With diesel prices rising in tandem with oil prices, the quest for sustainability has pushed many companies to look closely at their energy usage
About a 10-hour drive northwest of Toronto, in an area with no history of mining and little exploration, Goldcorp Inc. is tunneling a hole, currently at least 120 meters below the pine tree forests and lakes that dot the surface, for what it hopes will be one of its most sustainable mines yet.
Borden, as the mine is to be called when it starts producing in 2019, will be modest in size at about 250,000 ounces of gold per year under current estimates.
But Goldcorp harbours big ambitions to make it the first all-electric underground mine in Canada where everything from the trucks that haul ore, to the ventilation system that provides oxygen to its subterranean workers, run off energy taken from the electrical grid.
All mines are finite projects, making them in one sense, unsustainable. Still, in an era when countries around the world have pledged to curb carbon emissions, many mining companies are citing “sustainability” as a core value and are making strides to limit their environmental impact.
Barrick Gold, Endeavour Silver Corp. and other companies released reports in the past month that sought to measure their “sustainability” by looking at the impacts to the environmental impacts, community relations, safety records and other metrics.
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