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ENVIRONMENT

Environmental stewardship is a fundamental responsibility of any modern mining company and a critical part of our business strategy.

Regardless of the strength and rigor of the environmental management practices in place, the reality is that mining does have an impact on the natural environment. We are nevertheless committed to managing and minimizing these impacts where feasible.

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. Responsibly managing our environmental risks not only reduces risk, it also helps to deliver a sustainable legacy for the regions.

73%
Water recycled and reused

78%
Water recycled in water stressed areas

4%
Energy from renewable sources

10%
Committed to reducing GHG emissions by at least 10% by 2030

Zero
Class 1 incidents

76%
Operations certified to ISO 14001:2015 standard (13/17)

Management Approach

From exploration to closure, we are committed to implementing high standards of environmental management across all our sites. Doing so is codified in our Environmental Policy, as follows:

  • Apply a mitigation hierarchy to manage our negative environmental impacts so that we avoid this wherever possible, and minimize those impacts which cannot be avoided
  • Minimize our use of water, control our impacts on water quality, and engage with stakeholders including local communities to support sustainable management of water resources for the benefit of all local users
  • Use energy and other natural resources as efficiently as possible
  • Protect and conserve biodiversity, protect flora and fauna as far as practicably possible, and aim for zero net negative impact, particularly for sensitive or protected areas
  • Strive for the highest quality of waste management, avoid the release of substances which, by themselves or through their manufacturing process, are damaging to the environment, and encourage recycling
  • Adopt environmentally friendly products, processes and technologies as they become available and economically viable

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. We conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) during the feasibility stage of any project to help us identify and understand the environmental baseline conditions in the project area and any potential impacts and risks. As part of this process an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) is developed. The ESMP outlines the mitigation measures to be implemented during each phase of a project throughout the Life of Mine. Should a project move to construction and operational phases, we use the ESIA and the ESMP to inform the development of a site-specific Environmental Management System (EMS). Through the EMS, we then identify and implement the controls appropriate to the risks present.

Each site’s EMS is reviewed annually, and the site General Manager and Environmental Managers are responsible for the implementation and execution of the EMS. Further guidance is provided by regional and executive level leads.

We have a target for the EMS at all our mines to be certified to ISO 14001:2015 standard by the end of 2020. During 2019, our Lumwana mine in Zambia received its first ever certification. All our operations except for the Jabal Sayid mine in Saudi Arabia and the three former Acacia mines Buzwagi, Bulyanhulu and North Mara in Tanzania (76% of our mine sites) are certified to ISO 14001:2015. Those that are outstanding are making good progress towards certification and are on target to be certified by the end of 2020.

ENVIRONMENTAL INCIDENTS

One of the 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 that occurs on a 1 to 3 scale based on severity of impact.

To encourage our workforce to carefully consider the potential impact of any incident, rather than inflexible categories, our classification system has a degree of discretion and calls for common sense to be applied rather than be limited by an inflexible system. All incident classifications are reviewed by regional environmental leads and the Group Sustainability Executive to maintain consistency of classification. Our target is for zero Class One – High Significance Incidents each year.

Our incident classification guidelines are:

Class One – High Significance — We consider an incident to be Class One if it:

  • Causes significant negative impacts on human health or the environment
  • Extends onto public land and could potentially cause significant impact to nearby communities, livestock, or wildlife
  • Results in a breach of our license conditions or laws and standards
  • Results in a release of cyanide to any surface water that will leave site boundaries or any groundwater

Class Two – Medium Significance — We consider an incident to be Class Two if it:

  • Could be reasonably anticipated to result in only local or short-term environmental or community impact requiring minor remediation
  • Has the potential to breach license conditions (or convention conditions and law) or prescribed and regulatory thresholds but does not require immediate regulatory notification

Class Three – Low Significance — We consider an incident to be Class Three if it:

  • Has minimal on-site impacts that do not adversely affect human health or the environment
  • Does not require immediate reporting and will be dealt with by existing Standard Operating Procedures

Should an incident occur, we are determined to learn from it and reduce the chance of recurrence. We investigate incidents to gain a clear understanding of what happened and identify the root cause. When the root cause is identified, a corrective action plan (CAP) is compiled. The CAP sets out any additional checks or controls needed.
 

A street clean-up in Cotui, Dominican Republic, arranged by the local municipality in which Barrick not only lent a
helping hand but donated gloves, masks and refuse bags.

A street clean-up in Cotui, Dominican Republic, arranged by the local municipality in which Barrick not only lent a helping hand but donated gloves, masks and refuse bags.

 

Performance

We had zero Class 1 and 13 Class 2 environmental incidents during 2019. Most of our environmental incidents were minor spills within mine boundaries. During 2019, we reviewed and reclassified our 2018 environmental incidents against our new classification system. Understanding the type and frequency of environmental incidents, particularly minor incidents, helps us to identify problems with controls, practices, or training and thereby acts as an early warning system for us to intervene before a more significant incident occurs.
 

An employee checks the quality of a water source near the Veladero mine in Argentina. Environmental monitoring of water
sources is performed daily.

An employee checks the quality of a water source near the Veladero mine in Argentina. Environmental monitoring of water sources is performed daily.

Safe Cyanide and Mercury Management

Mercury occurs naturally in the ore at some of our operations and can be mobilized during processing, while cyanide is a key input in processing operations. Both mercury and cyanide can cause significant environmental harm if spilled, and exposure can seriously damage human health and even be fatal.

