The MINEROS Group strongly promotes environmental planning, management and monitoring by all its processes and contractors to prevent, mitigate, control and offset all the possible negative impacts they may cause. It also promotes all the positive impacts, without losing sight of the constant search for operating efficiency and continuous improvement of the Organization and the environmental management system.
We have established the following guidelines for this and to achieve the environmental goals:
- Motivate and require leadership and responsibility in environmental management from all employees at the different levels of the Organization.
- Strictly comply with all the environmental permits and licenses required to carry out activities, including the other legal requirements established in the applicable legislation for management.
- Prevent the contamination and generation of existing environmental liabilities, making use of all the resources, tools and programs necessary to identify the environmental aspects and to ensure their adequate operating control in all the processes.
- Promote the supply of environmental goods and services in order to improve on what was previously identified in the environmental baseline, after environmental restoration processes, and as a result of closing mining operations.
- Encourage the creation of an environmental culture among all employees and different stakeholders that fosters the sustainable development of the communities and regions where we operate.
Environmental Management In Figures
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS
REMOVAL, RESCUE AND RELOCATION OF WILDLIFE
In response to the need to maintain biodiversity in terms of wild animals, we created the Wildlife Removal, Rescue and Relocation program, which is part of our Environmental Management Plan to reduce and/or prevent our mining operations’ impact on wildlife.
Between 2008 and 2015, we rescued and relocated around 5,000 animals, including reptiles, birds and mammals.
We created the MINEROS environmental education program in 2004 as a youth training strategy for society in the Lower Cauca region of Antioquia. The program creates education strategies in educational institutions, rural education centers and community action boards on environmental practices and their importance for the use and conservation of natural resources in our areas of influence, creating a more sustainable environmental culture.
In order to establish environmental education strategies for conservation of the Anorí River and the municipality’s endangered species, in 2013, we established an agreement with Fundación ProAves de Colombia to implement activities for schoolchildren and adults in the districts of Villa Fátima, Bolívar, Chica, El Zafiro and El Roble.
COMPREHENSIVE SOLID AND LIQUID WASTE MANAGEMENT
In 2003, we implemented the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management (CSWM) program as part of our commitment to the environment and compliance with the environmental management plan. That is why all our gold exploration, mining and production processes are related to proper solid and liquid waste management.
We have created several ecological points for the management of waste produced in the industrial area and camp, which include garbage cans and signs that differentiate between the types of waste, such as organic, recyclable, ordinary, hazardous and biological. Additionally, for the development of the CSWM, we have a waste center where all the generated waste is collected.
As part of our corporate social responsibility project, we are constantly training and raising the awareness of our staff, residents of the municipality of El Bagre and other stakeholders.
MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION OF THE RIVER TURTLE
With the aim to increase the wild population of the river turtle (Podocnemis lewyana), an endemic species of Colombia declared as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that lives in the lower basin of the Nechí River, MINEROS started the Management and Conservation program of this species in 2012. This program consists of artificial incubation processes for eggs collected on the beaches where the turtles lay their eggs.
We have a conservation center for the project in the district of Cuturú, Caucasia Municipality, and another in Puerto Claver, El Bagre Municipality. We also increased the communities’ participation thanks to efficient communication of the project.
By 2015, we had released more than 2,000 baby turtles into the waters of the Nechí River.
WETLAND MANAGEMENT AND RECOVERY
Since 2004, we have been developing transformation programs for the bodies of water, tailings and hydraulic backfills in the Lower Cauca region of Antioquia region in areas where people, animals and nature coexist.
Since 2015, we have carried out recovery sessions in more than 700,000 square meters along bodies of water and channels of natural wetlands located in the municipalities of El Bagre, Zaragoza, Nechí and Caucasia, giving an economic opportunity to the farming population with daily wages.
The program’s main objective is to design measures for the recovery of artificial wetlands and the channels created by the movement and operation of dredgers. This is done to improve their biotic conditions given the importance of the aquatic ecosystems, so that they offer potential benefits for wildlife and the region.
The agreement to respect the ecosystem made between the Company, tenant farmers, local community and fishermen is the social component generated through the development and implementation of the project.
Since 2000, we have implemented the Farming Lots program in the Lower Cauca region of Antioquia in response to the needs of the rural communities of the area of influence. Through this program, we support farming families, help to improve the environment with restoration of soil, and at the same time, reestablish the habitat of flora and fauna.
The lots of land are small family farms where crops are planted, with the families benefitting from the sale of the harvests. Additionally, we provide logistical, economic and educational support so that the lots are self-sustainable.
