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IAMGOLD and Agnico Recognized for extraordinary environmental and community engagement achievements

Apr 30, 2021

The Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) Community of Interest Advisory Panel has selected Agnico Eagle and IAMGOLD, leaders in Canada’s mining sector, to receive this year’s prestigious Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Excellence Awards in recognition of their innovative sustainability projects focused on community engagement and environmental stewardship.


MAC and its members understand the necessity of mining with a focus on social and environmental responsibility, and Canada’s mining sector is leading in sustainable mining practices through TSM. First established in 2004, this globally recognized program supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators. 


“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, it is clear that mined materials, found in everything from healthcare to low-carbon technology like solar panels and wind turbines, are absolutely essential to our everyday lives and it is important that these mined products be responsibly sourced,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President and CEO.  “The TSM Excellence Awards represent the best of the best when it comes to the work being done by Canadian mining companies to implement innovative and collaborative sustainable practices.”


TSM focuses on enabling mining companies to meet society’s need for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially and environmentally responsible way and it has been highly successful in encouraging more sustainable practices in mining. With TSM’s growing international presence, having been formally adopted by mining associations in several countries outside of Canada, including Spain, Argentina, the Philippines, Brazil, Finland, Botswana, Norway and, most recently, Australia, it is clear that Canada is leading the way in responsible mining practices.


TSM is a mandatory component of MAC’s membership aimed at driving performance improvement and leadership in sustainability. Some mining companies go above and beyond in demonstrating truly innovative community engagement and environmental stewardship practices and are honoured by the annual TSM Excellence Awards in recognition of having done exemplary work in sustainable mining,” said Gratton. “We are extremely proud of what both Agnico Eagle and IAMGOLD have been able to accomplish as they highlight what is possible in terms of best 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 Panel, which consists of individuals from Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, labour representatives, individuals involved in finance, local mining communities, social and faith-based organizations, academics and those involved in international development. The Advisory Panel provides guidance and advice on the development and implementation of TSM and selects the winners of the TSM Excellence Awards.



Agnico Eagle’s Drinking Water Distribution Network Initiative Enhances Local Community’s Health and Wellness


Access to clean, fresh drinking water is one of the most essential components of human life. Without it, the ability for a community and its citizens to thrive and live healthy and fulfilling lives is next to impossible. Agnico Eagle, a leading Canadian gold mining company, understands this necessity and realized that through innovative low-carbon technology and effective community engagement it could provide instant and continuous supply of clean drinking water to those living near its Pinos Altos mine in Chihuahua, Mexico.


Located only 45 kilometres away from Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos operations, the Community of Yepachic has long had difficulty in accessing drinking water from the springs. Recognizing this, in 2019 the Pinos Altos team, in collaboration with officials from the Municipality of Temosachic, founded the Drinking Water Distribution Networkwhich provides drinking water to over 200 local households through a solar powered pumping system. The 60-cell solar system and electrical grid to power the water pumping equipment provides a sustainable source of clean water that not only services local households, but also essential community services like medical clinics and schools.


This project would not have been realized without the support and input from local community members, who were intimately involved in its design and implementation. Given the success of the Drinking Water Distribution Network, Agnico Eagle has determined that it can be replicated elsewhere and is in the process of expanding the project to serve in other communities, with additional projects currently under consideration.


Through responsible water stewardship, the use of low carbon energy sources and community engagement, Agnico Eagle is leading the way in ensuring life sustaining infrastructure is available for those in need.



IAMGOLD Leading the Way with Innovative Recycling Program at its Essakane Mine


In 2010, IAMGOLD’s Essakane mine in Burkina Faso recognized the need to enhance its plastic waste management given that the region lacked a recycling facility, forcing the mine to bury large quantities of plastic on site. Given this pressing issue, and the company’s focus on sustainability initiatives, the idea to work with a local entrepreneur to support the development of a plastics recycling business to manage waste generated by the mine site was born.


By working with a new plastics recycling company, the mine was able to avoid burying plastic while also supporting the recycling business to shred different types of plastics and bag the resulting granules in reusable bags to be resold. The initiative is particularly innovative in that it not only enhances the management of plastic waste, creates permanent jobs for community members, and is entirely led by the local community, but also can be easily replicated in surrounding communities, resulting in a significant positive impact for the region that far extends beyond IAMGOLD’s operations.


Given the project’s success at the Essakane site, it was important to the company that its reach could be extended to other neighbouring communities interested in environmental stewardship and community engagement. This innovative plastic shredding unit can be replicated in any location, remote or urban, where there is a problem related to the recycling of plastic sheeting and there is no doubt that the recycling company working with IAMGOLD will eventually encompass the collection of plastic waste in the region outside the immediate mine site.


The results speak for themselves. Since its inception, over 65 tons of plastics that had previously been stored on the mine site have been recycled, a massive achievement in reducing the mine’s environmental footprint that has inspired local community members to set up businesses to recycle other types of waste, all of which will undoubtedly have a far reaching and positive impact.


For more information about the TSM Excellence Awards and past winners, please visitwww.mining.ca/tsm-excellence-awards.

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