Mercury

Mercury is naturally present in the ore at many of our sites in Nevada and Latin America. We follow a risk-based approach to the management of hazardous chemicals and reagents, in accordance with each site’s EMS as well as the Health & Safety Management System. The EMS is aligned with the ICMM position statement on Mercury Risk Management, and mercury condensation and safe storage form part of onsite safe practices. We use a range of controls during processing and disposal to help us safely manage risks including retorts, scrubbers, condensation towers and activated carbon filters which trap mercury vapor before it can be discharged to the atmosphere. In accordance with the law, we dispose of captured mercury compounds at licensed hazardous waste facilities. We have strict handling, packaging, and procedures in place during transportation to protect people and the environment.

The captured mercury from our South and Latin American sites is transported to Switzerland, where it is converted to cinnabar, a stable mercury sulfide, and packed into steel drums for permanent safe storage in a decommissioned area of a former salt mine in Germany. In 2019 we safely transported and stored 184 tonnes of mercury in Germany. In Nevada, we store most of captured elemental mercury on site, the remainder is transported offsite for storage.
 

Safe storage of mercury.

Safe storage of mercury.

Cyanide

As a signatory to the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC) and member of the International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI) we follow prescribed best practices for cyanide transportation, storage, use and disposal. We regularly audit ourselves against the ICMC and monitor local waterbodies and discharge for traces of cyanide. We also track all environmental and health incidents linked to cyanide.

We have a target for all our sites to be ICMC certified by the end of 2020, and in 2019 we began to work toward ICMC certification for our Loulo-Gounkoto, Tongon and Kibali mines. During Q4 of 2019, our Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex conducted a gap assessment against ICMC requirements. The audit found a few minor non-conformities and a corrective action plan has been developed to close out these gaps. The mine is on track to be certified to ICMC by the end of Q3 of 2020. All employees and contractors who handle, transport, and dispose of cyanide are provided with specialized safe handling training. Onsite emergency response teams also receive specialized training and equipment so any incidents can be quickly and safely cleaned up. We require all our cyanide suppliers and transporters to be ICMC certified.

We had no significant cyanide-related incidents in 2019.

MERCURY DISPOSAL

Strict handling, packaging and transportation procedures are in place to help protect both people and the environment against mercury exposure during shipping. In 2019, we made our first shipment of stabilized elemental mercury for underground disposal in inactive salt mines in Germany. On its way to Germany, it was converted into cinnabar and packed into steel drums in Switzerland.

Strict handling, packaging and transportation procedures are in place to help protect both people and the environment against mercury exposure during shipping. In 2019, we made our first shipment of stabilized elemental mercury for underground disposal in inactive salt mines in Germany. On its way to Germany, it was converted into cinnabar and packed into steel drums in Switzerland.

WATER MANAGEMENT

Water is a vital and increasingly scarce global resource. UN SDG Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation asks countries and companies alike to improve the management, protection and restoration of the world’s freshwater ecosystems. Managing and using water responsibly is one of the most critical parts of our sustainability strategy.

Steady, reliable and secure access to water is crucial to the effective operation of our mines. It is also a fundamental human right. Reducing the volume of freshwater we use, and protecting water quality reduces our environmental footprint and helps us maintain community and stakeholder support.

Management Approach

Our aim is 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, which compels us to minimize our use of water, control and manage our impacts on water quality, and engage with stakeholders including local communities to maintain sustainable management of water resources for the benefit of all local users.

We have operations on four continents and across a range of climates, which means the actions taken on the ground to meet this commitment vary from mine to mine. Each mine has its own site-specific water management plan, which considers: the different water sources available, the local climate conditions, the needs of local users and the needs of the mine. This information is supplemented by a range of international frameworks and tools such as the WWF Water Risk Filter to evaluate water risks.
 

The provision of potable water to a community surrounding the Pueblo Viejo Mine in the Dominican Republic.

The provision of potable water to a community surrounding the Pueblo Viejo Mine in the Dominican Republic.

 

We include each mine’s water risks in its operational risk register. These risks are then rolled up and incorporated into the corporate 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
  • Regulatory risks related to permitting limits as well as municipal and national regulations for water use

In regions identified as water scarce or vulnerable to water stress, 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 and to recycle and reuse as much water from our processes as possible. At our Jabal Sayid mine in Saudi Arabia for example, municipal wastewater is used in our processes and the only freshwater used is for drinking and sanitation.

In regions with heavy rainfall such as the Eastern DRC or the Dominican Republic where our Kibali and Pueblo Viejo mines are respectively located, the sheer volume of water entering the mine site from rain and runoff means that we face different water management challenges. These mines 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) must be treated before it is discharged back into the environment and meet the required discharge standards. At these sites it is difficult to achieve high water recycling rates given the high volumes of precipitation.

Transparent Reporting and Participatory Monitoring Builds Trust

Being open and honest with our stakeholders about our performance is at the heart of our approach to sustainability. We report to internationally recognized bodies and frameworks such as CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) and GRI. However, we do not stop there. We also want to make sure our host communities understand the impact of our operations on their environment. To facilitate this, at several of our mines including Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic and Porgera in Papua New Guinea, we regularly provide mine tours and run participatory monitoring sessions for the community on water quality, noise levels, and air emissions. At the Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex in Mali, the Malian National Laboratory of Water independently tests rivers and water sources and the results are presented and discussed with the local community in a town hall style forum. These sessions help local communities to understand the impact of the mine on the environment and helps build the trust critical to our social license to operate.

To facilitate this, at several of our mines including Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic and Porgera in Papua New Guinea, we regularly provide mine tours and run participatory monitoring sessions for the community on water quality, noise levels, and air emissions. At the Loulo-Gounkoto mining complex in Mali, the Malian National Laboratory of Water independently tests rivers and water sources and the results are presented and discussed with the local community in a town hall style forum.
 

A participatory water monitoring session at Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic.

