick contributions in 2021

Measurable conservation action focused on threatened species abatement and restoration

The Garamba National Park is Africa's oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park, located 70km north of Kibali in northeast DRC, has an area greater than 5,000km2 and is adjacent to four contiguous reserves with an additional 10,000km2. Gazetted as a national park in 1936, it was established to conserve biodiversity, notably elephant and white rhino. The Garamba National Park was placed on the list of World Heritage Sites in danger, following years of armed conflict, civil wars and poaching that resulted in steep declines of wildlife populations.

We have provided financial support and partnership for the protection and restoration of biodiversity in the park since 2015. Just as critical to meeting biodiversity goals is to understand the relationship between the natural environment and the communities that depend on it. That is why our support also includes livelihood support for the adjacent communities.

Garamba is one of the largest employers in the region, with over 500 full-time staff and hundreds more employees on short-term contracts, including law enforcement teams and dedicated community personnel. In 2021, the Park supported a further 9,650 community members in social enterprise including beekeeping, fish, poultry farming and agriculture, and the four hospitals that are supported by the park treated a total of 12,189 patients.


Our biodiversity commitments in action

Our biodiversity commitments in action

We believe it is our job to drive best practice around biodiversity awareness and conservation. In Nevada, in partnership with state and federal agencies, NGOs, and local stakeholders, we identify and implement projects to improve the ecosystem of the Great Basin. We are committed to actions that protect and conserve sagebrush habitat for species such as sage-grouse and mule deer. Some of the projects we worked on are discussed in the following case studies.


Sage-Grouse habitat improvements

Sage-Grouse habitat improvements

Our IL Ranch is home to one of the largest strongholds of greater sage-grouse habitat in Nevada and hosts critical winter and summer habitat.

Since 2012, we have focused on managing this ranch for habitat values and have entered a large portion of this ranch into the State of Nevada’s Conservation Credit System to protect and improve sage-grouse habitat.

One of the ways we have worked to improve habitat was to remove juniper trees, which were encroaching into important late brood rearing habitat. The tree removal was carefully managed and done by hand so hens and their young do not avoid the areas, and to ensure there is no damage to the sagebrush-rich habitats. The work was undertaken by a Native American contractor from the nearby Owyhee Reservation, and has led to additional work for the contractor.

Targeted grazing to reduce risks of wildfire

For the last two years, AU Ranches, operated by Nevada Gold Mines, has taken part in a targeted grazing program. The program aims to reduce the spread of wildfire by strategically grazing portions of land that have high risk of fire spread. AU Ranches work closely with the Elko Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to properly graze these fuel break areas and leave behind a limited amount of fine fire fuel. The intent is to stop or slow fires that would otherwise degrade important wildlife habitat.

Unfortunately, these efforts were put to the test in July 2021, when a fire started. However, because of the targeted grazing, the fire’s size and spread was thankfully limited.

Prior to contact with the grazing strip, the fire was moving at a moderate pace. The fuel break slowed the rate of speed and allowed firefighters enough time to arrive on scene and engage the fire. This was the third such fire that was slowed, allowing firefighters time to respond. NGM is continuing to engage with BLM and plans to continue this targeted grazing strip into the 2022 grazing season.


Fina Reserve conservation project in Mali

The Fina Reserve is located 80km northeast of Bamako in the Kayes region. It is part of the Boucle du Baoule reserve system and covers some 104,900ha.

The park comprises savannah, forest and low lands and was once a refuge for big mammals such as hippo, sable antelopes, giraffes, elephants. In recent years, the park has come under threat from grazing, uncontrolled farming and poaching, and much of the local flora and fauna has been eradicated. As part of our commitment to biodiversity, we have partnered with BIOs, the Mali Forestry Services and African Parks to protect and restore this important park for Mali. The project has a budget of $5 million over the first five years and will work to rehabilitate degraded ecosystems, create ideal conditions for the re-introduction of species, and enhance economic development around the park and relaunch tourist activities.