We have now established 42 farming lots, where sustainable farming practices are combined with the use of green fertilizers and cover crops, reducing the use of agrochemicals as much as possible. Lemon, mango, guava, Colombian plantain, cassava, rice, corn and home vegetable garden crops are part of the farming products, and these activities are combined with artisanal fishing.
MINEROS S.A., as a participant in the Lower Cauca region of Antioquia, welcomed the initiative from the Colombian Government and the departments of Antioquia and Córdoba to implement the Rubber-Cacao Belt (Cordón Cauchero Cacaotero, for the Spanish original). As such, at the end of 2004, the establishment of 3 hectares of clonal garden with 5 clones, a nursery and an 87-hectare crop of rubber plantation (30,000 trees) began. Today, we have around 450,000 trees planted in around 900 hectares located across three farms in the sub-region.
Rubber is a driving force of development for the region, as it improves the socio-economical conditions of the communities where the plantations are located, since growing rubber by its 35- to 40-year lifecycle benefits the entire family environment and supports sustainability in the area.
The MINEROS rubber project responsibly contributes to the growth of the economical and social heritage of the region. We are making progress with training and outreach programs for the jobs that are employed at our plantations, ensuring that the rubber community knows the advantages and disadvantages of this agricultural alternative. Rubber will occupy a very important role as an alternative to the development of the communities in the medium and long term, not only in the region but in the country.
At the national level, approximately 30,000 tons of rubber are consumed annually, and 90% of the national demand is imported. The crop in Colombia is found in the different sub-regions, such as:
- The Rubber-Cacao Belt is composed of by the Lower Cauca, South Bolívar, South Córdoba, Urabá and Northeast sub-regions. There, an inventory of the rubber plantations was done in the first half of 2014, in which a total of 3,500,000 trees were found (approximately 9,000 hectares).
- Orinoquía - Piedemonte
- Caquetá - Amazonía
- Magdalena Medio - Centro Santander
In the world, natural rubber production is around 11 million tons, planted in 30 tropical countries. In the order of the world’s greatest producers, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India and China dominate 84% of the world market. The crops in Latin America are around 300,000 hectares, with most of the production taking place in Brazil, which is in tenth place of the world’s production with 1.3%, followed by Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia, which together contribute 1.2% of the world’s production. The remaining production comes from Africa, whose areas are growing quickly due to the its favorable conditions.
REFORESTATION AND REVEGETATION
Two essential principles have inspired us since the eighties in the reforestation and revegetation programs. The first is the recovery of the areas used for gold mining, the Company’s main activity. Our commitment is to recover all of the affected soil by establishing plantations with introduced or native species.
Secondly, we achieve environmental offsetting by using different natural resources.
MINEROS develops the program to establish protective forest plantations in the lower basin of the Nechí river. The vast majority of the species used are native with rapid growth and have good behavior in deteriorated areas and soil with low fertility as an offsetting measure, whether they have been affected by the Company or not.
This environmental recovery work is carried out jointly with the communities of the area of influence in the Lower Cauca region of Antioquia. The nursery programs for growing native trees are a strategy developed by tenant farmers in areas recovered by the Company to provide supplies for the program’s revegetation and reforestation process.
The community also benefits from this program with: Hiring a rural workforce, whose annual average for the next seven years is estimated to be 3,816 daily wages; and the donation of plant material for the municipalities in the Lower Cauca region of Antioquia and the organized community. Annually, the plant material production program produces 200,000 seedlings.
FISH REPOPULATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF FISH FARMING
With the aim to increase the depleted wild fish populations, encourage fish farming and promote food security in the region, we implemented repopulation sessions.
Prior to these sessions, we carried out training and awareness-raising activities with the residents of the riverside communities. These sessions train the participants on the planting processes, as well as including talks on conservation of the fishing resource and not using inappropriate fishing techniques. This is all part of adequate use of resources to ensure their sustainability.
We carried out fish repopulation and fish farming promotion sessions during 2015 with more than 600,000 fish fry of different species such as bocachico, cachama and dorada.
WATER AND SEWER SYSTEM
We have our own drinking water supply system in MINEROS for the industrial area and the camp where many of our employees live, as well as a military base and a hospital.
Water quality is controlled through measurement equipment located in the purification plant. Every month, samples are sent to a certified laboratory for their analysis and additionally, the local health organizations carry out controls to ensure that the water is fit for human consumption.
The sewage system of the camp, industrial area and the different projects is decentralized. It is comprised of treatment units that in turn, consist of grease traps, inspection chambers and septic systems. Two years ago, the Environmental and Water Monitoring Department started to replace the conventional septic systems made in concrete with more efficient prefabricated systems that take up less space.