Our ability to access land increasingly depends on effectively managing the impacts of our activities on species, ecosystems and other land uses. Through partnerships with governments, NGOs, academia and communities, we aim to build long-term biodiversity management strategies that deliver sustainable conservation outcomes.
Our Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Policy includes a stated goal of no net loss of key biodiversity values (KBVs) in our areas of influence. As a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), we also commit to the organization’s Mining and Protected Areas position statement in which we agree to respect legally designated protected areas and to not explore or mine in world heritage sites. Supporting these commitments is our Biodiversity Management Standard, which details our approach to managing and mitigating biodiversity risks throughout the entire mine lifecycle.
All operating sites must conduct biodiversity risk assessments, engage stakeholders on biodiversity issues and mitigation plans, and identify KBVs. New projects or expansions at existing sites must also conduct biodiversity and ecosystem impact assessments. Sites with KBVs specific to the area must develop biodiversity action plans (BAPs) that satisfy the Mitigation Hierarchy, which is a widely accepted approach for biodiversity conservation:
- 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.
To identify legally protected and high biodiversity value areas that may exist near our areas of interest, we use recognized national and global biodiversity datasets, such as the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (iBAT), which was developed through a partnership of leading conservation organizations including Birdlife International, Conservation International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
In consultation with stakeholders, sites develop the following biodiversity objectives for each stage of the mine lifecycle:
- Exploration – Develop a high-level understanding of KBVs via desktop assessments, using – at a minimum – the iBAT, input from experts, and on-the-ground assessments before any ground-disturbing exploration activities to ensure no net loss of KBVs
- Greenfield Projects and Expansions – Ensure no net loss of KBVs during project development by providing a detailed understanding of these values, potential impacts and mitigation actions for project design, including early implementation of offset or conservation bank projects
- Operational Sites – Achieve no additional loss of KBVs by mine closure through assessment of biodiversity values and risks and implementing mitigations against potential for additional loss, and complete assessments at all operations to evaluate biodiversity risks and opportunities
- Closure and Legacy Sites – 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 by assessing performance and, if required, additional measures
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) and Southwest Australia. Within these hotspots, limited portions of one operation – Yanacocha in Peru – are located in a key biodiversity area as defined by Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) and Birdlife International. However, the mine site is located at an elevation above the bird’s habitat.
|Operation||Key biodiversity area (KBA)||Position relative to KBA||Size of operational site (km2)||Ecological sensitivity||Partners/collaborators||Mitigation plan|
|Yanacocha in Peru||Rio Cajamarca IBA||Contains portions of KBA||37||Rainforest habitat for IBA, and AZE site for grey-bellied comet
Habitat for Pristimantis simonsii (critically endangered)
|Cayetano Heredia University
The National Agrarian University
|Implemented a rescue and relocation program for the Paramo Andes frog (Pristimantis simonsii), a critically endangered frog species. Under the program, individuals are collected, quarantined, treated and then released into proper locations. An offset is under discussion for restoring land that will satisfy the habitats of the frogs along with a local education program on burning of vegetation that impacts the frog’s habitat in neighboring communities.|
|Boddington in Western Australia||Birdlife International “Endemic Bird Area of Southwest Australia”||Contains portions of KBA||92||Woodland and shrubland habitat for black cockatoo; Calyptorhynchus latirostris (endangered), Calyptorhynchus baudinii (endangered) and Bettongia penicillata (critically endangered)||Murdoch University||Working with Murdoch University on research to restore black cockatoo feeding habitats at mine sites within the Jarrah forest and, more generally, in landscapes throughout southwestern Australia.|
|Akyem in Ghana||Ajenua Bepo Forest Reserve (not KBA but habitat for species)||Contains portions of KBA||20||Forest reserve for IUCN red-listed tree species C. boxiana (endangered) and Necrosyrtes monachus (critically endangered)||Conservation Alliance
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana
|Partnering with Conservation Alliance and Forestry Research Institute of Ghana to implement critical species management program (CSMP) for Cola boxiana and other nationally important species. Established nurseries to raise seedlings to plant at various locations within the mine area.|
|Merian in Suriname||Upland and lowland rainforest||Contains portions of KBA||14||Rainforest habitat for IUCN red-listed tree species Virola surinamensis (endangered) and Vouacapoua americana (critically endangered)||Collaboration with global expert and working on partnership with Missouri Botanical Gardens and University||
|Nevada mining and rangeland operations||Sagebrush habitat||Contains portions of KBA||Varies*||Upland and riparian habitat for greater sage-grouse (endangered) and other sagebrush obligate species such as mule deer (least concern) and Cutthroat Trout (not a listed species)||Among the many partners:
||Continuation of the successful Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Program – a landscape-level, multi-species conservation effort – that includes planning, monitoring, adaptive management, rangeland research, partnerships and conservation credits. This historic private-public partnership sets forth an approach to conservation of Newmont’s owned and managed rangelands to conserve biological diversity and offset mineral exploration and mine-related impacts. A fire rehabilitation program – which includes pre-emergent herbicide applications, seeding and partnerships with local agencies – was implemented for rangelands affected by the 2017 wildfire season.|
* In Nevada, the operational size in relation to KBAs varies due to the fact that in addition to mining operations, Newmont’s rangeland operations manage 750,000 acres of private land and 1.5 million acres of grazing allotments on public lands in Nevada.
