Barrick is piloting the Nature Conservancy’s Development by Design conservation program at its Kanowna mine in Western Australia. Development by Design blends conservation planning with a hierarchy of mitigation approaches — first to avoid, then minimize, and finally “offset” or compensate for biodiversity impacts.
“This science-based approach will help us to implement Barrick’s biodiversity standard, which took effect in July of 2009,” said Bill Williams, Barrick’s vice-president of Environment. “Our standard commits all Barrick projects and operating sites to strive for no net loss of biodiversity.”
The Nature Conservancy is the world’s largest conservation organization. Barrick is one of only a few companies to pilot Development by Design. The program is intended to reduce conflicts between development needs and conservation, increase the cost-effectiveness of mitigation efforts and direct funding to higher-value conservation efforts.
“This approach includes a modelling tool that will give us an advance look at our operational impact and add to Barrick’s expertise in mitigation planning,” said Williams. “The Nature Conservancy will develop a set of offset options and Barrick can then select the most effective and cost-efficient offset portfolio. The offsets will be instituted to meet the obligations set out in Barrick’s biodiversity standard.”
The project agreement took effect on Jan. 1, 2011, and is scheduled for completion by September of this year.
In 2008, Barrick became the first mining company to become a member of the International Leadership Council of the Nature Conservancy. The Council is considered to be one of the world’s leading business forums to address significant global conservation and environmental issues.