A participatory water monitoring session at Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic.

Harnessing the Power of Rain for Local Communities

In the Porgera valley in Papua New Guinea, there is no government or municipal water supply for local communities. Naturally high sediment loads mean that river water is not a significant source of drinking water for local communities. Instead, rainwater is the main community water source.

Since 2011, Porgera has worked to harness high rainfalls to provide a reliable supplementary water source for local communities. The project builds water tanks fed by water collected from the roofs of nearby houses at central, and easily accessible sites throughout the valley. The tanks are fitted with taps and local people are trained in how to maintain the tanks and manage hygiene at the collection and distribution points.

In 2019, 44 new tanks were installed in local villages and a further seven tanks installed at schools within the mining lease. Since 2011, a total of 151 water tanks have been installed in communities across the Special Mining Lease. The program will be continued in 2020.
 

In Papua New Guinea, water tanks erected by Barrick provide
reliable water sources for Porgera’s communities.

In Papua New Guinea, water tanks erected by Barrick provide reliable water sources for Porgera’s communities.

Adopting a New Water Accounting Framework Helps Drive Efficiency

During 2019, following the merger with Randgold we worked to update and align water monitoring and reporting across our expanded company with the requirements of the ICMM Water Accounting Framework. The framework is considered industry leading practice and represents a significant evolution in water reporting standards for the mining industry. The framework sets out consistent, comparable metrics for monitoring and comparing water use across a number of operations. It also helped us to set a clear water use baseline.

Using the framework has helped us standardize our water balances and to better understand water to task across all parts of the mine. Using the framework has also helped us to identify where efficiency gains can be made. For example at the Loulo-Gounkoto complex we have been able to improve our reuse of water from the TSF, which reduces the amount of fresh water we need to abstract. These improvements helped us to achieve a group wide water recycling and reuse rate of 73% in 2019.

Water Management Performance

The water data we track 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 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 as it helps us to understand all the water that goes into and out of our sites. Ultimately this enables us to identify ways we can withdraw less from external sources.

In 2019, our total water consumption was 144,302ML, approximately 0.0010ML per tonne of ore processed. Our main consumptive water use is evaporation, which accounts for 59% of total consumption and most of the remainder of the water we consume is entrained in our TSFs.

Our total water withdrawal in 2019 was 181,517ML or approximately 0.0012ML per tonne of ore processed. Most of the water we withdraw was from rivers and streams (40%) as well as precipitation and runoff (36%). We also drew down significant volumes of water stored on our TSFs in 2019. 92% of the water we withdrew was from high-quality1 sources.

In 2019, we discharged 74,693ML, 90% 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, Kibali in the DRC, and the Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea.

During 2019 we exceeded our water recycling target of 70%, and our rate of water recycling and reuse for the year was 73%. In water stressed areas our water recycling and reuse rate was 78%. Our water recycling and reuse target for 2020 is 75%.

At a group level 59% of the water we discharge is high-quality water suitable for agricultural or potable use. Of the low-quality1 water we discharge, the vast majority is from the Porgera Joint Venture where riverine tailings deposition is permitted by the PNG government.

  1. Definitions of High quality and Low quality are based on ICMM Water reporting guidance definitions. These definitions are abridged here. High quality water typically has high socio-environmental value with multiple beneficial uses both internal and external to the catchment. Examples include; water supply (drinking, agriculture, food production and industry). Low quality water may typically have lower socio-environmental value as the poorer quality may restrict potential suitability for use by a wide range of other users. However, lower quality water may often be used by the mining and metals industry, where available and appropriate, to help meet the consumptive water demand and reduce use of high-quality water. Full definitions are available at https://www. icmm.com/website/publications/pdfs/water/water-reporting_en.pdf

RESPONSIBLE TAILINGS MANAGEMENT & DAM SAFETY
 

Gold mining and its associated processes, such as extraction, processing, and refining create significant waste including tailings, waste rock, and non-processing waste.

Making sure the waste we generate is dealt with in a responsible manner is critical to the health of local environments, local communities and our business. Further to this, reducing mine waste and increasing recycling throughout the mine lifecycle helps to lower risk, drive down costs, and reflects our commitment to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Downloads (PDF)

Tailings are a common waste product generated by the mining process and is 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 Storage Facility (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.

Barrick currently manages 70 TSFs, of which 22 (31%) are operating, 47 (67%) are closed, and one is inactive. A riverine tailings disposal system is operated at the Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea.

The tragic tailings dam collapse at Brumadinho in Brazil in January 2019 was a stark reminder to the mining industry of the catastrophic consequences should a tailings dam fail. At Barrick, we are committed to ensuring our tailings facilities meet global best practices for safety. Our TSFs are carefully engineered and regularly inspected, particularly those in regions with high rainfall and seismic activity.
 

The Tailings Storage Facility at Goldstrike in Nevada, USA.

The Tailings Storage Facility at Goldstrike in Nevada, USA.

Management Approach

Our approach to tailings management is set out in our Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard and complies with the recently updated ICMM guidelines. The standard puts safety at the center of tailings management and sets out how we manage our TSFs and heap leaches from location and design through to operation and closure. It also sets out 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, our Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard stipulates that the technical specifications will meet all national requirements and follow international best practice including World Bank Standards, Canadian Dam Association Safety guidelines and the Mining Association of Canada’s Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities.

Award-Winning Reclamation at Giant Nickel

In late 2018, we received the Jake McDonald Annual Reclamation Award from the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation for improvements we made to a reclaimed tailings facility at the Giant Nickel mine near Hope, British Columbia, Canada.