Partnerships with universities and research organizations, as well as NGOs, governments, communities and other businesses, are key to improving our biodiversity performance and identifying opportunities – such as our Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Program – to increase the scale of biodiversity conservation efforts.
We play a leading role on the ICMM Biodiversity Steering Committee and are a member of the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Ecosystem Services Working Group. We are also an active member of the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI), a unique collaboration among the mining, oil and gas, and banking sectors to develop and share best practice in biodiversity and ecosystem services.
We expanded our approach to conducting assessments of KBVs in the exploration phase and completed assessments at all our new projects – Ahafo North in Ghana, Tanami expansions in Australia, Quecher Main in Peru and Sabajo in Suriname. We also updated our Exploration Guidebook to align with our Biodiversity Management Standard.
Regional highlights included:
- We partnered with the NGO, Flora and Fauna International, on a pilot study at Ahafo North to better understand how and what benefits the communities are receiving from natural stocks (biodiversity). The findings from the study will be incorporated into the project’s environmental impact statement (EIS).
- Our Akyem operation completed the second phase of its reforestation program, which began in 2016 and involves reclaiming 257 degraded hectares in the Kweikaru Forest Reserve. In combination with the 60 hectares included in phase one, site preparation and planting of both indigenous and exotic timber plant species have been completed on more than 300 hectares. The reforestation program covers an area three times the size of the area impacted by the Akyem mine.
- We continued to engage with the Ghana Forestry Commission (GFC) to select a site for Akyem’s biodiversity offset program. An action plan was developed in consultation with Conservation Alliance and the GFC to guide the site selection process. The GFC proposed the Attewa Forest Range as the biodiversity offset site, and we submitted our acceptance of this site with a recommendation to implement the program in phases.
- Our Boddington operation continued to support the Murdoch University-led Black Cockatoo Ecology Project to protect the endangered black cockatoo population of Western Australia. This groundbreaking study uses state-of-the-art tracking technology that provides insight into threats to the species. Insights from the study help our Boddington team continuously improve the mitigation and rehabilitation methodologies that best support the species.
- At Tanami, we prepared a Regional Biodiversity Monitoring (RBM) database to be uploaded to the national data repository, SHaRED, an Australia-wide archive of ecological data.
In North America:
- Along with work on the relict dace at Long Canyon, we continued implementation of our precedent-setting sagebrush ecosystem strategy and associated Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Program in Nevada. Key activities during the year included:
- We progressed two credit/debit calculations using the State of Nevada’s Conservation Credits System (CCS):
- A debit calculation for our Greater Phoenix project, which was assessed a debit requirement of 211 credits; and
- A credit development project on private land on the IL Ranch that is expected to generate 3,727 credits in early 2018 even though the project suffered a setback in July when wildfires affected portions of the ranch and required us to withdraw approximately half of the initial 15,000 acres slated for entrance into the CCS.
- Two pilot project plans associated with the program’s Conservation Framework Agreement (CFA) were developed and reviewed by CFA partners – the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources and Department of Wildlife:
- A project in the Willow Creek area to enhance approximately 2,900 acres of upland and riparian habitat in greater sage-grouse habitat that is ready for implementation in 2018; and
- The Early Assisted Succession project that investigates new strategies for rangeland restoration on a nearly 500-acre test plot of annual grasses.
