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Mine Closure Planning //

Why It Matters

Our Mexican host communities have a vested interest in how we plan for mine closure and reclamation. Every mine has a finite life, so managing the effective closure of our mines is an integral part of our business responsibility. Leaving local lands in a state similar to or better than when we started mining is not just important to local people and governments; it’s essential to our long-term viability and reputation as a sustainability-focused mining company.

Management Approach

We aim to leave a positive legacy that will benefit our local communities after mining activities have ceased. For us that means considering the entire life cycle of the mines we operate. The major activities surrounding closure are land reclamation and rehabilitation, the decommissioning of buildings and mine facilities, and ongoing care and maintenance.

Environmental aspects

At each site, we have an environmental mine closure plan that outlines how the affected lands will be rehabilitated and the costs associated with doing so. The plans were developed using guidance from the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines and adhere to applicable Mexican environmental laws, including the requirement that tailings ponds be monitored for a certain period of time after closure to ensure they are stable and there is minimal risk of a tailings spill.

Forward thinking

Our approach is to reclaim disturbed land wherever possible while mining operations are under way, and well before closure; essentially, as soon as an area is no longer in use. All of our environmental mine closure plans are updated as needed to account for changes in the scope and footprint of our operations and adjust for anticipated costs for remediation or reclamation.

Social and economic aspects

In addition to considering the environmental aspects associated with future closures, we are also sensitive to the social and economic impacts and are working to ensure our approach embodies these aspects as well.

Our Performance In 2017

We continued to expand our approach to closure planning, with a focus last year on helping people improve their future employability so they can find other work options upon mine closure. Employability is one of the new strategic funding priorities of our Community Investment Policy.

In this regard, we began shifting a larger percentage of our community investments to support people in gaining transferable or transportable skills.

Examples from 2017 included workshops for community members devoted to new career skills in cooking and hairstyling. In addition, our employees (who are largely community members) are increasing their knowledge in mining and safety and we are working to make sure this is recognized as formal education so that they have better possibilities of finding jobs somewhere else when our operations close.

2018 Priorities

  • Update our Environmental Mine Closure Plan and add a formal social component to it.

Our environmental standard is to reclaim disturbed land wherever possible while mining operations are under way