Some of the activities funded as part of the program include: training and equipping of antipoaching rangers; opening and improving access roads in and around the park to enable antipoaching patrols and tourism within the park; ground and aerial surveys to maintain updated data on fauna/flora; and creation of fenced areas within the park for re-introduction of sensitive species, as well as the re-introduction of certain species.


Desnaring the Serengeti

Desnaring the Serengeti

Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park teems with wildlife and is home to the great migration.

It is estimated more than 2 million ungulates, 4,000 lions, 1,000 leopards, 550 cheetahs and some 500 bird species call the 15,000km2 park home. The park is also a major tourist attraction and source of revenue for Tanzania. However, the snaring of ungulates for bushmeat are a continual challenge for the authorities in the Serengeti, and considerable resources are required to keep it contained. As part of our biodiversity and conservation work in Tanzania, we are joining the Serengeti de-snare initiative, a collective between Tanzania National Parks and the Frankfurt Zoological Society, which funds teams in the park to find and remove snares.


Offset partnerships in the Dominican Republic

Offset partnerships in the Dominican Republic

At our Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, we have been working with the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources to identify a biodiversity offset site.

We are working to ensure that the park of choice will be successful under international standards. The park we have identified is Aniana Vargas National Park and is located in the Sanchez Ramirez province, close to Pueblo Viejo. It has an area of 130km2 and has been recognized by Pueblo Viejo as one of the Key Biodiversity Features on its BAP, since it shares most of its flora and fauna, as well as unique animals like the Hutía (Plagiodontia Aedium) and the Samaná Least Gecko (Sphaerodactylus Samanensis). We expect to start working on e-DNA baselines to better understand the richness of this park, and to identify large areas where we could work with the rangers and the community to start reforestation programs. We have also participated in some clean-up activities around the park along with the communities.


Migration, monitoring and mitigation at Long Canyon

Migration, monitoring and mitigation at Long Canyon

The Long Canyon mine is located on the east side of the Pequop Mountains in Nevada, which is a major spring and fall migration route for the local mule deer population.

During initial permitting for Long Canyon, both Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and the BLM believed the location of the proposed waste rock storage facility and other mine facilities could potentially affect a critical migration corridor and restrict deer movement for crucial winter forage and habitat. Taking this feedback on board, alternative locations for the mining facilities were identified and selected to preserve the migration corridor through the permitting process.

Beyond this, we have also worked collaboratively with NDOW since 2012 to monitor the mule deer population and their migration patterns. This includes funding GPS collars to monitor mule deer movements through and around the mine facilities. Data from the collars has shown that the Long Canyon mine has not significantly impacted the local mule deer population, nor their migration patterns through and around the facilities.

The permitting process for Long Canyon identified the risk of direct impacts to mule deer habitat during mining activities, and mitigation steps were required. These included the establishment of a Wildlife Habitat Conservation fund, whereby NDOW could withdraw funds to support mule deer habitat enhancement projects within or outside of the mine’s Plan of Operations. The fee for disturbances and the loss of mule deer habitat was established at $600 per acre. From 2015 through 2020, a total of 513 acres of mule deer winter habitat was disturbed and NGM has provided a total of approximately $307,000 directly to the fund for mule deer projects.

The funds have subsequently been used by NDOW to support pinyon and juniper tree thinning projects. Tree thinning provides for the establishment of mule deer forage such as shrubs, forbs, and grasses.


Air emissions control

A smooth road to Loulo-Gounkoto

The haul road leading to and from the Loulo-Gounkoto mine in Mali was tarred in 2019, with exceptional results in dust reduction. Looking back to 2017, the dust fallout was nearly five times that of the international guideline limit. The site experiences its dry season between April to October with consistently warm temperatures throughout the year. Dust generated from the haul road was an enormous investment of time and resources to control dust fallout but the dust impact to our surrounding communities could still be felt. Before the road was tarred, Barrick was using significant mine water as a dust suppressant, which reduces the amount of water that can be recycled in the mining operation, thus increasing the water demand on site. A few options were thoroughly investigated by Barrick to relieve the surrounding communities, and tar was found to be the most effective solution. In the second quarter of 2019, the results start to show a drop in dust to just around the guideline limit of 1,200 mg/m2/day. A year later in the second quarter of 2020, we saw a further reduction, and in 2021, we did not exceed the dust fallout limit the entire year.

