Reclamation and closure
Returning land disturbed by mining to stable and productive post-mining land uses is fundamental to responsible environmental stewardship.
At Kinross, reclamation planning begins before construction and is regularly updated throughout the life of each mining operation. During the life of each mine, reclamation test plots as well as engineering and environmental studies assist us in verifying and optimizing reclamation strategies and plans. Efforts are made to reclaim land no longer required for operations while mining operations are still active.
Working with our stakeholders, reclamation planning entails an extensive analysis of land use options, environmental factors, and community development concerns and objectives. Closure planning is an integral consideration during initial mine planning and is regularly updated as new information becomes available or mining operations are optimized. For example, a preliminary rehabilitation and closure plan for our Tasiast operation has been produced and approved by Mauritanian authorities. As required by the country’s legislation, a final plan will be prepared two years before the cessation of mining; however, plans are progressed annually to address contemporaneous reclamation and closure opportunities as well as to continually refine our strategies and plans.
At the end of 2013, we had five closed sites – DeLamar, Hayden Hill, Mineral Hill, Sunnyside and Champagne – all located in the United States. At each, we continued to advance toward final closure. At DeLamar in southwestern Idaho, significant progress was made toward final closure of the tailings impoundment: surface water inventory has been eliminated, the facility is now free-draining, and the engineered cover is nearly complete.
In 2013, we completed the installation of a cover system consisting of a synthetic liner topped with vegetation over the tailings storage facility at our closed Mineral Hill mine, located in Montana, in order to further reduce, if not eliminate, infiltration of meteoric waters into the facility.
Site Closure in 2013
In October 2013, we temporarily suspended operations at La Coipa and transitioned to care and maintenance. Special attention has been given to preserving equipment at the site and ensuring that environmental controls remain in place. Evaluation of several nearby mineralized zones is underway.
In June 2013, Kinross formally announced that it would be discontinuing development of its FDN project in Ecuador.
For insight into the findings of the social audit, and FDN’s socio-economic contribution and program of social closure in Ecuador, see Looking Back at Kinross in Ecuador.
REMEDIATION AT SUNNYSIDE
In April 2014, Sunnyside Gold Corporation proposed a “Game Plan for the Animas River”, a road map and schedule to improve water quality in the Upper Animas Basin through the collaborative efforts of multiple stakeholders within the Animas River Stakeholder Group (ARSG) framework. Sunnyside has offered to contribute monies to the effort, which will amount to $10 million by the proposed date of implementation of a selected solution. The Sunnyside mine, located near Silverton, Colorado, was acquired by Kinross in 2003 as part of our acquisition of Echo Bay Mines, which operated the mine from 1986 to 1991. Sunnyside has spent almost $15 million on mitigation, remediation and reclamation in the area in order to meet all regulatory environmental requirements and the terms of its Reclamation Permit. Sunnyside is committed to acting as a catalyst to improve water quality in the Animas River.
Sunnyside has worked with, and supported, the ARSG to pursue local solutions to local environmental issues. In co-operation with the ARSG, considerable remediation work has been performed in the area.