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Mitigating Biodiversity Impacts throughout the Mine Life Is a Priority at Newmont

This is the second in a four-part series on biodiversity management at Newmont.

It’s been five years since Newmont became a founding member of the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (CSBI) – a partnership for developing and sharing best biodiversity practices across our industry. In that time, we’ve improved our management of biodiversity-related risks through application of the Mitigation Hierarchy and development of a refined conservation approach that Scott Miller calls “a critical tool guiding Newmont toward sustainable outcomes.”

As Newmont’s Group Executive for Environment, as well as a past CSBI Chair, Scott has a deep understanding of the Mitigation Hierarchy and its ability to avoid and minimize impact on biodiversity throughout a mine’s life. “We use it to define residual project impacts and any restoration and offset requirements, as well as set the goals and objectives for site biodiversity action plans [BAPs],” he explains.

The Mitigation Hierarchy is made up of four sequential steps: avoidance, minimization, restoration and offsets. First, we seek to avoid impacts by locating facilities and identifying routes away from natural and critical habitats. When avoidance is not possible, we minimize impacts through strategic management systems and mine plan designs that limit land disturbance.

When impacts occur, we take responsibility for rehabilitating affected areas during operation and at closure – and where possible restoring the areas to pre-mining function. Scott underscores the importance that concurrent reclamation, and in places restoration, plays in Newmont’s mitigation management, describing it as “integral to our approach to biodiversity management.”

We also actively work to offset the loss of key values associated with residual impacts. Offset work is currently underway at a number of our sites including the Akyem mine in Ghana, the Boddington mine in Australia, the Merian mine in Suriname and with our Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation Program in Nevada. These offsets of residual impacts to biodiversity are a critical part of Newmont’s commitment to achieving our commitment to no net loss of key biodiversity values and contributing to sustainable outcomes.

To ensure the success of more biodiversity projects, Scott and his colleagues in Newmont’s Sustainability department are working to establish a global community of practice among the already devoted biodiversity management practice team. The members will help broaden awareness, build capacity and track emerging biodiversity issues and challenges across the business.