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World Water Day

World Water Day 2022

Water is a critical component in mining and it’s also an essential but scarce resource in many parts of the world.

At Barrick, we strive to use only what we need and minimize our impact on other water uses. We also work closely with our host countries and communities to ensure transparency and always look for opportunities to improve access to water.

Here’s what we are doing this year for #WorldWaterDay.

Water management

Water resources are managed differently depending on the geographic and climatic conditions of the area where each mine is located. Before construction, each mine conducts an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment which determines the existing water quality, with specific focus on the hydrogeology in the area and the potential impacts of a future mine on the area’s water resources.

As a member of ICMM, we fulfil our requirement to use the Water Accounting Framework to manage our water balance and disclose water use on an annual basis of which the abstraction and use of Groundwater is an important aspect. This information is supplemented by a range of international frameworks and tools such as the WWF Water Risk Filter to evaluate water risks.

Water monitoring programmes and participatory monitoring

We conduct regular water monitoring of our mine wells and community boreholes at all of our operations across the globe. The data collection of the groundwater monitoring is captured in our monthly Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) data sheets and the environmental teams report on the trends. We use the World Health Organization and applicable national limits for drinking water standards to benchmark against for our community water monitoring data.

At several of our global operations we regularly provide mine tours and run participatory monitoring sessions for the community on water quality, particularly the boreholes in the communities. This is to ensure that our host communities understand what we are doing to make sure we are responsible stewards of the environment.

Pueblo Viejo

At our Pueblo Viejo gold mine in the Dominican Republic, we have a robust monitoring water monitoring program, which includes an extensive network of more than 100 monitoring wells to ensure compliance with in-country and international standards. These results are reported every six months to the Ministry of Environment. In addition, the Environment team leads a participatory water monitoring process with community members to jointly review the existing quality of water of the community water resources.

Mali

At our Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex in Mali, the Malian National Laboratory of Water independently tests water sources including groundwater, and the results are presented and discussed with the local community in a town hall style forum. These sessions help local communities to understand our programmes at the mine and helps build the trust critical to our social license to operate.

North Mara

When Barrick assumed operational control of North Mara gold mine in Tanzania in September 2019, we engaged with the authorities to develop solutions to address NEMC’s some associated with community borehole water quality (not sure if this is worded correctly). The first steps taken included conducting a hydro-census of 15 community boreholes around the mine. Results from these studies showed that water quality met Tanzanian water quality standards and water levels at community boreholes are within 10 metres of surface and accessible to communities.

Rights to access to clean and safe drinking water and sanitation

At Barrick the steady, reliable, and secure access to water is crucial to the effective operation of our mines. Access to clean and safe drinking water and sanitation is also a fundamental human right of our neighboring communities and stakeholders.

The access to clean water is one of Barrick’s five key development themes for projects and investment. Ensuring access to Groundwater for our communities is a sustainable solution.

Barrick’s Environmental Policy commits to minimize our use of water, control and manage our impacts on water quality and engage with stakeholders including local communities to ensure sustainable management of water resources for the benefit of all local users.

Barrick recognizes that water is a vital resource shared with the communities in which we operate. We work hard to effectively manage our water use, and have also identified access to water as one of the filters for our community investments. 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. 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 and access to groundwater for our communities is key to this initiative.

DRC

Since construction started at our Kibali Gold Mine in the DRC, 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.

Due to the rapidly growing population in the towns around Kibali Gold Mine in the DRC, in 2017, Kibali management entered into an agreement with the local Community Development Committee 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 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.

Geohydrological studies and knowledge

As soon as we start planning for the development of a mine, we consider the potential environmental impacts it may have – a process that continues throughout its operational life. A comprehensive understanding of the geohydrology and groundwater of the area is at the heart of this.

Before we complete any construction, we conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) during the feasibility stage of any project. We develop a comprehensive baseline of groundwater quality and quantity and generate detailed geohydrological models to help us identify and understand the environmental baseline conditions in the project area and any potential impacts and risks.

Constantly improving our Knowledge of Geohydrology – Carlin

Nevada Gold Mines in Nevada, USA created a regional groundwater-flow model of the Carlin-Trend basins during 2021 that will supersede two legacy models of these basins. NGM utilized over 30 years of measured, actual conditions to support the confidence in the predictive capability of the model.

The regional groundwater-flow model assists NGM in managing the dewatering activities at the Gold Quarry, Leeville, and Goldstrike mines and, in conjunction with field monitoring activities of nearby seeps, springs, and streams, ensures that impacts to riparian areas and aquatic life do not occur beyond what was analyzed in the Environmental Impact Studies.