When we acquired Giant Nickel in 2001, it was in passive closure and required limited monitoring and maintenance. In 2015, we undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the TSFs to determine if they met our internal standards as well as modern geotechnical and environmental requirements. The results of the assessment led us to undertake major reclamation works to improve the geotechnical stability, water management and environmental outcomes of the facilities. This included:

  • Construction of a diversion channel
  • Buttressing the existing Upper TSF embankments
  • Establishment of an underdrain system to drain the Upper TSF embankments
  • Geochemical characterization of the tailings
  • Shaping and revegetating all disturbance areas and planting approximately 4,000 trees in 2019

The project also provided training and employment opportunities for local Indigenous Community members and was completed in collaboration with local recreation groups who had been using the area. As part of the project, funding was provided to the Fraser Valley Dirt Rider’s Association to allow them to finish the grading, shaping and revegetation of a new camp site.
 

The award-winning reclaimed tailings facility at the Giant Nickel mine in Canada.

The award-winning reclaimed tailings facility at the Giant Nickel mine in Canada.

Six Levels of Surety for Tailings Management

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 leaches, these are:
 

Monitoring technology

Our operating sites employ monitoring systems such as vibrating wire piezometers, inclinometers, drone surveys, satellite surveys and imagery, static prisms for movement detection, drainage monitoring, and other technologies to monitor TSF’s abutments, natural slopes and water levels.

Routine inspection

Conducted by suitably qualified and experienced operation site personnel, in compliance with Operation, Maintenance and Surveillance (OMS) Manual requirements. Intended to ensure that the TSF is operating within prescribed parameters.

EoR / Dam safety inspection

Conducted by the Engineer of Record (EoR) responsible for the design of the current TSF phase, or by a suitably qualified and experienced geotechnical engineer outside of Barrick with a comprehensive understanding of the current TSF phase. Intended to verify that the existing anticipated TSF conditions follow design intent and that sitespecific performance objectives are being met.

Dam safety review

Conducted by a suitably qualified and experienced geotechnical engineer outside of Barrick who is neither the EoR nor a representative of the TSF operation or closure design consulting firm and who has a comprehensive understanding of the current TSF phase. Intended to provide a detailed, independent assessment of the safety and operational stewardship of the TSF.

Assurance audit

Conducted by our internal corporate technical specialists. Expected audit frequency of one to three years, based in part on compliance level and previous findings. Intended to ensure that the existing or anticipated TSF conditions and management procedures comply with Barrick’s corporate Tailings Management Standard.

Independent Tailings Review Committee

Conducted by one or more qualified and internationally recognized experts outside of Barrick and not involved with preparation of the TSF design. Intended to provide an expert, independent opinion as to whether or not the TSF design and current and/or anticipated performance demonstrated an acceptable level of care, from geotechnical, hydrotechnical and environmental perspectives and with reference to acceptable international practice.

Making the North Mara TSF Operational Again

When we took operational control of the North Mara mine in September 2019, the TSF had been shut down by the Tanzanian government and the National Environment Management Council (NEMC). This was due to concerns that the water from the TSF was seeping into local ground water. We also found that the TSF was holding significantly more water than it was designed for.

Given our commitment to tailings management and dam safety, fixing this facility became a top priority at North Mara post-acquisition.

Since then our team has worked hard to address NEMC’s concerns regarding seepage, and to reduce the amount of water reporting to the TSF. This has included commissioning several studies such as detailed groundwater research to understand the extent and impact of seepage, structural analysis and a hydrocensus of local community boreholes. The hydrocensus included water level and quality sampling from 15 boreholes in the community around the mine during November 2019. The water quality results showed:

  • No parameters exceeded the Tanzanian water quality standards, which means the water is clean and without mine impacts
  • There are fluctuations in the ground water levels in the mine boreholes due to dewatering from the pits and recharge around the TSF. But water levels in the community boreholes are within 10 metres of ground surface

Ongoing monitoring will be undertaken, and we are completing a numerical model to determine potential impacts on water level to the communities.

We have also developed both short and long-term plans to reduce the amount of water stored on the TSF. Some of the water reduction strategies we have identified for the short term include:

  • The use of more evaporators on the TSF to increase evaporation
  • Increased use of TSF water in the process
  • Increasing the water treatment capacity on site through the commissioning of additional water treatment plants

Over the long term, we are also investigating the potential for in-pit deposition of tailings. This will reduce the need to build a second TSF at North Mara, an option that would have potentially created a further water management liability to the environment and communities.

We have also developed a water management action plan. This includes daily monitoring, emergency action plans, reviewing the water balance to improve water use efficiencies and reducing the amount of water unnecessarily going to the TSF.

NEMC checked the advances made and lifted restrictions on the TSF in September 2019, and North Mara has resumed operations. We are continuing to work with the NEMC to assure them that the TSF will be managed to the highest standards.
 

The Tailings Storage Facility at North Mara. Tanzanian authorities lifted environmental restrictions, allowing the mine to operate again, thanks to
the remedies Barrick implemented and are continuing to implement.

The Tailings Storage Facility at North Mara. Tanzanian authorities lifted environmental restrictions, allowing the mine to operate again, thanks to the remedies Barrick implemented and are continuing to implement.

Riverine Tailings

The Porgera Joint Venture in Papua New Guinea uses a riverine placement to manage tailings and erodible waste rock. That means rather than constructing large dams to store material, tailings are instead treated and the tailings and erodible waste rock are then gradually discharged. This is not our generally preferred method of tailings and erodible rock management. However, in the Porgera context, where the risk of catastrophic failure of a tailings impoundment or dam are unacceptably high due to geological and climatic factors, riverine placement has proved on balance to be the lowest risk option.

The process is subject to stringent management practices, certified to the International Cyanide Management Code and ISO 14001, and the interactions with the receiving environment are closely and continually monitored and publicly reported with independent oversight from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency.

