With operations around the world, we must work within a wide range of laws and with a multitude of regulators. Our exploration, development, mining and process operations are subject to extensive laws and regulations governing worker health and safety, land use and the environmental protections. Ensuring compliance in this increasingly complex regulatory environment is crucial to securing our license to operate and protecting our reputation.
Our commitment to conduct business in a manner that adheres to all applicable laws and regulations is stated in our Code of Conduct and supported by our policies and standards.
We also participate in key voluntary compliance and reporting programs – such as disclosing our greenhouse gas emissions to the CDP and reporting our human rights performance in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework – to demonstrate our commitment to transparency and good governance.
All the sites we manage are required to certify their environmental management systems to the internationally accepted ISO 14001 standard. We also conduct third-party certification to ensure compliance with the International Cyanide Management Code (the "Code"), which is designed to improve cyanide management practices in the gold mining industry. We require new operations to achieve ISO 14001 certification and Code compliance within three years and 12 months, respectively, of reaching commercial production. Existing sites must maintain ISO 14001 certification and conduct an independent Code recertification process every three years.
To lower the risk of regulatory non-compliance and minimize and manage other risks present in our business, we are refreshing our program to conduct comprehensive internal audits against our safety, security, social and environmental standards. We are also in the process of combining our health and safety, environmental, security, and social responsibility management systems into one Integrated Management System (IMS). Along with promoting consistency, simplifying administration and improving performance, a key IMS goal is to obtain a company-wide ISO 14001 certification by 2018.
In addition to internal efforts to verify performance, each regulatory regime in which we operate closely monitors our activities. All sites are inspected at least annually and often more frequently by various government agencies at the local, regional and national level that review our operational, health and safety, security, environmental and social performance.
Our mines in the United States are subject to regulation by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). MSHA personnel inspect our mines on a regular basis, and they issue citations and orders when they believe a violation of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Act or any health or safety standard or regulation has occurred. These citations and orders describe the alleged violation, establish a time frame for abating the alleged violation, and may result in fines, penalties or sanctions, or temporary or extended closures at our mining operations.
When we are out of compliance or when an event occurs, we are committed to transparently disclose and report such events and fully mitigate any impacts.
Fines and sanctions
In 2016, we hosted 95 inspections by various agencies that oversee enforcement of environmental regulations. During the year, we received no sanctions; however, we incurred the following six fines:
- In April 2016, the Minerals Commission of Ghana fined Newmont $1.2 million for allegedly engaging three foreign nationals to work on Newmont’s behalf without obtaining the appropriate permits through the established processes. The fine was settled after several deliberations with key stakeholders. To mitigate any potential future allegations of breach, Newmont has been proactively engaging with the Minerals Commission to clearly define requirements for all foreign personnel on site, particularly for contractors and consultants. In addition, the region has established rigorous internal processes to manage, track and report on all foreign nationals visiting or performing work on site.
- Our Yanacocha operation in Peru received a $3,300 fine related to the Peruvian government's audit of a mandatory employee benefit funding requirement.
- The Cripple Creek & Victor (CC&V) operation in the United States received three fines:
- A fine of $1,000 for improperly managing process solution at one of its leaching tanks, resulting in what appeared to be spilled solution outside of the secondary containment structure;
- A Notice of Violation and a fine of $1,000 for a land disturbance outside of its approved permitted area, which was self-reported to regulators; and
- A fine of $27,343, primarily related to safety-related fines from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
- Our Phoenix and Carlin operations in Nevada were fined $476,371, primarily related to safety-related fines from MSHA.
Detailed information about the citations and orders issued to Newmont in 2016 by MSHA – including those issued in connection with the Silverstar pit failure at Carlin that resulted in a temporary shutdown – is disclosed in our 2016 10-K report under Exhibit 95.
We track events using a global database and rate the environmental, social, safety, health, security, financial, operational and legal impacts of events on a severity scale of zero to five. Level 0 events are near misses that did not result in injury or damage but had the potential to do so. Level 1 and 2 events have relatively minor impacts, and Level 3 to 5 events result in more significant impacts.
In 2016, we experienced six Level 3 and no Level 4 or 5 events with environmental impacts.
A truck carrying explosives that was parked in a safe explosives containment area, per procedure, caught fire due to a malfunction of its electrical system. A small quantity of hydrocarbons was released in the containment area.
|North America||Twin Creeks||
Approximately 4,500 gallons of untreated water overflowed from a storage tank.
56 gallons of sulfuric acid were spilled when a passing vehicle damaged a hose during construction activity.
Approximately 4,000 gallons of very low concentration (0.0015 ppm) cyanide solution from the Pinion Tailing Facility was accidentally discharged outside of containment due to the failure of a corroded steel pipe.
A leak in a sulfuric acid tank was discovered. The 3,500 gallons of acid were removed from both the tank and the secondary containment.
400 gallons of lube oil spilled during a fill operation.
All Level 3 environmental events described above were contained within the property boundary and immediately cleaned up with no lasting environmental impact.
Certifications and audits
Our compliance with the International Cyanide Management Code (the Code) is discussed in the Cyanide Management section of this report.
All sites maintained their certification as ISO 14001 compliant, with the exception of the two sites – Merian in Suriname and Long Canyon in Nevada – that entered commercial production in late 2016. During the year, our Akyem operation in Ghana received its initial ISO 14001 certification following a third-party certification audit process.
A key element in the implementation of our Integrated Management System (IMS) is achieving global ISO 14001 certification by the end of 2018. In 2016, we selected a leading global provider of accredited management systems certifications as our certification registrar. During the year, sites with ISO 14001 certification from another registrar underwent a certificate transfer audit process that included a review of their management and reporting systems, previous audit records and reports.
Each year, we complete an independent assurance process to verify compliance with the World Gold Council’s Conflict-Free Gold Standard. In June 2016, we published our annual Conflict-Free Gold Report, which concluded that Newmont does not operate mines in areas classified by the Heidelberg Conflict Barometer as “conflict-affected or high-risk” and is in conformance with the criteria established by the WGC’s Conflict-Free Gold Standard.
We conducted a pilot of our refreshed internal audit program to refine procedures and identify training needs and guidance materials needed to support the full implementation of the program, which is planned for 2017.
|Total environmental releases on site||68||70||84||43||77|
|Total environmental releases off site||1||1||0||0||0|
|Total environmental releases||69||71||84||43||77|
Significant hydrocarbon releases
Significant chemical releases
Other significant releases
|Mercury release (kg)||0||0||0||0.01||1.7|
|Significant hydrocarbon releases (kL)||3||1||42||2||1.5|
|Significant chemical releases (kL)||44||723||40||0||0|
|Other significant releases (kL)||310||0||5||0||30.5|
Note: All cyanide releases in 2016 were on site, contained within the site boundaries and remediated according to applicable regulations.
We will continue to maintain ISO 14001 certification at all operating sites and work toward certification of the two sites – Merian in Suriname and Long Canyon in Nevada – that achieved commercial production in late 2016.
As we implement our Integrated Management System (IMS), we will refresh all relevant management standards and develop supporting guidance documents. Upon full implementation of the IMS, which is planned for 2018, we will apply for a company-wide ISO 14001:2015 certification, which is the latest update to the ISO 14001 standard. The global certification aims to improve the consistency of Newmont’s core management processes across regions, provide governance to drive performance and improvements, improve risk management practices, and streamline reporting across the business.