SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY: PIERINA MINE

CIM Montreal 2003
Fernando Rodriguez,
Abstract Pierina mine is composed of an open pit mining operation and processing facilities extracting and recovering gold and silver ore. It is located in Callejón de Huaylas (in the Peruvian Andes), approximately 10 km in straight line of the city of Huaraz, district of Jangas, province of Huaraz, department of Ancash at a height of 4,100 masl.

Pierina is being exploited by Peruvian company Minera Barrick Misquichilca S.A., a subsidiary owned by Barrick Gold Corporation, with headquarters in Toronto, Canada. Pierina’s reserves guarantee a 9-year operation. Its closure and start of definitive restoration is planned for the years 2007 and 2008.

Historically, it has been shown that the metal exploitation can affect negatively the environment when it is not handled adequately. Although contemporary mining operates with clean technologies ensuring water, soil and air quality, there are still difficulties in leaving behind the legacy of mining, known as liabilities.

In Pierina, during the development process of the mining project, certain disturbance was caused to the communities’ life style, as well as to local communities, as it usually happens with projects of major importance, not only in the mining field. But, at the same time, based on the implementation of a community development program included in the Environmental Impact Study, Pierina became a catalyst of other sustainable development activities, providing the necessary technology to benefit in the future the communities located in the area of influence of the operation.

The principle of sustainable development in Pierina is based on the involvement of the communities in their economic and social development, respecting their cultural traditions and values, besides developing education and health infrastructure and programs within the framework of an adequate environmental protection.

SUSTAINABILITY AT CLOSURE
Pierina´s Closure Plan began at the very stage of the project’s design, which objective is: To restore the mining property to an adequate condition to use land for different purposes after mining, compatible with the surrounding environment. This fact differs from past mining practices where the closure and restoration plan was implemented just before closure or simply did not exist.

We are aware that our mining activity is going to leave a chemically and physically stable property, with an adequate land use program, provided that the communities’ participation is encouraged during the closure and restoration process.

Pierina is aware that if we want to be considered as part of the solution and not of the problem, we must double efforts to be observed as a force that promotes the communities’ sustainable development. We are five years short of closing the mine and Pierina’s challenge and role to achieve a sustainable development in the area goes along with the future sustainability of new mining projects in the area and in other regions of the country, developing a clean and technologically modern mining that promotes social programs and totally responsible for the environmental care and preservation.
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