Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are top of mind at El Sauzal, as the mine completes its reclamation process. The site has generated over 1.7 million ounces of gold and has resulted in many benefits to the local people and former employees.
Following the acquisition of El Sauzal from Glamis Gold in 2006, we have been planning a legacy of positive community impact for this remote, mountainous region of Mexico. Planning included immediate and long-term socio-economic contributions and closure strategies for site rehabilitation, and utilizing innovative strategies that have set industry benchmarks.
Prior to the development of El Sauzal, the 2,000 residents surrounding the mine were isolated, with few roads and no electricity. Jobs were scarce, as were safe water sources, medical services and nutritious food. In partnership with local and national NGOs, state authorities and local groups, key community needs were identified through baseline studies, and cultural values were woven into each new initiative. Since then, vital infrastructure, healthcare, education, career training and jobs have been created.
A Clean Finish
Environmental work has been underway since early 2013 to prepare for closure based on regional, financial, legal, social and safety consultations.
The processing plant was dismantled and El Sauzal was the first mine to be recognized by the International Cyanide Management Institute for successfully decommissioning a plant in accordance with the International Cyanide Management Code. We are also partnering with Ecos A.C., a non-partisan, non-profit organization specializing in social and environmental sustainability.
To prevent future acid drainage, the tailings storage area and waste rock dumps were re-contoured, covered and seeded with more than 300,000 natural local plants and grasses. This process involved moving more than five million tonnes of mine waste rock and 1.2 million tonnes of tailings to establish final, stable landforms, and installing over seven kilometres of diversion channels on very steep terrain all around and above the disturbed area of the mine to keep the area dry.
Buildings, camps and facilities were removed and the area has been reforested with native trees and vegetation, as were nearly 1,000 acres of surrounding lands and habitat. Demolition includes removing everything that was brought to the site over the years of operation. There is no infrastructure above ground left behind.
“Mine closure is a positive legacy we leave with our communities and in the land we reclaim. As we now finalize the physical activities at El Sauzal, we have begun the process to monitor the health of the land and the water, while working to return the land to the landowners,” says Chris Cormier, Vice President, Reclamation and Closure.
Our ultimate goal is to come full circle with social and ecological growth that will continue long after the mining cycle.
Watch the video to see this reclamation in action.
For further information on Goldcorp’s commitment to sustainability, visit the 2016 Sustainability Report