Treatment and reducing the volume of waste material entering the river: Prior to discharge, tailings undergo a two-stage treatment process to comply with stringent discharge criteria. This includes a series of chemical processes that destroy cyanide and a multi-step neutralization process to raise the pH level of the water. We have also built a tailings paste plant so that some of the tailings material can be used to produce cemented fill to backfill the underground workings. This has helped to reduce the amount of tailings material entering the river by approximately 13% since 2011. Further to this there are ongoing studies to further increase the use of tailings as a paste in the underground workings. We are also investigating ways to reduce both the visual impact and the volume of sediment associated with riverine tailings deposition by:

  • Removing the oxidized iron content which causes the red colour in the river
  • Desliming the flotation tails
  • Blending the coarser tailings for use in the underground paste or co-disposal with the competent waste

Extensive monitoring and voluntary public reporting: Porgera’s environmental permit requires extensive river monitoring and strict compliance with discharge and monitoring requirements. Porgera works closely with the CSIRO to monitor impacts on the river system downstream from the mine. Monitoring is undertaken in the upland river, lowland river and Lake Murray ecosystems and includes the following:

  • Metals in water
  • Metals in sediments
  • Metals in fish and prawn
  • Fish, prawn and invertebrate abundance, diversity and condition

Porgera’s collaboration with CSIRO on independent monitoring programs and reporting dates back to 1996, exceeds levels required under permit and continues on an annual basis to determine the impact of discharges on the aquatic environment. The environmental monitoring program is participatory in nature and involves engagement and participation with the communities and local, provincial and national governments. The results of the monitoring program show that PJV complies with the environmental permits issued by the PNG government, and that overall the condition of the environment is consistent with predictions made prior to operations commencing in 1990.

In line with our commitment to transparency, we fully disclose all monitoring results each year in the Porgera Annual Environmental Report, which is available on the PJV website.
 

Barrick conducts regular water monitoring along
the Porgera and Lagaip Rivers, which extends far
further downstream than what is required in terms
of its mining permit.

Barrick conducts regular water monitoring along the Porgera and Lagaip Rivers, which extends far further downstream than what is required in terms of its mining permit.

Tailings Management Performance

During 2019, we assessed the technical specifications of all our TSFs (operating, closed and inactive) against our Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard. Based on the findings, we generated a prioritized list of actions to reduce the risks at our tailings facilities to the lowest possible level. These actions ranged from adding a buttress to a wall at the Giant Nickel closure site to conducting site investigations and installing vibrating wire piezometers at Loulo-Gounkoto, Pueblo Viejo and Nickel Plate.

As planned, during 2019 we undertook independent third-party reviews of the TSFs at our Goldstrike, Cortez, and Pueblo Viejo operations. In 2020, independent reviews will be conducted at our Pueblo Viejo, Turquoise Ridge, Phoenix, Carlin, Hemlo, Loulo-Gounkoto and Tongon mines, and at the Giant Nickel and Nickel Plate closure sites.

We are open and transparent about our tailings management and you can find a full list of our TSFs and their technical specifications in the tailings section of our website and as an appendix to this report. We continuously monitor our TSFs (closed and operating) and Heap Leach Facilities against an evolving regulatory framework and we are committed to compliance with the new or enhanced standards that maybe introduced.

Waste Data

Waste Data

 

In Nevada, USA, an independent review and update of the Phoenix mine closure plan will be completed in 2020.

In Nevada, USA, an independent review and update of the Phoenix mine closure plan will be completed in 2020.

NON-PROCESSING WASTE

While waste from the mining process represents our most significant waste stream, we also create a relatively small quantity of non-processing waste each year. These include batteries, fluorescent lights, waste oils, solvents, electronic waste, and laboratory assay wastes.

In line with expectations set out in our Environmental Policy, we aim to minimize the amount of waste we produce, and we apply the ‘avoid, reduce, re-use, and recycle’ hierarchy to our non-mine waste. Tracking and reporting on these waste streams helps us to compare performance across our sites and to identify opportunities for improvement. Based on this benchmarking, we are bringing some of the lessons learnt in the Africa Middle East (AME) region to North America to improve recycling rates. This includes exploring opportunities to use community-based commercial enterprise that can also create economic opportunities. For example, at our Loulo-Gounkoto complex in Mali, local youth cooperatives GIE Kenieba and GIE DK have contracts to collect and recycle scrap metals. One of our ambitions for 2020 is to help establish a recycling business near the Nevada Gold Mines operations, and we have sponsored a study with the University of Las Vegas – Reno to help us better understand the regional constraints and opportunities for waste recycling.

Total Waste by Type 1

Total Waste by Type

  1. Legacy Barrick sites did not gather non-processing waste data at a group level prior to 2019, therefore historic data for waste by type is not available.

 

At Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali, waste plastics are smelted into bricks for use in paving.

At Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali, waste plastics are smelted into bricks for use in paving.

Reducing Single-Use Plastics at Kibali

Plastic waste is a problem for many of our mines and in our local communities, where plastic bottles and packaging make up a significant proportion of the general waste stream. This is a particular problem in sub-Saharan Africa where there are no plastic recycling facilities and much of the continent’s plastic waste is sent to landfill. At the same time, limited access to potable water means that single use plastic water bottles are the main source of drinking water on site.

Our Kibali mine, for example, uses on average 1,600 half-litre water bottles each day. Not only must these bottles be disposed of, but the cost of supplying bottled drinking water to our workforce is approximately $45,000 each month.

