Towards Sustainable Mining Biodiversity Conservation Management
Advancing Sustainable Development Goals When following the Biodiversity Conservation Management Protocol, mining companies work to advance the Sustainable Development Goals . • Conducting comprehensive environmental impact assessments to preserve the benefits that healthy ecosystems provide humans • Taking action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats and halt the loss of biodiversity, including through collaboration on research initiatives • Working with communities and organizations at all levels to integrate biodiversity into local planning and development processes Case Study: Soil Regeneration through Ultra High-Density Grazing Highlights Synergy Between Environmental Stewardship and Innovation When it comes to environmental reclamation, topsoil; a key material needed in order to reclaim barren industrial sites is always scarce and often expensive to purchase. Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos team rose to this challenge and over the last year has shown what is possible when it comes to effective environmental and sustainable practices in the mining sector, with their state-of-the-art soil regeneration initiative through Ultra High-Density Grazing, an initiative that was awarded the TSM Environmental Excellence Award in 2020. This agricultural technique consists of herding cattle at regular intervals in a specific grazing pattern along with special livestock feed that improves the cow’s digestion. As the cow leaves its dung and saliva on the ground, it transfers nutrients and microorganisms into the soil - improving soil health and eliminating the need to use topsoil for environmental reclamation while optimizing productive activities for people in the community. Now, after more than a year of utilizing this method, the pastures are literally greener - with a return of fauna, improved soil quality and density of flora. Case Study: Syncrude Canada Ltd.’s Leadership in Reclamation Syncrude Canada Ltd. operates a large oil sands mining operation in the boreal forest of Northern Alberta where fen wetlands are common and can take thousands of years to establish. This type of peat-forming, groundwater-fed wetland became Syncrude’s source of inspiration to return a previous mining area back to a state similar to what would have been found prior to disturbance. Transforming an area of a mined-out pit tailings structure into a thriving wetland. The Sandhill Fen Research Watershed Initiative has developed 52 hectares of sand- capped soft tailings on a portion of what was once a 60-metre deep mine. More than 28 kinds of wetland plants were introduced, and vegetation was selected to mirror those in naturally-occurring fens in the area. The project is still young, but results show it is possible to transplant live peat from a natural environment and grow it in a newly-constructed area. A number of native plants have now taken seed and are growing on their own.