At Alamos, we are committed to preserving the long-term health and viability of the natural environments affected by our projects and operations. We continually invest in new initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint. Our objective is to minimize the environmental impacts of our operations, and to offset any impacts that cannot be fully mitigated or rehabilitated.
Throughout our history, we have met or exceeded international environmental standards related to our activities. In 2015, all our mines operated in compliance with all applicable environmental regulations.
At all our operating mines, ground and surface water quality is continuously monitored. The Young-Davidson mine sources its water from the local Montreal River. El Chanate’s water is sourced from local groundwater, and the water used by the Mulatos mine comes from the Mulatos River and the Yecora aquifer. All water draw related to process water is fully permitted by the relevant regulatory authorities, and in no case does our water draw account for an average of 5 percent or more of the annual average volume of the source water body.
At all of our mines, air emissions are regularly monitored. Our monitoring programs include quarterly sampling of emissions from stationary sources such as power generators, boilers, and furnaces, and continual air sampling in the areas surrounding our mines, to prevent any effects on surrounding communities.
At the Mulatos mine, we have invested significant resources to develop processes and infrastructure for identification, separation and temporary storage of domestic wastes.
All employees are trained in waste management, including minimization, identification, segregation and handling. In 2009, we initiated a Separation of Waste program that trains staff to separate waste for recycling, including cardboard, aluminum and organics (for compost) and scrap for recycling (including iron, copper and manganese). Used oil from vehicles is shipped to co-processing plants for conversion to alternative fuel sources or other reuse. All disposal services contracted by Alamos are performed by companies licensed by the relevant Mexican environmental authorities.
Since every mine will eventually close, reclamation planning is an integral part of mining. To plan for the costs related to closure, we review each of our Mine Closure Plans on an annual basis to ensure there are sufficient funds set aside for its eventual reclamation. At each mine, all activities are completed in accordance with their Mine Closure Plan. These plans are reviewed annually, and amended and updated as required.
As an organization that is committed to returning our properties to thriving, healthy ecosystems, we practice progressive reclamation. We begin to restore disturbed lands, or areas of the leach pad and waste dumps as soon as they are no longer required. Our reclamation includes reforestation, treatment of runoff water, and re-contouring slopes with topsoil and vegetation. Our intent is to complete a significant portion of the reclamation work years before the mine’s expected closure, which has positive effects on our host communities and our employees.
At our Mexican mines, tree planting is an ongoing activity. To provide the trees for reforestation, both the Mulatos and El Chanate Mines run their own nurseries.
Approximately 30 hectares of the Mulatos mine and 35 hectares of the El Chanate mine areas have been reforested and reclaimed to date – far more, in percentage, than the average among our peer companies in Mexico. Working in collaboration with two national reforestation programs – organized by federal environmental authorities – we have participated in wildfire training and rescue brigades.
In Turkey, our projects are still in the development stage. Still, we have already planted more than 14,000 pine trees and 200 kilograms of indigenous flowers. To prevent damage from wildfires, our employees have undergone specialized firefighting training, and we have provided a water tank to local villages as a first line of defense against wildfires.