Stacking up

A significant synergy identified for the NGM joint venture was the potential to route specific ores to the different processing facilities to reduce overall transportation and processing costs. As new ores are processed and throughput rates are increased, NGM has recognized challenges in maintaining compliance with Mercury Operating Permit to Construct (MOPTC) permit limits. In response, we have completed engineering design changes to the facilities, such as adding new mercury emission controls on both trains of the Gold Quarry Roaster calcine cooling system at Carlin, upgrading the carbon filters on the retort systems at Turquoise Ridge, and identifying improvements to onsite monitoring and recordkeeping practices in order to demonstrate compliance during inspections and annual reports.


How we close our mines is just as important as how we build and operate them. Mine closure, if poorly managed, can result in unproductive land, permanent damage to the natural environment, leave gaps in community development and cause financial liabilities for Barrick. When done well, mine closure can leave a lasting, positive and sustainable legacy.


Management approach

Our approach to mine closure reflects our ambition to share the benefits with stakeholders. Even in closure, our goal is to maximize the value for the local community. How we manage both the environmental and social aspects of closure is set out in our Closure Standard, which compels us to:

  • Apply a mitigation hierarchy to manage our negative environmental impacts, so we avoid these wherever possible and minimize those which cannot be avoided;
  • Minimize our use of water and control our impacts on water quality;
  • Engage with stakeholders including local communities to support sustainable management of water resources for the benefit of all local users; and
  • Use energy as efficiently as possible.

To deliver on our commitments under our Closure Standard and applicable regulatory requirements, we establish closure plans for all our mines before construction begins. These plans outline the steps to be taken throughout the mine life to deliver an effective and environmentally sound end to operations, including rehabilitation of the surrounding area and protection of water resources. These plans are regularly updated, and a proportion of each mine’s annual budget is set aside and ringfenced each year to ensure all closure obligations are met.


At the end of 2021, the total amount of land disturbed and not yet rehabilitated at our mine sites was more than 53,000 hectares. A key focus during the year was to increase our rate of concurrent rehabilitation. All operational sites develop detailed and quantifiable concurrent rehabilitation plans each year.

Actively managing closure

Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story. At Barrick, we believe that future generations will judge us not by our short-term profitability, but by the legacy we leave behind after mining is completed. The role of a sustainable mining company is to not only create value for our stakeholders today, but to make sure we leave behind a positive legacy that will continue to serve local communities long after mining is complete.

To ensure our approach to closure is transparent, Barrick adopted a new Closure Standard in 2020. The Closure Standard mandates an iterative, agile planning approach to closure that is fully integrated into life of mine planning. For instance, both closed and operating sites in North America now engage in periodic ‘scrums’ with senior management, including the COO for North America and the Group Sustainability Executive, to set long-term objectives and short-term goals, and report back on progress. Furthermore, mine General Managers are now required to set and achieve closure planning and concurrent reclamation KPIs.

The Closure Standard also ensures that operating sites consider the long-term consequences of today’s decisions. For instance, the Closure Standard is clear that ‘Active, long-term water treatment by the company is generally not an acceptable strategy’. Instead of over-reliance on water treatment plants that will consume energy and resources, as well as produce waste long into the future, we are committed to finding cost-effective and nature based solutions today to prevent negative impacts on water quality where possible and to use sustainable, low-impact mitigation technologies if necessary.

Finally, many of our legacy properties still have valuable mineral resources, even though their development may not meet Barrick’s strategic filters. During 2020 and 2021, we successfully found new owners for several legacy properties that, due to today’s higher gold price, may be ready for a second life in mining. The sale of the Eskay Creek mine and other properties in British Columbia, the Bullfrog mine in southern Nevada, the exchange of Lone Tree for the 40% interest in South Arturo that NGM did not already own, and the Maitland claims in South Dakota, together generated significant value for Barrick which could be reinvested in our other sites.

