Ensuring compliance with the wide range of laws and regulations governing our activities throughout the mine lifecycle is crucial to securing our license to operate and protecting our reputation.
Our Integrated Management System (IMS) consolidates core business programs and processes into a single framework, allowing us to conduct comprehensive internal audits against our technical standards.
Audits and certifications
We have implemented a multi-year audit schedule to align and integrate audits, where possible, and ensure all operating sites are audited within a three-year window. These audits focus on Newmont’s IMS and technical standards, which are based on the internationally accepted ISO 14001:2015 and 45001:2018 standards.
All operating sites must have a third-party certify compliance with the International Cyanide Management Code (the "Cyanide Code"), which is designed to improve cyanide management practices in the gold mining industry.
We require new operations to achieve Cyanide Code certification within 12 months and ISO 14001 certification within three years of reaching commercial production. After initial certification, sites must ensure they maintain compliance.
Regions also have specific certification requirements. For example, our operations in Australia and Peru certify to OHSAS 18001, and our North America region certifies to the National Mining Association’s CORESafety framework – a risk-based health and safety management system anchored in leadership, management and assurance.
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 local, regional and national government agencies that review our operational, health and safety, security, environmental and social performance.
Through our IMS, we track environmental, social, safety, health, security, operational and legal events and rate the actual and potential consequences 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 insignificant or minor impacts, and level 3 to 5 events are those that can result in more substantial impacts. When reviewing events, we focus on potential consequences. All events with a potential consequence level of 3 or higher require an investigation and are reviewed and discussed on a quarterly basis during a CEO-led call with executive, regional and functional leaders.
When we are out of compliance or when a significant event occurs, we commit to transparently disclose and fully mitigate any impacts.
Fines and sanctions
During the year, we received two environmental fines totaling $94,373, and six environmental sanctions. These actions are summarized in the following table.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation sent a notice regarding alleged breaches of regulations regarding waste disposal and discharges. The operation responded to the allegations in December 2018 and is awaiting a response from the agency.
The Department of Environment and Energy sent a letter regarding the provisioning of forest land to offset the loss of 29 hectares of suitable habitat. A Deed of Covenant protecting 192 hectares was signed to ensure compliance.
|North America||Cripple Creek & Victor||
The operation received a $32,500 fine from the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety related to a failure to notify the appropriate government agency of a slope failure in late 2017 on one of the site's valley leach facilities.
The Autoridad Nacional del Agua levied a $61,873 fine related to an unauthorized discharge water point.
The Organismo de Evaluación y Fiscalización Ambienta (OEFA) issued four sanctions against the site related to: non-disclosure of a grass fire; delayed submission of closure reports; non-compliance with exploration closure activities; and social commitments that were not achieved. The site was required to implement corrective actions.
Detailed information about the citations and orders issued to Newmont in 2018 by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is disclosed in our 2018 10-K report under Exhibit 95.
In 2018, we did not experience any events with a social impact at a level 3 or above, but we did have three level 3 events with environmental impacts.
|Region||Operation, event date and level||Event description|
|North America||Carlin, January 2018
Level 3 event
An estimated 13.5 pounds of cyanide were released when an 8-hour, 1,000 gallon-per-minute flow of pregnant process solution flowed from solution ponds to stormwater ponds and out of containment to a depression in the adjacent landscape. Key learnings include timely testing and commissioning of leach solution overflow system modifications under controlled conditions, regardless of overall project status.
|Carlin, February 2018
Level 3 event
A tailings pipeline, buried unprotected under a light vehicle road crossing, ruptured and released an estimated 26,300 gallons of low concentration slurry. Most of the slurry was contained, but approximately 9.2 pounds of cyanide and 25 pounds of sodium cyanide were released outside of containment onto the road. Among the actions taken to avoid similar events in the future: ensuring that road crossings over process solution lines are properly designed to prevent damage and labeling lines for timely identification.
|Cripple Creek & Victor, January 2018
Level 3 event
The site observed potential PM10 (fine particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter) exceedances of the 24-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard due to dry conditions, sustained high winds and constrained water truck availability.
Audits and certifications
In 2018, we transitioned to an umbrella certification program for ISO 14001:2015. An external assurance provider (DNV GL) certified all of our operating sites, with the exception of Merian, which entered commercial production in 2016 and will join the umbrella certification in 2019.
As a result of our integrated audit approach, our umbrella certification for ISO 14001:2015 improves governance to drive performance and progress, streamlines reporting across the business, reduces the audit burden for sites, and saves approximately 30 percent in audit costs.
To maintain strong controls and governance of our IMS program, we held internal auditor training courses for 31 employees representing four mine sites and one regional office.
Compliance with the Cyanide Code is discussed in the Cyanide Management section of this report.
Each year, we complete an independent assurance process to verify compliance with the World Gold Council’s (WGC) Conflict-Free Gold Standard. In May 2018, 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.