- 2014 Performance
- Future Focus
Today’s gold deposits tend to be “invisible,” or in more technical terms, disseminated submicroscopic gold. At such low concentrations, chemical extraction is the only viable method of recovering the gold from the ore, with the most effective and economical chemical being sodium cyanide. While safer than alternative chemical agents, cyanide can pose health risks to humans, animals and plant life.
Our commitment to safely and responsibly manage cyanide is stated in our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy and the minimum requirements all sites must meet are stated in our Hazardous Materials Management Standard.
All our gold processing facilities that use cyanide are required to be certified to the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC or the Code). The Code comprises nine principles intended to improve the lifecycle management of cyanide, reduce exposure of workers and surrounding communities from harmful levels of cyanide, minimize impacts to the environment, and enhance response actions to cyanide releases.
In 2005, Newmont became one of the 14 initial signatories to the Code, which provides the framework for managing cyanide at our operations. Compliance with the Code requires independent third-party verification through an audit process and recertification every three years. We also require new operations that use cyanide to process ore to conduct the initial certification audit within 12 months of commercial production. This requirement is more stringent than that of the Code, which allows new sites and facilities to achieve certification within three years. In addition, sites engage internal and external auditing teams to review Code compliance in the years between formal audit cycles.
Details of our compliance records and copies of the audit documents for each of our mines that use cyanide for processing can be found on the Code website.