Both local communities and our operations rely on healthy and functioning ecosystems. During every stage of the mine lifecycle, activities – such as topsoil removal, increased water use and growth in the local population – can impact biodiversity and its related ecosystem services. Maintaining our license to operate requires that we work in partnership with governments, NGOs, academia and communities and use the latest science and best practices for biodiversity management to deliver sustainable conservation outcomes.
Our commitment to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services considerations into our business to achieve no net loss of biodiversity is stated in our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy. Supporting this policy commitment and guiding our approach is our Biodiversity Management Standard, which details the minimum requirements and mechanisms for managing and mitigating biodiversity risks, achieving no net loss and providing a net gain, when possible, of key biodiversity values (KBV).
All new projects and expansions at existing sites must conduct assessments that identify potential impacts of our activities on biodiversity and ecosystems, with particular attention to biodiversity values that are key to the specific area. Based on the assessments, biodiversity action plans (BAP) are developed, and sites with KBVs must have BAPs that satisfy the Mitigation Hierarchy, which is to:
- Avoid impacts by locating facilities and access routes away from natural and critical habitats;
- Minimize impacts through the use of appropriate management systems and mine plan designs that limit land disturbance throughout the mine life;
- Restore/rehabilitate ecosystems by progressively rehabilitating affected areas during operations and at closure with a goal of eliminating the impact over time through preservation or maintenance; and
- Offset residual impacts through programs to compensate for biodiversity losses when long-term residual impacts cannot be avoided.
All operating sites must conduct biodiversity risk assessments, which will also identify any KBVs.
We use the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) – which was developed by Birdlife International, Conservation International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre – to identify legally protected and high biodiversity value areas when conducting assessments and developing BAPs.
In consultation with stakeholders, sites must develop biodiversity objectives that meet the following requirements during each mine lifecycle phase:
|Type of project||Objectives||Implementation|
Provides a crucial foundation for future site planning, should exploration projects proceed
New Projects and Expansions
Greatest opportunity to achieve no net loss to biodiversity
|No net loss of key biodiversity values or a net gain, when possible, within 10 years of mine closure.||
Opportunities will exist to achieve no additional biodiversity loss for operations
|No additional loss of key biodiversity values by the time of mine closure.||
Closure and Legacy Sites
|Seek to enhance the long-term health and resiliency of species and ecosystems in affected areas in accordance with regional conservation goals and long-term land use plans.||
We comply with all regulations and requirements for mine exploration and operations within any geographically defined areas that are designated, regulated or managed as protected areas and strive for no net loss of key biodiversity values. As a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Newmont commits to not explore or mine in world heritage sites, which are considered to be of outstanding global value.
We currently have mining operations in regions that have been identified by Conservation International as biodiversity hotspots – namely, the Tropical Andes (Peru), the Guinean Forests of West Africa (including Ghana), Southwest Australia, and Wallacea (Indonesia). Within these hotspots, limited portions of two mining operations are located in key biodiversity areas as defined by Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) and Birdlife International. These include the AZE site of El Chiche and the Important Bird Area (IBA) of Rio Cajamarca in Peru and the Tatar Sepang on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.
