We aim to avoid, minimize, mitigate, or compensate for significant adverse impacts on the environment relating to our activities.
Biodiversity Focus Areas
The key focus areas vary between sites and are identified during the environmental permitting process. Our environmental teams often engage and collaborate with regulators and local biodiversity experts, including botanists and ornithologists, to ensure local expertise is recognized and reflected in the development and execution of site-specific Biodiversity Management Plans, which are developed to minimize impacts identified during mine life. At our project and operating sites in British Columbia, we also work with Indigenous groups to incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge into our biodiversity, reclamation, and environmental stewardship planning.
Baseline studies are completed as part of the permitting process prior to construction and during construction to create appropriate benchmarking data prior to operations.
At Öksüt, we have developed a comprehensive EBRD-compliant Biodiversity Management Plan that addresses the main impacts of our projects, including loss of habitat, possible introduction of invasive species, and potential for increased animal mortality from vehicle traffic. For each impact, an appropriate mitigation measure has been implemented. For example, to minimize impacts, Öksüt has installed bird flight diverters on the powerline. Öksüt’s Environmental Team checks the powerline buffer zone monthly, at minimum, and ornithologists visit the powerline during migration periods (spring and autumn) to study bird activities.
As part of Öksüt’s Biodiversity Offset Management Plan (BOMP), Öksüt has participated in offset activities such as the protection of existing populations (fencing existing populations to protect from excessive grazing and trampling), reintroductions and direct translocation or seeding for wild stock populations of vulnerable flora, enrichment planting of existing forested areas, and reforestation of selected areas along the mine fence line. The result of various initiatives have led to the presence of an endemic plant species named “Astragalus Öksütdaghensis” in the Öksüt region being confirmed by the Nordic Journal of Botany.
At Mount Milligan there are stand-alone, topic-specific plans that together constitute the main components of their Biodiversity Management Plans. For example, a Fish Habitat Compensation Plan was developed through consultation with regulators, Indigenous groups, biologists, environmental engineers and forestry professionals. As part of the work, an overwintering habitat was constructed in lower Rainbow Creek to provide fish with safe spots to survive under winter ice, rearing pounds were built, and problem culverts were replaced.
Biodiversity is a key engagement topic with local and Indigenous communities, regulators and other local and national stakeholders during project permitting, throughout operations and during mine closure and reclamation.
We recognize the importance of ensuring that local and Indigenous communities have the opportunity to provide meaningful input and participate in the decision-making process.
In many cases, the land that we operate on has significant ecosystem service value for our project-impacted communities.
For example, the Mount Milligan Mine site sits on the traditional hunting and gathering territories of several First Nations groups, including Nak’azdli Whut’en, McLeod Lake Indian Band, Takla Nation, West Moberly First Nations and Halfway River First Nation. For Indigenous groups and other resource users in the area, biodiversity is linked to their cultural and spiritual values. We engage with Indigenous groups as well as local communities to understand traditional land use and current land use, and to incorporate Traditional Knowledge into our current and future plans.
More information on our approach to stakeholder engagement can be found here.
At Mount Milligan, no net loss of fish habitat.
At Öksüt, achieving net gains for critical habitat and no net loss for priority biodiversity features.