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Finalists selected for 2014 TSM Awards for Community Engagement and Environmental Excellence

April 01, 2014

Winners of TSM Awards to be announced at the CIM Convention in May

The finalists for the inaugural Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Awards for Community Engagement and Environmental Excellence have been selected and the award winners will be announced on May 12 at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Awards Gala at the 2014 Convention in Vancouver.

The awards’ first year, a total of 25 nominations were submitted by mining companies that participate in the TSM initiative. Now in its tenth year, TSM is a performance-based program in which mining operations evaluate, manage and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities. The selection committee, comprised of members from the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) national community of interest (e.g. stakeholder) advisory panel, selected the finalists based on criteria such as innovation, involvement of and engagement with communities, and project outcomes. TSM performance was also considered as an indicator of the company’s ongoing commitment to corporate responsibility.

“The nominations for the inaugural TSM Awards for Community Engagement and Environmental Excellence were impressive across the board, and we look forward to announcing the two winners in May at the CIM Convention,” said MAC’s President and CEO, Pierre Gratton. “We congratulate this year’s finalists whose projects really resonated with the selection committee for driving world leading environmental and community engagement practices on the ground.”

TSM Community Engagement Award – 2014 Finalists

Glencore Canada: Attracting and advancing Inuit talent in Northern Quebec

Situated in the Nunavik territory of Northern Quebec, Glencore Canada’s Raglan mine has made it a priority to attract and retain as many local Inuit employees as possible. To achieve this goal, the Raglan mine launched its Tamatumani program in 2008, meaning “second start” in Inuktitut, which has helped the company increase Inuit employees by 170% and reach a retention rate of 80%.  Built in collaboration with community partners, the program encourages career development, provides training, and supports the integration of new Inuit staff. The company also created the Inuit Employment Centre, which maintains a bank of candidates and visits Nunavik communities to ensure residents are aware of available positions. In 2013, Glencore created a new program called RIDE (Rapid Inuit Development and Employment) to encourage internal mobility for Inuit employees and to work with educational institutions to offer Inuit students scholarships and job opportunities.

IAMGOLD Corporation: Village market gardening in Burkina Faso

In the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, home to IAMGOLD’s Essakane gold mine, the climate is desert-like and populations largely rely on livestock breeding and gold mining for their livelihoods. To improve security and combat poverty in the region, IAMGOLD committed to develop alternate revenue sources for communities living near the mine site. Working with communities of interest, market gardening emerged as an opportunity to broaden revenue sources, while at the same time improve food security and nutrition.  In 2009, 100 women from the relocated 500-member Marganta community adopted the practice using a solar-powered well and water storage system provided by IAMGOLD. Two years later, drip irrigation technology was added, which has helped increase production without increasing water use.  Vegetables can now be cultivated year-round, increasing the number of harvests to two to three per year instead of just one. Since 2009, nearly 400 producers (more than 50% women) have earned additional revenue through market gardening, and many have doubled their annual income.

Rio Tinto/Iron Ore Company of Canada: Managing growth in Labrador West

The region of Labrador West – comprised of Labrador City and Wabush – shows how mining can create modern towns. As towns grow, however, they can face issues like lack of housing, infrastructure and social services. In 2006, the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), a division of Rio Tinto, established a Community Advisory Panel to help address these issues in Labrador City. Soon after, IOC broadened the Panel’s scope to cover the entire Labrador West region in light of rapid growth in the Labrador Trough. Co-chaired by IOC and Cliffs Natural Resources, the Panel shares information and develops solutions that will benefit local communities. In 2012, IOC took one step further by creating a Regional Task Force to complement and strengthen the Panel’s efforts. Together, these groups have generated positive results working towards ensuring appropriate housing, health and emergency services, community infrastructure, and training opportunities for residents in the region.

Vale: Creating long-term economic prosperity in Thompson, Manitoba

A mining community since the late 1950s, the City of Thompson has become a regional service hub to Northern Manitoba. However, economic volatility and the fact that Vale will reduce its operations by 2015 have underlined the need to diversify the area’s economic base.  In 2011, Vale proactively funded and co-launched the Thompson Economic Diversification Working Group, which developed action plans for economic development and diversification. The group was highly collaborative, involving representatives from Aboriginal communities, government and community organizations. The process represents unprecedented levels of community and stakeholder engagement funded entirely by a mining company nearly five years in advance of a partial decommissioning project to ensure sustainable economic development in the community.

TSM Environmental Excellence Award – 2014 Finalists

Dominion Diamond Corporation/Rio Tinto: Grizzly bear monitoring in the NWT

In response to interest to track regional grizzly bear trends, Dominion Diamond Corporation’s Ekati mine and Rio Tinto’s Diavik mine established the Grizzly Bear DNA program in the Northwest Territories in 2012. The large-scale study encompasses a 16,000 km area around the two operations and will help determine if mine-related activities influence the relative abundance and distribution of grizzly bears over time through DNA analysis from hair samples.  The program will be repeated every three years to compare population levels with the baseline study to identify trends, such as population levels and size of home range. This project combines scientific research and traditional knowledge, and is the largest grizzly bear DNA program in the territory.

IAMGOLD: Improving biodiversity through village reforestation in Burkina Faso

Communities around IAMGOLD’s Essakane mine in the semi-desert Sahel region of Burkina Faso are dependent on trees for firewood, food, and traditional medicine. With trees having to be removed to construct the mine, IAMGOLD launched a reforestation program in 2009 to compensate for the loss to local biodiversity and made a goal of 100,000 living trees by the time it ceases operations. The project emerged directly from community engagement and residents were involved from the planning stage through to implementation. IAMGOLD trained local women in nursery techniques and more than 200,000 trees have been planted since the program began. Forest areas, when the mine ceases operation, are expected to be comparable or superior to those existing on the site prior to the mine’s construction. There is also expected to be a 30% increase in trees considered threatened, rare, endangered or protected.

Syncrude Canada: Innovating reclamation through fen wetlands in Northern Alberta

In Northern Alberta, fen wetlands are commonplace and can take thousands of years to establish.  This type of wetland became Syncrude’s source of inspiration as it looked to reclaim a tailings structure in 2007.  With very little information on fen reclamation to refer to, Syncrude created an interdisciplinary team of experts to create something that had never been done before, and the Sandhill Fen Research Watershed Initiative was born. The watershed was completed in 2012 and was developed on 52 hectares of land on a portion of what was once a 60-metre deep mine. This project is still in its early years, but results are encouraging. Peat studies show that it is possible to transplant live peat and grow it in a newly- constructed area and many native plants have taken root on their own. The data gathered will contribute to reclamation best practices for Syncrude and the oil sands industry as a whole.

Vale: Tracking real-time water quality for communities in Newfoundland and Labrador

Managing risks to waterways is critical to both mines and the communities that rely on them. Vale’s Voisey’s Bay operation in Newfoundland and Labrador, in partnership with the provincial government, set an industry best practice through the Real Time Water Quality (RTWQ) Monitoring Partnership – a program that provides near real-time water quality information of various streams near the mine and mill. Water data is collected by four solar-powered stations and can be read online by the public within four hours. Community members use the information to enhance traditional knowledge as the water stage, flow measurements and water temperature can help predict the migration patterns of Arctic Char. In 2003, Vale was the first industry partner to sign on to the RTWQ and, in 2012, the partnership was extended with Vale providing more funding and equipment to the program.

For more information about the TSM Awards and the 2014 finalists, click here.

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About MAC

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.

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