More significantly, a return to mining would create new jobs and generate new economic activity for the benefit of local communities.

In early 2022, Barrick appointed a new global Vice-President of Closure and Governance to ensure that operational sites are following best practices and performing against plans, identify alternatives to long-term active water treatment, and find innovative ways to return closed mine sites to productive uses.

Developing a Special Economic Zone at Buzwagi

During 2021, we moved our Buzwagi mine in Tanzania into closure. At its peak, Buzwagi was the second largest operating mine in Tanzania and employed more than 3,000 people.

Our plan is to ensure that Buzwagi remains an economic powerhouse for local communities and Tanzania. To do that, we are looking into establishing the Buzwagi Special Economic Zone (BSEZ).

The aim of the BSEZ will be to turn Buzwagi’s mining area into a business area to generate similar benefits the mine was providing to the local municipality and its surrounding communities through taxes, fees, and new employment opportunities. To date, we have undertaken a feasibility study for the BSEZ. The study showed the BSEZ has the potential to:

  • Create approximately 3,200 jobs per year;
  • Generate more than $150,000 per year in service levies for the local municipality over the short term, and as much as $1.3 million in the long term; and
  • Generate Pay As You Earn (PAYE) taxes for the Tanzanian government of as much as $4.5 million over the short term and more than $18 million over the long term.


Golden Sunlight’s golden handshake

Golden Sunlight mine is reprocessing its tailings and backfillin g the open pit - Montana, USA.
Golden Sunlight mine is reprocessing its tailings and backfillin g the open pit - Montana, USA.

For nearly 40 years, the Golden Sunlight mine in Montana was one of Barrick’s reliable workhorses, producing more than 3 million ounces of gold before its operational life ended in 2019. But that is not the end of the story for Golden Sunlight.

In 2020, we did a double take on our tailings and initiated permitting on an innovative tailings reprocessing and pit backfill project that eliminates the need for long-term water treatment on site, while also producing a sulfur concentrate. After reprocessing, the remaining material will be used to backfill the Mineral Hill open pit.

This simple yet highly effective project generates a multitude of environmental and social wins for Barrick, the local community and the state of Montana.

These include:

  • Complete removal of TSFs from the nearby landscape. This reduces the risks of seepage and water contamination and helps with soil remediation. It also reduces our risks and potential long-term environmental liabilities as well as removes a waste dump from the landscape to free up land for alternative use;
  • Sulfur concentrate produced by Golden Sunlight will cross state lines and be sold to NGM at a lower price than other sources of sulfur;
  • Creation of 75 new jobs, and potentially tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues and benefits over the next decade;
  • TSF 1 and 2 posed risks to deer and water fowl in the past but revegetation of the rehabilitated footprints opens up natural areas for species to roam in the future; and
  • Backfilling the pit also prevents formation of a pit lake in the bottom of the Mineral Hill pit.


Rain reclamation

Rain reclamation
Rehabilitation activities at Rain, including the laying of the HDPE liner before the geotextile, cover material and topsoil deployment - NGM, USA.

Ongoing reclamation activities at our Rain site in Nevada continues to meet our Closure Standard. In 2021, a two-year project commenced to improve approximately 75 acres (about 30.5 hectares) of cover on the Rain North Waste Rock Disposal Facility to progress final closure and prevent the need for long-term active treatment of draindown solution. As part of the project the northeastern and southeastern slopes will be regraded, and a geomembrane liner will be installed over the surface to reduce infiltration. The entire project area will then be recovered and revegetated.

Activities completed during 2021 included the stripping and stockpiling of cover material, regrading of slopes, as well as high density polyethylene (HDPE) liner, geotextile, cover material, and topsoil deployment over the south slope. Alongside land rehabilitation, progress has been made in the removal of mine structures and fixings. During 2021 process tanks at the Rain Mill 3 facility were cleaned, dismantled, and all salvageable steel was sold for recycling.

Soils around the process tanks were sampled to confirm that no contamination from process fluid was present, and all samples were found to be below regulatory limits.