I OTTAWA, Canada I

“MAC’s TSM Excellence Awards represent the best of the best when it comes to showcasing the innovative work being done by Canadian mining on innovation in environmental stewardship and community engagement. We are extremely proud of what both Cameco and Agnico Eagle have been able to accomplish as they highlight what is possible and achievable in terms of sustainable and collaborative practices in our sector.”

Pierre Gratton

President and CEO

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC)

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC), the national voice of Canada’s mining industry, has awarded Agnico Eagle their prestigious Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Environmental Excellence Award! A first for Agnico Eagle this highly-respected award recognizes companies that go above and beyond in their efforts to implement innovative sustainability projects that focus on environmental stewardship.  

When it comes to environmental reclamation, topsoil; a key material needed in order to reclaim barren industrial sites – like mine waste rock dumps – is always scarce and often expensive to purchase.  In true collaborative spirit, Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos team rose to this challenge and over the last year has shown what is possible when it comes to effective environmental and sustainable practices in the mining sector, with their state-of-the-art soil regeneration initiative through Ultra High-Density Grazing (UHDG) – that essentially, allows us to produce its own topsoil! 

This agricultural technique consists of herding cattle at regular intervals in a specific grazing pattern along with special livestock feed that improves the cow’s digestion. As the cow leaves its dung and saliva on the ground, it transfers nutrients and microorganisms into the soil – improving soil health and eliminating the need to use topsoil for environmental reclamation while optimizing productive activities for people in the community.

Now, after more than a year of utilizing this method, the pastures are literally greener – with a return of fauna, improved soil quality and density of flora. Analyses have shown a substantial increase in soil nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, nitrates, manganese – all promoting the reproduction and diversity of plants as indicated by 44 new plant species. As flora begins to grow, wildlife returns. The previous waste zones of Agnico Eagle’s Oberon Weber Rock Storage Facility now welcomes whitetail deer, wild turkey, mountain lions, various species of migratory birds and squirrels, among other animals.

Achieving impressive results in its first year, this project appealed to the Mining Chamber of Mexico,  the Association of Mining Engineers Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico, who became interested in implementing this method at different mines across Mexico. 

“We are proud to be acknowledged for our work here at Pinos Altos. We have the opportunity to generate real value in reforestation, reaffirming our commitment and responsibility to the environment and the community.” comments Blanca Paola Cazares, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Manager. 

In addition to being of great ecological value to the region, this innovative project has the potential to make an even greater positive impact in Mexico and in reclamation in the mining industry across the globe! This winning idea has had a positive influence on the ecosystem; has garnered Agnico Eagle one of the most respected accolades in the industry; and has raised the bar for corporate responsibility when it comes to environmental leadership in the mining industry.  

TSM is a performance-based program whereby mining operations evaluate, manage and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities. The program’s main objective focuses on enabling mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way and it has been highly successful in encouraging more sustainable practices in mining. TSM has been formally adopted by mining associations in several countries outside of Canada which include Spain, Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil, Finland, Botswana and, most recently, Norway. Each year, the TSM Excellence Awards honour companies who have done exemplary work in ensuring responsible mining practices.

“MAC’s TSM Excellence Awards represent the best of the best when it comes to showcasing the innovative work being done by Canadian mining on innovation in environmental stewardship and community engagement,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of MAC. “We are extremely proud of what both Cameco and Agnico Eagle have been able to accomplish as they highlight what is possible and achievable in terms of sustainable and collaborative practices in our sector.”

Established in 2014, the TSM Excellence Awards include the TSM Environmental Excellence Award and the TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award. To be eligible for the awards, mining companies must be actively implementing the TSM initiative. TSM is overseen by the Community of Interest Advisory (COI) Panel, which consists of individuals from Canada’s three Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, labour representatives, individuals involved in finance, local mining communities, social and faith-based organizations, academics and those involved in international development. The COI panel provides guidance and advice on the development and maintenance of TSM and annually selects the winners of the TSM Excellence Awards.

“There are many innovative projects and initiatives that expand and promote sustainable development within the mining sector and this year’s TSM Excellence Award winners have shown what is possible when it comes to effective community engagement and environmental stewardship in our industry,” concluded Gratton.

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