Plastic balls on top of netting have proved very effective in keeping wildlife such as birds out of water processing ponds. Although smaller scale installations were used by the water treatment industry previously, Barrick Gold engineers at the Goldstrike mine in Nevada were the first to successfully translate the concept on a larger scale in the early 1990s. Known as bird balls, this surface configuration leaves only nine per cent of the surface visible, with the added benefit of preventing water evaporation.
Barrick Gold’s climate change program is helping to set the standard within the gold mining industry, offering a sound, pragmatic business approach to the company’s greenhouse gas footprint. In 2009, Barrick Gold conducted a company-wide assessment of the business risks associated with climate change. Based on this assessment, Barrick Gold developed an action plan and formalized a Climate Change Standard. The company’s mining operations improved energy efficiency in 2009 and adopted an aggressive approach to increase energy conservation and non-carbon energy use, with targets in all regions. Reflecting the company’s commitment to clean, renewable power, Barrick Gold has invested a total of $88.5 million in wind and solar energy projects internationally.
To preserve biodiversity and protect habitats around our operations, Barrick Gold recently adopted a new biodiversity standard. The standard applies from the exploration stage to post-mine closure with the ambitious goal of no net loss to biodiversity.
The Porgera Joint Venture continues to support the groundbreaking research of Conservation International researchers in the Kaijendi Highlands near the mine site in Papua New Guinea. More than 50 species believed to be new to science have been discovered as part of biodiversity conservation efforts in the area.
Barrick Gold is the first mining company to become a member of the International Leadership Council of the Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest conservation organization.
The local guanaco population has increased five-fold since Barrick Gold established a protection program near the Veladero mine in Argentina. Guanacos roam freely in the high Andean open plain as a result of the prohibition on poaching of this South American member of the camel family. Thanks to the company’s award-winning re-vegetation program, the area has become a rich habitat for guanacos and other wildlife and vegetation.
Conservation in Action
In Australia, Barrick Gold has been the principal funder of the Lake Cowal Foundation, an independent, non-profit environmental trust. The Foundation was created nearly 10 years ago to support conservation around the Cowal mine in New South Wales, working with more than 100 partners, including environmental groups, government agencies and landowners. To date, the Foundation has completed environmental and educational projects worth almost US$9 million. In 2009, Cowal was awarded the annual Excellence Award from the New South Wales Minerals Council for this innovative collaboration.
In the Dominican Republic, site of the Pueblo Viejo project, a major clean-up of historic environmental impacts associated with a former mining operation at the site is now underway.