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Biodiversity forms the basis of many ecosystem services.

These include the provision of fresh water and of raw materials such as food and fuel, climate regulation, soil formation, and recreational services, which keep people, and the natural environment, alive and healthy.

We recognize that our mining activities can have an impact on local biodiversity and the provision of these essential services. We see biodiversity loss as both a regulatory risk and a risk to our relationships with host communities. One of our fundamental responsibilities is to remediate, as effectively as possible, our impacts to the environment.


Throughout the mining process, we follow the guidance provided by our internal Environmental Management System and associated Standards, along with guidance provided by the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), to determine how to manage our impacts on biodiversity. We are committed to engaging with local communities, including Indigenous Peoples, regarding these impacts.

To put this into practice, Barrick has in place a Biodiversity Standard, which establishes minimum standards for the management of biodiversity at all exploration, project, operating and closure sites.

We aspire to safeguard, manage, and eventually reclaim lands, with a focus on protecting biodiversity.

We have determined that a “no net loss” approach would be difficult to demonstrate at our older, established mine sites, where original baseline data is not always available. Recognizing this limitation, the Biodiversity Standard and our management approach are focused on ways to achieve beneficial outcomes for potentially impacted key biodiversity features at new projects and major expansions of existing properties. This includes combining the elements of the Mitigation Hierarchy of avoidance, mitigation and restoration programs with biodiversity offsets and/or other conservation actions, so landscapes in the regions benefit over time from our presence. Nonetheless, all of our mines are managed with the goal of minimizing impacts on biodiversity.

Mitigation Hierarchy
Avoid: Avoid impacts on certain components of biodiversity.
Minimize: Reduce the duration, intensity and/or extent of impacts that cannot be completely avoided.
Rehabilitate/restore: Rehabilitate degraded ecosystems or restore cleared ecosystems following exposure to impacts that cannot be completely avoided and or minimized.
Offset: Compensate for any residual significant, adverse impacts that cannot be avoided, minimized, and/or rehabilitated or restored.


  • Barrick’s updated Biodiversity Standard went into force as of January 1, 2016. Though applicable to all projects, it focuses on new projects achieving beneficial outcomes1.
  • In 2016, four sites (three operating mines and one project) were considered to require biodiversity management plans due to their proximity to protected areas and the detection of threatened species2. Of these sites:
    • One site (Pueblo Viejo) and one project (Lama) have biodiversity management plans in place3;
    • Two other sites (Lumwana and Veladero) are managing and monitoring specific biodiversity features as required, as part of their environmental management plans.

In addition, most Barrick sites, regardless of their proximity to protected areas, include some level of protection and programs to monitor terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna in their environmental management plans.

  • On March 15, 2015, Barrick signed a Bank Enabling Agreement with the Department of the Interior through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to voluntarily mitigate impacts to sage grouse habitats near our mines in Nevada. All parties to the agreement agreed to use The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Forecasting Tools to build a Habitat Conservation Bank to compensate for significant residual impacts of future mining activities. Our 2016 activities were focused on developing programs within Barrick’s Mitigation Bank to preserve and restore sage grouse habitats. In addition to our commitment to restore habitats for sage grouse, Barrick established a Conservation Council of company leaders in Nevada and proudly celebrated 25 years of partnership for wildlife conservation through:
    • Partnership with wildlife conservation organizations (e.g. The Nature Conservancy’s Nevada Chapter, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited);
    • Partnership for habitat improvement field projects;
    • In-kind support of habitat improvement field projects; and
    • Volunteerism by our employees and their families on habitat improvement field projects.
  • As part of our commitment to look for opportunities to improve conservation at our sites and the landscapes in which we operate at a global level, we continue to support, both financially and through active participation, groups such as the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative, ICMM’s Biodiversity Working Group and Proteus (the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre). Each partnership and working group supports the continued growth of good practice among industry leaders and exposes us to the most current thoughts to consider as we work towards our improvement goals.

1 A new project is defined as a project which has not entered pre-feasibility as of January 1st, 2016

2 The criteria we used to establish the need for a biodiversity management plan was proximity to a protected area and the presence of more than ten IUCN threatened species as determined by high-level corporate risk assessments using tools such as the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool, rather than individual site impact analyses.

3 Biodiversity management requirements changed in late 2015 after the Pascua-Lama project was suspended.

Land Management

Land disturbance is an inevitable consequence of mining. Barrick manages and disturbs large areas of land, either owned or leased, in the countries where we operate. Our aim is to minimize our footprint, mitigate our impacts, and, once mining is finished, leave behind land that will support productive uses for future generations. Careful planning during development and operations helps to reduce the area affected by mining activities as well as the environmental effects of disturbance.

2016 land owned

Total land under lease and other lands 1,300,207.43 (97.5%)
Land disturbed 26,810.15 (2.0%)
Land reclaimed 6,066.20 (0.5%)

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An important element of our environmental management approach is the development of closure and reclamation plans as a part of initial project planning and design. These plans are routinely updated during the life of each operation to effectively address environmental impacts identify financial obligations for closure.

Where practical, we have implemented native seed collection and soil management projects even prior to mine development. Barrick has also established nurseries at a number of sites to grow local plant species for reforestation and replanting once mining is complete. During operations, whenever possible, disturbed areas are contoured and revegetated after they are no longer required for active mining.

Barrick has taken a leading role in the design and construction of evaporative covers for both waste rock dumps and tailings impoundments, and has also won industry and government awards for its reclamation activities.

We recognize that it is not usually possible to restore a mine site exactly as it was prior to mining, but it is possible to restore a healthy, thriving ecosystem, with lands that support productive post-mining land use.

207 hectares of disturbed land were reclaimed in 2016.

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Wildlife Management

We have implemented controls at our operations to safeguard wildlife from mine processes and chemical exposure. These controls include barriers such as fencing and netting, the use of “bird balls” and other covers for ponds and tanks, and cyanide destruction processes at operations where cyanide is used. Also, at many sites, we have projects specifically designed to protect key wildlife species; at others, projects are underway to enhance habitats.

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