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World Environment Day

World Environment Day 2021

This year’s theme, “Restoring Ecosystems”, aims to highlight the importance of preventing and reversing the degradation of ecosystems and the diversity of life.

At Barrick, preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity is a fundamental part of our environmental management and embedded throughout the mine life cycle.

Planning mines with closure in mind

Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story.

At Barrick, we believe future generations will judge us not by our short-term profitability, but by the legacy we leave behind after mining is completed.

That is why we plan and operate our mines with closure in mind, and a fundamental component of this is concurrent rehabilitation of operations.

All Barrick operations have annual targets for concurrent rehabilitation, and during 2020 we restored and rehabilitated almost 1,300 hectares of land with native plants grown in onsite nurseries.

Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story.
Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story.

Greater Sage-Grouse habitat restoration and preservation

Across much of Nevada, Greater Sage-Grouse habitat is in decline due to fire, invasive plant species, and human impacts.

Since 2017, Barrick has worked to mitigate the impacts of mining on the sagebrush ecosystem through habitat preservation and restoration programs.

In 2020, we implemented nearly 4,450 hectares of habitat rehabilitation treatments, and since 2017 we have treated more than 11,300 hectares — helping to preserve habitat for this important species.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and the Humboldt Ranch

In Northern Elko County, Barrick works with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to improve the habitat of the threatened Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.

During 2020 we helped to help remove non-native Rainbow Trout, which can breed and hybridize with Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, from the Willow Creek Reservoir. This received high praise from both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and has further strengthened our partnership with these agencies.

Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story.
Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story.

Restoring and protecting wetlands in the High Andes

Shallow water bodies and wetlands known as ‘Vegas’ in the High Andes, Argentina, are critical to local ecosystem services.

The vegas support a range of species such as the Andean cat, Vicunas and migratory and endemic birds. Since the early 2000s, the Veladero mine has supported projects to build knowledge about Vegas management and to help restore and protect more than 20 hectares of these important habitats.

Protecting Geckos in the Dominican Republic

In 2018, at our Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, we noted a small species of gecko closely resembling Sphaerodactylus samanensis.

This species is listed as Critically Endangered by the Dominican Red List and by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

To minimize impacts to the gecko population and while additional scientific studies were underway, we deferred the mining of a portion of the limestone quarries to act as a refuge for the geckos for a period of three years. Extensive fieldwork and studies undertaken by Barrick has shown that the size of the population and the extent of its habitat were greater than previously understood and would no longer trigger the designation of critically endangered under IUCN criteria.

The information collected in the fieldwork has been shared with the IUCN to be used for both the review of the conservation category of the gecko and also, for future scientific research on this endemic species.

Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story.
Every mine will eventually close, but that should not be the end of the story.

Cleaning up the Margajita River

When we took operational control of our Pueblo Viejo mine in 2012, the local Margajita River was commonly known by locals as the Coca-Cola river due to its dark colour — a result of acid rock drainage from the mine.

Since then we have worked diligently to restore the river in the Dominican Republic by investing in a state-of-the-art onsite water treatment plant, and making sure all water discharged from the mine meets international standards.

As a result of these efforts, the river has returned to its natural state, and many fish species have returned after an absence of many years.

Partnering to protect conservation in Papua New Guinea

Since 2005, we have partnered with American anthropologist Dr William H Thomas and local landowners near our Porgera mine in Papua New Guinea to establish two protected areas within the Central Highlands region.

The Headwaters of the Strickland and the Kaijende Highlands have both been identified as global significant and conservation priorities for Papua New Guinea.

We have also sponsored biodiversity surveys in these regions and these identified over 75 plant and animal species new to science.