Agnico Eagle Mines and Cameco are this year’s recipients of the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Excellence Awards, which recognize innovative sustainability projects focused on community engagement and the environment.
The TSM encourages mining companies to meet the demand for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way and has also been adopted outside of Canada. Under this initiative, mining operations evaluate, manage and publicly report on environmental and social responsibilities.
Each year’s TSM Excellence Awards honour companies for their work in ensuring responsible mining practices.
“MAC’s TSM Excellence Awards represent the best of the best when it comes to showcasing the innovative work being done by Canadian mining on innovation in environmental stewardship and community engagement,” Pierre Gratton, MAC’s president and CEO, said in a release.
“We are extremely proud of what both Cameco and Agnico Eagle have been able to accomplish as they highlight what is possible and achievable in terms of sustainable and collaborative practices in our sector.”
The Excellence Awards were established in 2014 and include the TSM Environmental Excellence Award and the TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award.
In order to be eligible for these awards, mining companies need to be implementing the TSM initiative.
A community advisory panel has oversight over the TSM program, provides guidance and advice on its development and selects the winners of the TSM Excellence Awards. This panel includes members of Indigenous communities, environmental organizations and academics, among others.
“There are many innovative projects and initiatives that expand and promote sustainable development within the mining sector and this year’s TSM Excellence Award winners have shown what is possible when it comes to effective community engagement and environmental stewardship in our industry,” Gratton added.
Cameco is the winner of this year’s TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award for the Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program (CBEMP), which is part of the collaboration agreement signed between Cameco, Orano Canada, four municipalities and three First Nations in northern Saskatchewan.
The CBEMP involves community members obtaining research information and integrates local community representatives into steering the program and participating in sample collection. As a result, communities are able to have significant input into the way information is collected, submitted and reported.
Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos mine in Mexico has earned the company the TSM Environmental Excellence Award through its new initiative focused on improving soil regeneration using its Ultra High-Density Grazing with Cattle program, which started in January of 2019.
This program replicates nature’s way of regenerating the soil in the waste rock storage facilities during closure and decommissioning by mimicking the impact of groups of animals that trample the ground.
Pinos Altos was the first mine in the world to use this process to create plant cover and grow plants native to the region. This type of regeneration happens over a shorter time when compared with traditional revegetation methods.
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)