Our Commitment to Mine Closure
Our Commitment to Mine Closure
CAMPAIGN: Our Planet. Our Choices. Our Legacy.
Mines don’t last forever, so when it’s time to close a site, we work to leave behind a positive and sustainable legacy. It’s all part of the mining life cycle and our commitment to excellence in Sustainability.
At Goldcorp, we start planning for mine closure at the same time as we begin planning to build it. A thoughtful, responsible process - one that takes into account all the actual and potential social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of mine closure - is critical to the people who work at our operations and to neighboring communities. Closure has to be carefully managed to ensure that the local environment is properly rehabilitated and restored.
In 2015, we invested over US$57 million in closure and reclamation and we went a step further by creating the Reclamation Operations Business Unit (ROBU), a dedicated team of experts responsible for managing all of our closed sites and supporting operating mines in their closure planning.
The ROBU group has managed a wide-ranging set of initiatives, including the closure of our El Sauzal mine, where we recorded a major industry milestone: El Sauzal is the first decommissioned mine in the world to be certified as a “non-cyanide facility” under the International Cyanide Management Code. It seems fitting as a first - we were early adopters of the cyanide code and were also the first company in the world to have a mine certified under the code.
Last year, as part of our continuous drive for improvement and innovation, Chris Cormier, General Manager, ROBU, and his team collaborated with our Information Technology (IT) department to create a 4D System, which uses solar-powered sensors to provide real-time digital imagery to monitor the performance and structural integrity of our tailings dams. This new technology not only provides an added level of assurance for the environment, local communities and stakeholders – it also underpins our enterprise-wide Sustainability Excellence Management System, and Tailings Stewardship Strategy. Currently, the system is installed at our Equity Silver site in BC, but our goal is to apply it to more locations over time.
We know there’s more to closure than simply reducing environmental risks and mitigating long-term environmental impacts. We also want make sure we leave a long lasting and sustainable legacy for communities.
In 2009, Goldcorp acquired the Porcupine Camp property in Timmins, Ontario - the site of several historic mining operations. Unfortunately, the property had been abandoned in the 1980s and a large tailings pond had formed and affected water quality in the area. We initiated a rehabilitation project in the Hollinger Tailings Management Area to manage acidic tailings on-site and recover tailings that had migrated off-site. Three years after launch, water quality in the pond is now outperforming our initial forecasts, with the area recently opened to the public and several walking trails established on-site.
Communities expect Goldcorp to provide sustainable value beyond the life of our mines. We share those expectations and will continue to improve our processes to ensure we are amongst the industry leaders in this area.
To learn more about our strategies and approaches to mine closure, click here.