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Our sites use a wide range of materials—including explosives, processing reagents, and fuels—in their day-to-day operations. If not properly managed, these materials can pose a risk to the environment and the health of our people and local communities.

We work to manage chemicals and materials at our operations in a safe and responsible manner. We are guided in our approach by the Standards included in our Environmental Management System and Safety and Health Management System. As part of the management systems, we regularly assess and rank risks, including those posed by the use of hazardous materials, and then institute controls to manage those risks.

The use of sodium cyanide, explosives, other chemicals or reagents, and fuels at our mining operations is monitored based on national regulations and global best practices, including the International Cyanide Management Code.
As of 2017, all Barrick-mine sites that use sodium cyanide are Cyanide Code certified.

Cyanide

Cyanide and an oxidant (such as oxygen) in solution are generally required to dissolve gold from ore. After 100 years of use and research, cyanide remains the predominant means by which gold is extracted from ore. Cyanide is a hazardous substance that can be harmful to people and animals above certain levels.

Cyanide Use

Sodium cyanide is used at six of our owned or operated gold mining operations. ? The remaining two operations do not use cyanide: one does not process ore and the other is a copper mine. Of the joint-venture (JV) operations in which Barrick has a significant stake but does not operate, Porgera, Veladero, and KCGM are Cyanide Code certified; the Jabal Sayid and Zaldivar JVs are copper mines and do not use cyanide. At each of our operations, we have rigorous procedures in place for the safe transport, storage, handling, and disposal of cyanide.

Cyanide UseTonnes

The Cyanide Code, developed by the International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI), of which Barrick is a member, provides best practices for transporting, storing, using, and disposing of cyanide. Developed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Cyanide Code is the product of multi-stakeholder input and is supported by environmental advocacy groups around the world.  The ICMI monitors adherence to the Cyanide Code through independent third-party audits. Sites are required to re-certify compliance with the Cyanide Code every three years. Audit documents and other information on Barrick’s compliance with the Cyanide Code is available on ICMI’s website.

Consumable Materials

We use consumables and reagents in the extraction of gold and copper from the ores we mine. Key consumables include fuels, explosives, sodium cyanide, nitric and sulfuric acids, sodium hydroxide, and lime. The vast majority of our key process chemicals are consumed in our mining and processing applications; therefore, we buy them new and are not able to recycle them. Our Environmental Management System and environmental, health, and safety regulations require that we have controls in place to manage these materials responsibly throughout the mining process and from “cradle to grave,” which includes transportation, storage, usage, and final disposal if needed. 

Explosives

In any construction or mining activity, explosives are used to break rock. Safety procedures and controls are in place at our operations related to storage, transportation, handling, and use of explosive materials such as ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) and emulsions.

Electricity

Barrick’s operations consume and/or generate energy in the form of electricity. Most of our electricity is purchased from utilities or other generators, or from regional and national grids. Some mines, such as the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, generate their own electricity; one facility, the Western 102 Power Plant in Nevada, generates additional electricity to supplement the power available on the grid. We are engaged in ongoing programs to optimize energy efficiency and are committed to increasing our use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy generation, where practical.

Generating Electricity

Some mines, such as the Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic, generate their own electricity and one facility, the Western 102 Power Plant in Nevada, generates additional electricity to supplement the power available on the grid.

 

Fuels

We use a variety of different fuels at our operations around the world, including diesel, gasoline, propane, natural gas, and fuel oil. We have measures in place to prevent fuel spills and to contain spills in the event one occurs, in order to protect people and the environment. These measures include designing and constructing appropriate storage and piping, the use of multiple levels of spill containment, appropriate training of our people and contractors, and routine inspection and monitoring of storage facilities. Preventive maintenance programs for vehicle fleets and stationary power equipment also reduce the risk of spills. As a result, spills and leaks are detected quickly, the fuels are most often captured within containment, and long-term environmental impacts are prevented or mitigated.

Transportation, Recycling & Reuse

Materials are transported to and from our mines typically by contractors. Our Supplier Code of Ethics requires suppliers to mitigate the risk for environmental and safety and health impacts. Transporters must have emergency procedures in place to anticipate, assess, and respond to emergency situations in order to minimize any environmental impacts and protect people.

The Company’s focus on materials conservation has led to the establishment of recycling and reuse programs at our operations. A variety of materials are recycled, depending on the recycling facilities available near each location, and can include scrap metals, used oil, batteries, tires, antifreeze, wooden pallets, drums, paper products, plastic, and glass. Re-use programs, such as tire re-treading and burning used oil for energy, are in place at several operations. Our business is resource extraction and does not involve manufacturing. Therefore, we do not have the opportunity to use materials that are wastes from external sources to create our products.