- CFA partners joined Newmont for a meeting and field tour that included the Maggie Creek Watershed Restoration Project and the IL Ranch. Partners discussed strategies, past successes, current plans and future opportunities.
- We continued to partner with experts from the University of Nevada Reno and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service to study new and improved methods for annual invasive grass control and rangeland restoration.
- The Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Program’s Conservation Framework Agreement received the “Nevada Excellence in Mine Reclamation” award for leadership in conservation planning. The awards committee includes representatives from the Nevada Division of Minerals, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, which conduct field assessments before selecting recipients.
- Our Cripple Creek & Victor operation in Colorado completed a biodiversity risk assessment and identified the KBVs. The assessments confirmed that no IUCN-listed endangered or critically endangered species were within the mine’s current area of operation. CC&V also completed a wetland delineation for a future expansion area and will work in 2018 to evaluate required mitigations.
In South America:
- At Merian in Suriname, we implemented an internal permit approval process for vegetation disturbance to support our goal of no net loss/net positive impact of the site’s KBVs. The site is also using hazing techniques and relocating animals, setting site speed limits, prohibiting hunting, and trialing the installation of arboreal road crossing structures to avoid and minimize impacts to fauna.
- We collaborated with global biodiversity experts to evaluate options for a biodiversity offset of suitable size and value to meet the offset requirements for Merian. The option selected was to restore areas impacted by artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) within Merian’s right of exploitation (RoE). During the year, the site commenced earthworks to shape and contour ASM-impacted lands and create pilot plots for restoration work. The trial will assess the effectiveness of several revegetation treatment methods to determine which one is ideally suited to site-wide application.
- Prior to disturbing any land associated with the Quecher Main project at Yanacocha in Peru, we worked with biodiversity specialists to develop and implement a rescue and relocation program for the Paramo Andes frog, a critically endangered species. Although this work was completed in full compliance with Peruvian regulations and followed acceptable practices, the approach did not align with IUCN guidelines and the requirements in our BAP to restore degraded habitat areas and relocate species to a suitable habitat prior to land disturbance.
To improve our management of biodiversity-related risks, we will focus on the following efforts:
- Based on the success of the cross-functional global teams implementing our water and energy and climate strategies, we will work to establish a global biodiversity management team to broaden awareness, build capacity and track emerging issues and challenges.
- To support broader industry efforts to establish offsets that are externally verified prior to project development, we expect to finalize a three-year partnership agreement with IUCN – a United Nations-sponsored organization made up of more than 1,400 governmental and non-governmental organizations – to jointly develop a protocol for independent verification of biodiversity gains. Testing of the protocol is expected to begin in Nevada.
- We will continue to identify opportunities to integrate ecosystems services into our biodiversity planning.
- Through the ICMM and CSBI, we will provide input and monitor developments on a project by the IUCN to develop a set of universal principles and technical guidance for how businesses should operate in and around KBAs, whether they are within protected areas or not.
- We will conduct assessments and develop biodiversity action plans (BAPs) at all our legacy sites.
Key activities in the regions include:
- Boddington’s work on developing offsets will include evaluating a land exchange and creating a conservation covenant to support black cockatoo habitat.
- Akyem will begin the maintenance phase of its reforestation program, which includes replacing plants that did not survive, and will start implementing its biodiversity offset program to achieve the goal of no net loss of KBVs.
- Merian will begin monitoring and measuring the success of its offset program using ecological performance metrics such as species richness, stream water quality, and stream structure and habitat features. Monitoring will be conducted with the University of Suriname. Because the availability of native plants is one of the offset’s challenges, construction will begin on an on-site plant nursery to germinate and grow locally collected seeds and seedlings.
- In Nevada, we will continue our ongoing partnerships and collaborations on biodiversity programs and projects. CFA partners will join Newmont on another tour of the Maggie Creek and IL Ranch. We also will work on developing a partnership with Bayer on new herbicides for annual grasses and desirable perennial species.
- At Yanacocha’s Quecher Main project, we will continue with habitat restoration and additional offset programs to meet the requirements of our BAP and achieve our no net loss/net positive impact biodiversity commitment.