To reduce the number of plastic bottles used at Kibali during 2020, we are planning to construct an onsite water treatment and purification plant, which would allow us to provide safe drinking water onsite. Once high-quality potable water is available across the site, all workers will be provided with long-life multi-use drink bottles, which they can fill up from a series of water fountains across the mine and the use of plastic water bottles will be banned.

Our initial analysis shows that this initiative could reduce the plastic waste generated at Kibali by as much as 80%, while the cost savings from the reduction in bottled water used will mean the water treatment plant is expected to have a payback period of just a few years.
 

In an endeavour to reduce the number of plastic bottles used at Kibali in the DRC during 2020, plans are being made to
construct an onsite water treatment and purification plant, whic h would allow us to provide safe drinking water onsite.

In an endeavour to reduce the number of plastic bottles used at Kibali in the DRC during 2020, plans are being made to construct an onsite water treatment and purification plant, whic h would allow us to provide safe drinking water onsite.

By taking a long-term strategic view of climate change, Barrick will be better positioned to identify risks, reduce costs, and find opportunities from the global shift toward a lower-carbon economy.

 
— John Steele, Metallurgy, Engineering and Capital Projects Executive

CLIMATE CHANGE

Mining is energy-intensive and energy is a significant cost to our business. Continuing to improve the efficiency of our operations, reduce energy use and associated costs and lower our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are key drivers for business success.

We recognize that climate change, including shifts in temperature, precipitation and more frequent severe weather events, could affect the mining industry in a range of possible ways. Volatile climatic conditions can affect the stability and effectiveness of infrastructure and equipment; potentially impact environmental protection and site closure practices; lead to changes in the regulatory environment, including increased carbon tax regimes; and potentially impact the stability and cost of water and energy supplies. We therefore view climate change as a company, community and global concern.

Management Approach

In 2019, following the merger with Randgold and the formation of Nevada Gold Mines, we reviewed and updated the climate change strategy developed in 2017. Our climate change strategy has three pillars:

  • Identify, understand and mitigate the risks associated with climate change
  • Measure and reduce our impacts on climate change
  • Improve our disclosure on climate change
     

At our closure sites, wildlife is abundant.

At our closure sites, wildlife is abundant.

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, or 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 increased global investment in innovation and low carbon technologies.

The Board’s Corporate Governance & Nominating Committee, which meets quarterly, is responsible for overseeing Barrick’s policies, programs, and performance relating to the environment, including climate change. At management level, the E&S Committee reviews performance and progress in addressing climate change across our sites. The Audit & Risk Committee assisted the Board in overseeing the company’s management of enterprise risks as well as the implementation of policies and standards for monitoring and mitigating such risks. Climate change is built into our formal risk management process, outputs of which were reviewed by the Audit & Risk Committee throughout 2019. In addition, the Audit & Risk Committee reviewed the company’s approach to climate change in the context of Barrick’s public disclosure.

Responding to Climate Change

2019 was a year of significant growth and change at Barrick. We completed the merger with Randgold Resources, entered into a joint venture with Newmont Corporation to form Nevada Gold Mines and acquired operational control of the Acacia assets. This means our business has a significantly different operating and emissions profile than it did in 2018. Nonetheless, we continue to contribute to the carbon reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change, and strive to meet the commitments required under the Paris agreement. Our work in 2019 focused on updating our strategy and approach for our expanded group. This includes:

  • Updating our emissions baseline to include our new assets: We know that you cannot manage what you do not measure, so to help us understand the emissions footprint of our significantly expanded business we calculated a new emissions baseline. We did this by using the data our legacy companies submitted to CDP for 2018. For the full year of 2018, the operations we now control emitted 7.5Mt of CO2-e.
  • Setting a target informed by climate science: Once we had determined our new emissions baseline, we worked to identify what a true science-based target would be. We then calculated our expected emissions against several production scenarios and using different types of emission reduction technologies. Based on these calculations, the company has updated its GHG emissions reduction target to achieve reductions of at least 10% by 2030 (against the 2018 baseline that combines both legacy Barrick and Randgold data, as well as data from our newly acquired assets) while maintaining a steady ounce production profile. The steps we will take to achieve this target include increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources in the company’s energy mix and switching to cleaner energy sources. We continue to work to identify new opportunities for further reductions and will regularly review and update our target to integrate and reflect opportunities identified and realized. For example, new solar projects are currently under consideration in Nevada and in the Dominican Republic.
  • Continued disclosure on our climate change impacts: One of our first activities in 2019, following the merger with Randgold, was to complete the CDP emissions questionnaire which makes investor-relevant climate data widely available. Our 2019 CDP Climate score was B-. We continue to align our disclosures with the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and in 2020 will work to incorporate scenario analysis into our disclosure.

Identified Pathways to Achieve Emissions Reduction Target

To drive action on the ground, our mines have a site-specific energy plan in place tailored to its need and location. Some of the ways we support climate action include:

