OTTAWA, ON, May 3, 2022 /CNW/ - The Mining Association of Canada's (MAC) Community of Interest Advisory Panel has selected the Gahcho Kué Mine, owned as a Joint Venture between De Beers Group and Mountain Province Diamonds, and Copper Mountain Mining Corporation, leaders in Canada's mining sector, to receive this year's prestigious Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Excellence Awards in recognition of their innovative sustainability projects focused on community engagement and environmental stewardship. The companies were presented their awards yesterday at the CIM Awards Gala in Vancouver.
"We are extremely proud of the work that was accomplished this year by Copper Mountain and the Gahcho Kué Mine, both have set a very high bar when it comes to sustainable mining performance in Canada's mining sector," said Pierre Gratton, MAC's President and CEO. "Commitments to ESG and responsible practices form the backbone of our country's mining industry and this year's TSM Excellence Award winners highlight outstanding practices that prioritize both community engagement and environmental stewardship."
With Canada producing some of the lowest carbon-intensity mineral and metal products in the world there is no doubt that it can and should play a much more significant role in providing the materials the world needs to get to net-zero. MAC's members are leading the way through TSM, a program originally created in 2004 to drive performance improvement across a range of social and environmental issues where it mattered most — at the mine site level. This focus on mine site performance makes TSM a go-to system for investors and manufacturers looking to invest in and purchase responsibly mined materials.
TSM supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. A national independent Community of Interest Advisory Panel oversees the program, with representatives from Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, labour, finance, local mining communities, social and faith-based organizations and academia. TSM goes beyond principles and requires mining companies to annually assess, publicly report and verify their performance at the facility level. Performance is evaluated across a set of detailed environmental and social performance standards, including tailings management, climate change, water stewardship, Indigenous and community relationships, safety and health, biodiversity conservation, crisis management and preventing child and forced labour.
Established in 2014, the TSM Excellence Awards include the TSM Environmental Excellence Award and the TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award. To be eligible for the awards, mining companies must be actively implementing TSM. The Community of Interest Advisory Panel provides guidance and advice on the development and implementation of TSM and selects the winners of the TSM Excellence Awards.
"With the increasing overall awareness on the role mining plays in providing the materials required for the global energy transition it is clear that our sector is being recognized as essential more now than ever, specifically the leadership role Canada can play in providing the minerals and metals needed in the tech we depend on," said Gratton. "Our high environmental and labour standards, exemplified through TSM, are a competitive advantage when it comes to responsibly filling the growing need for mined materials."
The Ní Hadi Xa initiative, meaning "People Watch the Land Together" in the Chipewyan Dëne Sųłné language, was established in 2014 by Gahcho Kué Mine and six Indigenous communities. Together, they conduct environmental and traditional knowledge monitoring at the diamond mine located in the Northwest Territories. Gahcho Kué is a joint venture between De Beers Group and Mountain Province Diamonds.
Ní Hadi Xa is managed by a seven-member Governance Committee, with six of the seven members representing local Indigenous signatory communities – Deninu Kué First Nation, the North Slave Métis Alliance, the Northwest Territory Métis Nation, the Tłı̨chǫ̀ Government, the Łutsel K'e Dene First Nation, and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. One seat on the committee is held by Gahcho Kué.
The program employs five Indigenous individuals from local communities, including those with environmental management and traditional knowledge experience. Ní Hadi Xa provides a forum for collaborative environmental monitoring and management, with all policies and monitoring programs co-designed and approved by the Governance Committee. The initiative supports in-depth discussion on mine development updates and proposals, with any environmental monitoring findings or concerns directly relayed to Gahcho Kué for incorporation into the mine's environmental management and monitoring framework.
The Governance Committee also forms several sub-committees for managing related initiatives, including traditional knowledge programs, finance, and human resources. They meet quarterly to review the implementation of the programs and to discuss and approve any additional work plans.
Ní Hadi Xa was established using learnings from other independent monitoring agencies in the region to create a new and innovative approach to environmental monitoring activities at the mine. The collaborative and cooperative nature of this initiative, prioritizing leadership by local Indigenous communities, can serve as a model for other mining projects – from pre-development to mine closure.
Both Gahcho Kué and Ní Hadi Xa staff have been invited to share this model and their experiences with other mining companies, given their success in building trust and sharing knowledge and information between the company and local communities. By providing an Indigenous-led framework for open dialogue on local environmental priorities, Gahcho Kué is raising the bar for meaningful community engagement.
Representatives of the Mining Association of Canada's Community of Interest Advisory Panel were impressed by the fact that Indigenous community representatives held most seats on the Ní Hadi Xa Governance Committee, and that this Indigenous-led committee is responsible for direction, oversight, and reporting on the initiative. The Panel representatives also appreciated the intentional approach to incorporating Indigenous traditional knowledge responsibilities for program staff.
Canada's mining industry is working hard to produce the mined materials necessary for low-carbon technologies while innovating to reduce its own carbon footprint. Copper Mountain is leading the way in these efforts through a partnership with SMS Equipment, Komatsu, ABB, Clean BC, and B.C. Hydro.
Together, they have created a mine-site version of the overhead cables that power urban buses and trams. Instead of public transit, the trolley-assist installation at the Copper Mountain Mine will deploy haul trucks connected to a 1km overhead electric cable to transport ore uphill from the main pit of the mine to the primary crusher.
Moving heavy ore up a steep incline is a highly energy intensive process and when using diesel haul trucks, is the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at Copper Mountain. Each of the 11 trolley-capable haul trucks will displace approximately 400 litres of diesel and 1 tonne of carbon dioxide each hour. The new technology is anticipated to reduce the mine's carbon emissions by at least 30% when introduced over the next five years. Copper Mountain then plans to connect additional trolley sections to support ore transport from the New Ingerbelle pit to the primary crusher for an additional 10 or more years of use, reducing the mine's carbon intensity by over 50% in the next five to seven years.
Made possible through multiple partnerships, the electric trolley assist project represents a significant commitment by Copper Mountain to a cleaner future and is a major contributor to achieving the company's goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2035.
Representatives of the Mining Association of Canada's Community of Interest Advisory Panel were impressed by Copper Mountain's willingness to make a significant investment in a new and innovative approach to reducing an important source of GHG emissions at the mine site. This project has the potential to serve as an initial case study to spur broader uptake of the electric trolley-assist technology within the industry.
For more information about the TSM Excellence Awards and past winners, please visit www.mining.ca/tsm-excellence-awards.
The mining industry is a major sector of Canada's economy, contributing $107 billion to the national GDP and is responsible for 19 percent of Canada's total domestic exports. Canada's mining sector employs 692,000 people directly and indirectly across the country. The industry is proportionally the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada and a major customer of Indigenous-owned businesses.
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada's production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit www.mining.ca.
SOURCE Mining Association of Canada (MAC)
For further information: Cynthia Waldmeier, Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs, the Mining Association of Canada, Phone: 613-233-9392 x225 or 613-894-2128 (cell), Email: [email protected]