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Other Environmental Impacts //

In this section, we report on other environmental impacts that remain important to us as well as the broader mining industry, even though our stakeholders did not rate these as highly significant in our latest materiality assessment.

Energy And Emissions

Energy consumption represents one of our largest operating costs, so we focus on conservation. This improves our environmental performance while saving money. Our two main uses of energy at our operations are electrical power and fuel for transport. Stationary energy is comprised of purchased electricity (all of our operations draw from state power grids), diesel for generators and natural gas for the smelting furnaces at Guanaceví.

Since 2013, we have tracked and reported GHG emissions for all our active mining properties. The Mexican Law on Climate Change, introduced in 2015, mandates mining companies to include reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of the annual environmental reporting (along with hazardous waste, spills, discharges, etc.). As of 2018, it is mandatory for organizations with emissions exceeding 25,000 tonnes of CO2e to have their previous year’s emissions independently audited by an authorized third party.

2018 Highlights

  • Experienced a 3% increase in energy consumption, from 627,595 GJ in 2017 to 646,867 last year, with a corresponding 4% increase in energy intensity. The increase is due to the new El Compas site commencing production. Although actual production was minimal, the new operation still required a fair amount of electricity (equipment needs to run the same amount of time whether production is at minimum or optimal capacity).

    Guanaceví remains our largest energy consumer, at a rate of 1 GJ per tonne processed. This site (which accounts for 48% of total company GHG emissions) purchases more power and consumes more propane, which are needed for the dry-stack tailings process, the pumping of excess groundwater, and running the employee campsite, which is heated in the winter and air conditioned in summer.

  • Saw an 18% jump in total GHG emissions, mostly due to the Mexican government changing the emissions factor used to calculate emissions (from .454 to .527, a 16% increase). The emissions factor calculation is based on energy source: if there are more renewables in the mix, the factor decreases; if there is more fossil fuel in the mix, the factor increases. We also attribute the rise in GHG emissions to the reopening of an older mine in Bolañitos (Mina Lucero) to access ore.
  • Sourced 5% of our energy from renewable sources, in line with a new Mexican requirement introduced in 2018 for all industries. We buy all our energy from the Mexican electrical utility Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE).
ES-2018-Report_GHG Emissions-01


We are committed to protecting and preserving ecosystems where we operate. At Terronera and the operating sites, we have conducted initial environmental impact assessments to identify endangered or at-risk flora or fauna, and have found no significant impacts on local biodiversity generated by our activities. While none of our sites are legally required to have biodiversity management plans, all of our operations have nurseries to grow local flora and programs in place for replanting disturbed areas.

  • One species of snake (the Cascabel) has protected status in Mexico and is present at all of our sites. We have trained our people to identify, rescue and relocate Cascabel snakes if found.
  • A species of white-tailed deer near Guanaceví, while not endangered, is protected from hunting. We have posted no-hunting signage in the area.
  • The only site with identified endangered flora and fauna species is Terronera, and we continue to collaborate with the Commission for Natural Protected Areas to minimize any potential impact.

2018 Highlights

  • Planted 53,410 trees in reforestation projects, up from nearly 44,000 trees last year, with an average survival rate of 82%. The vast majority of trees (84%) were planted around our exploration projects. The rest were planted at our operations or in the surrounding communities.
  • Encountered challenges with our reforestation program in El Cubo. Due to the rocky terrain and lack of moisture, it is difficult for trees to grow here and they require an extreme effort to keep them alive. The trees are very small and need constant watering and maintenance, which means once we eventually close operations these trees will likely die. We are investigating other types of vegetation to grow that are self-sustaining.
  • Accessed two new ore bodies in Guanaceví (Milache and Santa Cruz Sur), resulting in 2.6 hectares of newly-disturbed land within 2018. The main impact was disturbed soil from clearing activity as we created access routes to the mines.
  • Rescued four snakes at El Cubo and one at Bolañitos, as well as other types of fauna, and also relocated a bee colony.