  • Use of technology: We are introducing batteries at our Kibali mine to help with grid stabilization and meet spinning reserve needs. We estimate this will reduce Kibali’s annual diesel consumption by more than 4.5ML and save approximately $5 million in fuel costs each year. We also use motion sensors in the underground mines at our Loulo-Gounkoto and Kibali mines. These sensors shut off the lighting and ventilation systems in unoccupied parts of the mine, which saves energy and reduces costs. Additionally, we use waste heat recovery systems to achieve high efficiencies from the natural gas fired generators in Nevada and at Pueblo Viejo’s off-site Quisqueya power plant.
  • Use of renewable energy sources: We are introducing solar power to the microgrid at our Loulo- Gounkoto mine in Mali to reduce dependency on diesel and heavy fuel oil generators. We estimate this will help reduce our diesel consumption by 10ML a year, delivering both valuable cost savings and avoiding 42kT in CO2-e emissions per year. The first phase of this project came online at the end of Q1 2020. We have also built three hydropower stations to provide power to our Kibali mine in the DRC. These stations provide the mine with a cleaner, steady, and secure supply of electricity, which was previously met by diesel generators. Approximately 70% of Kibali’s electricity needs are now met by hydropower. We estimate that the addition of batteries for grid stabilization at Kibali will mean that 80% of the mine’s electricity needs will be met by hydropower. In Nevada, we are currently reviewing the potential for a 200MW solar facility with battery storage.
  • Use of cleaner energy sources: During 2019, we converted the Quisqueya power plant, which provides energy to our Pueblo Viejo mine, from heavy fuel oil to cleaner burning natural gas. Quisqueya is one of our largest sources of emissions, and we estimate that changing the station to natural gas will reduce emissions by 260kT CO2-e per year. At our Tongon mine in Côte d’Ivoire, we built a transmission line linking the mine to the national grid to enable us to stabilize and increase the amount of power we draw from the Ivorian national grid. This helps to reduce our reliance on onsite diesel generators, which reduces costs and emissions as the Ivorian national grid has a large hydropower component. In Nevada, we plan to start work on converting our TS Coal Power Plant to a dual fuel process, which will allow it to generate power from natural gas. Our calculations show that this could reduce the facility’s carbon emissions by as much as 50%. At Veladero in Argentina we are advancing with a power transmission project to connect the mine to clean grid power and realize an emissions reduction of nearly 100kT CO2-e per year.
     

The Quisqueya power plant at Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic, has been converted from burning heavy fuel oil to
natural gas, which is much cleaner.

The Quisqueya power plant at Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic, has been converted from burning heavy fuel oil to natural gas, which is much cleaner.

Our clean energy strategy not only achieves cost and efficiency benefits but also reduces our environmental footprint.

 
— Mark Bristow, President and CEO

Our Energy Performance

We track our energy data to understand our total energy consumption, and the source. The bulk of the energy we consume is from thermal generators burning diesel and heavy fuel oil. This is one of our most significant operational costs, and a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside this, we track our carbon footprint in terms of our total scope one (direct) and scope two (indirect) emissions. By understanding our energy mix and our carbon emissions, we can understand the contribution and value of our clean energy initiatives such as the hydropower stations in Kibali, both in terms of cost savings and emissions avoided.

In 2019, our total energy consumption was 82,318,000 GJ which is a 30% increase from 2018. This rise in energy use is due to the increased number of mines in our portfolio, particularly our Nevada Gold Mines joint venture with Newmont. In 2019, 81% of the energy was from non-renewable fuel use and a further 15% was from non-renewable electricity use. Proportionally, this is similar to 2018.

Our total emissions in 2019 were 6,654kT of CO2-e, which is a 23% increase on our reported total emissions in 2018. It is important to note that the emissions reported for 2019 include the assets we acquired during the year in Nevada and Tanzania from the dates that we took operational control. Our reported 2019 emissions are thus not directly comparable to our 2018 baseline. As detailed on page 87, in order to calculate our reduction target, we included the emissions of these newly acquired assets for the full 2018 year.

Approximately 88% of our emissions are scope one emissions, which are direct emissions such as from the burning of fuel at our own power plants. We expect reported emissions in 2020 to be higher than 2019 reported emissions as emissions from Nevada Gold Mines and the Tanzanian operations will be reported for the full year for the first time.
 

Energy Consumption GJ (000)

Energy Consumption GJ (000)

Scope 1 and 2 Emissions Tonnes - CO2-E1

Scope 1 and 2 Emissions Tonnes - CO2-E

  1. Scope 2 emissions for 2018 are reported based on market-based calculations. In the 2018 sustainability report, Scope 2 emissions were reported based on the location-based calculation methodology. Note emissions for 2019 include emissions from the assets we acquired in Nevada and Tanzania from when we took operational control (July and October respectively).

BIODIVERSITY

Our aim is to play a positive role in the management of the biodiversity in the areas in which we operate.

Biodiversity underpins many of the ecosystem services our mines and their surrounding communities depend on. This includes the provision of fresh water and raw materials such as food and fuel, climate regulation, soil formation and the recreational services that keep people, and the natural environment, alive and healthy.

However, if improperly managed, mining, refining 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. Such risks could affect our social license to operate as well as our reputation.

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 operate in declared natural World Heritage Sites
  • Apply the mitigation hierarchy to manage and offset our biodiversity impacts
  • 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
     

Mitigation Heirarchy Applied to Biodiversity

Mitigation Heirarchy Applied to Biodiversity

Protecting Geckos in the Dominican Republic

In 2018, while monitoring caves in an area to be mined for limestone within the mine boundary at our Pueblo Viejo mine (PVDC) in the Dominican Republic, a small species of diurnal gecko closely resembling Sphaerodactylus samanensis, a species that lives in karstic caves and listed as Critically Endangered by the Dominican Red List and by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), was observed.

In response to this discovery, PVDC commissioned extensive fieldwork and studies to confirm the identification of the species and to map its distribution in a large area around the mine along karstic formations. The gecko’s range had previously been thought to be confined to a very limited locality outside of the mine, in the Los Haitises National Park.

To minimize impacts to the gecko population and while fieldwork and additional scientific studies were underway, PVDC deferred the mining of a portion of the limestone quarries to act as a refuge for the geckos for a period of three years. At the same time, geckos within the immediate disturbance footprint were relocated to a nearby karst habitat. Trials to recreate karst habitat were also conducted to understand if the species could colonise new habitats, which was successful.