|Operation||Location||Key Biodiversity Area (KBA)||Position Relative to KBV||Size of Operational Site (km2)||Ecological Sensitivity||Mitigation Plan|
|Yanacocha||Peru||Rio Cajamarca IBA||Contains portions of||63||IBA and AZE site for grey-bellied comet||Frequent biological monitoring assessments; however, no assessments have identified the presence of the grey-bellied comet in 20 years|
|Batu Hijau||Sumbawa, Indonesia||Tatar Sepang IBA||Contains portions of||14||IBA for yellow-crested cockatoo and flores green-pigeon||Conservation programs with local stakeholders and monitoring the existing bird population to assess conservation status|
|Boddington||Western Australia||Birdlife International "Endemic Bird Area of Southwest Australia"||Contains portions of||92||Black cockatoo habitat||Partnership with Murdoch University to conduct research to restore black cockatoo feeding habitats at mine sites within the Jarrah forest and, more generally, in landscapes throughout southwestern Australia|
|Akyem||Ghana||Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve (not KBA but habitat for species)||Contains portions of||20||Habitat for IUCN red-listed tree species C. boxianna (endangered)||Partnered with Conservation Alliance and Forestry Research Institute of Ghana to implement critical species management program (CSMP) for C. boxianna and other nationally important species. Established nurseries to raise seedlings to plant at various locations within the mine area.|
|Merian||Suriname||Upland and lowland rainforest||Contains portions of||34||Habitat for IUCN red-listed tree species Virola surinamensis (endangered) and Vouacapoua americana (critically endangered)||Developed BAP that aims to minimize project disturbance footprint; avoid felling the tree species, where possible; conduct germination trials with the two species for reclamation; and develop a biodiversity offset to compensate for the impacts to KBVs.|
|Long Canyon||Nevada||Johnson Spring Wetland System||Contains no portions of||18||Habitat for Greater Sage- grouse, relict dace, mule deer||Developed compensatory mitigation plan for mule deer and Greater Sage-grouse. Established a technical working group to study, develop and implement a conservation management plan for relict dace.|
We also work to improve our biodiversity performance and identify leading practices that we can integrate into our management systems through ongoing participation in industry initiatives and partnerships with conservation organizations. Newmont plays a leading role on the ICMM Biodiversity Steering Committee and its development of the “Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity” document, and is a member of the Business for Social Responsibility’s (BSR) Ecosystem Services Working Group. We are also a founding member of the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI), a partnership between the mining, oil and gas and banking sectors to develop and share best practice in biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Highlights from Newmont’s biodiversity programs in 2015 include:
- The Boddington operation in Australia signed a five-year research agreement with Murdoch University, continuing to support its research on the health, demographic and ecology of the black cockatoo in Western Australia. We also implemented a Black Cockatoo Management Plan to avoid, minimize and offset potential impacts to three species of black cockatoos (Carnaby’s, Forest Red-Tailed and Baudin’s) found around our mining operation.
- At our Akyem operation in Ghana, we worked with the Ghana Forestry Commission (GFC) to identify and allocate a 243 hectare site for the second phase of a reforestation project. The commission identified a portion of the degraded Kweharu Forest Reserve for the project, and we prepared a draft reforestation plan for the commission’s review. As part of Akyem’s biodiversity offset project, we held workshops with the GFC and Conservation Alliance on site options, biodiversity goals and outcome measurement. While the workshops resulted in the identification of a potential site and a pre-feasibility study was completed, conflicting land management objectives resulted in the site being removed from further consideration as a permanent biodiversity offset.
- In Nevada, we submitted to federal land management agencies a draft conservation agreement that presents the background, basis, operating approach and other aspects of Newmont’s Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Program. Newmont hosted leadership from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada Department of Wildlife on a tour of the IL Ranch to review and discuss the plan.
- We conduct extensive monitoring of wildlife at our Long Canyon project in Nevada. In partnership with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, deer with GPS devices are tracked to continue to help inform our understanding of deer movements in the project area and the home range for the deer herd. This monitoring will continue through construction and into the operations phase of the mine. The project’s concurrent reclamation plan takes into account deer migration routes and incorporates efforts to contribute to mule deer habitat.
- At the Merian project In Suriname, work started on defining the potential key biodiversity values (KBV) to be addressed in the site’s biodiversity action plan (BAP), which was reviewed and updated in 2015, incorporating expert guidance from an independent biodiversity conservation consultant. The BAP provides strategic direction toward conserving species of concern, minimizing disturbances and improving habitat through reclamation of disturbed areas. We partnered with Conservation International to evaluate biodiversity offset options and develop a strategy to execute an agreed offset option.
The Biodiversity Guidance Working Group engaged internally and externally to develop guidance, tools and training materials that support the regions and site teams in implementing and addressing any gaps against our Biodiversity Management Standard. We held the first workshop to develop site-specific biodiversity risk assessments for operating sites at our Yanacocha operations.
In 2016, Akyem will continue work with the Ghana Forestry Commission and Conservation Alliance to re-evaluate options and select an appropriate site for the biodiversity offset project.
In Suriname, we will focus on implementing the biodiversity action plan (BAP) and defining the strategy to mitigate impacts.
Newmont will be providing leadership in biodiversity conservation in 2016 with a Company representative serving as the Chair for the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI) on behalf of the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM).
We will issue guidance documentation and hold additional workshops to develop site-specific biodiversity risk assessments in order to help sites comply with new biodiversity standards by mid-2016.