In addition to the field campaigns, genetic and morphological studies were conducted and this enabled us to conclude that the geckos found on site, initially thought to be a sub species of the S. Samanensis, was in fact the same species - Sphaerodactylus samanensis.

The fieldwork showed 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.
 


The extensive fieldwork conducted around the vicinity of Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic, determined that
the distribution range of Sphaerodactylus samanensis is much larger than previously documented.

The extensive fieldwork conducted around the vicinity of Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic, determined that the distribution range of Sphaerodactylus samanensis is much larger than previously documented.

Parks and Partnerships

In the US, sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea, we partner with NGOs, conservation groups, local authorities and communities to deliver positive biodiversity impacts in these regions. This map sets out some of those initiatives.
 

Parks and Partnerships

Implementing Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs)

To help us fulfil these commitments, each of our operational mines will develop and implement a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) by the end of 2021. During 2019, we developed BAPs at the Lumwana, Pueblo Viejo, Cortez and Carlin mines (including Goldstrike) as priority sites.

BAPs detail the flora, fauna and habitats on and around the site and set out the strategy we will follow to restore the site ecosystem to as close as possible to its original state. They identify areas around the mine that could benefit from conservation support and existing conservation areas that require additional support and resources to achieve a net neutral impact. They also specify the resources required to put the plan into action and identify key institutional and local community partnerships that will aid the implementation and review of the plan.

As part of our approach to biodiversity, we emphasize concurrent rehabilitation and work to keep the overall footprint of our mines to a minimum. We work to restore and rehabilitate areas of the mine as we go, by returning topsoil and planting native and endemic trees.

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

Performance

At the end of 2019, the total amount of land disturbed but not yet rehabilitated at our mine sites was more than 56,000 hectares. A big focus during the year was to increase our rates of concurrent rehabilitation. During 2019, all sites developed detailed and quantifiable concurrent rehabilitation plans. Throughout the year we rehabilitated 761 hectares of land, with native plants grown in onsite nurseries.

This activity included 23 hectares at the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, where we use coconut fiber matting to help revegetate the soil. The mats are 100% organic and hand made by a co-operative of local women. In 2019, we bought more than 10km of coconut matting from the cooperative.

Performance
 

Vicunas, Chile. Barrick funds conservation initiatives in many of the countries it operates in.

Vicunas, Chile. Barrick funds conservation initiatives in many of the countries it operates in.

CLOSURE

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

Management Approach

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

  • Leave all sites with land that supports a productive post-mining use
  • Revegetate disturbed areas with indigenous species
  • Transfer any infrastructure that can be meaningfully used to local communities

To deliver on these commitments, we establish closure plans for all our mines, before construction begins. These plans set out 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 to make sure all closure obligations are met. During 2019, we updated our closure standard to make it fit for purpose for our expanded company and incorporate our experience from recent closures to help us better plan for the future.

Early Engagement Helps Long-Term Planning at Golden Sunlight

Our Golden Sunlight mine in Montana went into progressive care and maintenance during November 2019. We are currently reviewing a proposal to reprocess the tailings at Golden Sunlight, which would add at least 10 years of additional operational life to the mine. However, that has not stopped the communities near Golden Sunlight from preparing for closure. In fact, they have been preparing for it almost as long as we have. In 2000 the local communities established the Closure Transition Advisory Committee (CTAC) so that they would be well prepared for the closure of the mine. Golden Sunlight has been an active member of CTAC with members of mine management attending meetings. With closure looming throughout 2019, our teams worked closely with CTAC and the local community to update the closure plan and identified options to help support the community through the transition. These include a progressive decrease in social investment in the area over a set period of time, the creation of a conservation easement over some non-mining land owned by Golden Sunlight to help the community develop ecotourism, or the sale, transfer or lease of the industrial park to the community.

Golden Sunlight in Montana, USA, has been placed in care and maintenance and Barrick is looking to
reprocess its tailings, which could extend its life by another 10 years. However reclamation on site has not
stopped and we are ramping up the reclamation of the mine.

Golden Sunlight in Montana, USA, has been placed in care and maintenance and Barrick is looking to reprocess its tailings, which could extend its life by another 10 years. However reclamation on site has not stopped and we are ramping up the reclamation of the mine.

Growing an Agribusiness Legacy at Morila

Morila is due to formally cease operational life in 2020 and the mine was placed in care and maintenance in 2019. With the exception of a few small satellite pits, Morila has been a tailings reprocessing operation since 2014. At the same time as operations have been winding down, we have ramped up our community investment efforts and worked to transform Morila’s infrastructure into an agricultural processing centre to help deliver food security to the region and provide valuable non-mining income. Morila is now home to poultry projects, fishponds, beehives and mango plantations.

In 2019, the Morila agribusiness produced: 6,444,565 eggs, 44 tonnes of chicken, 10.7 tonnes of fish, and generated revenue of more than $770,000.
 

Beekeeping businesses have been established at Morila, Mali, to ensure economic opportunities after the mine closes.

Beekeeping businesses have been established at Morila, Mali, to ensure economic opportunities after the mine closes.

Converting Morila’s infrastructure into a base for an agri-industrial zone will not only develop an alternative economy in the region, but will also create a centre of excellence for agriculture in Mali.

 
— Mark Bristow, President and CEO

A CLOSURE PLAN IMPLEMENTED FROM DAY 1 OF MINING

A closure site at Eskay Creek in British Columbia,
Canada. Barrick makes closure plans for all
its mines before construction even begins
because when it is done well, mine closure
can leave a lasting, positive and sustainable
legacy for communities.

A closure site at Eskay Creek in British Columbia, Canada. Barrick makes closure plans for all its mines before construction even begins because when it is done well, mine closure can leave a lasting, positive and sustainable legacy for communities.