Ontario’s Green Miners Handle Broad Palate of Environmental Issues

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The Ontario Mining Association Environment Committee has representatives from most member companies, who possess a wide spectrum of specialties and tackle a broad palate of issues and concerns.  Under the leadership of Committee Chair Nancy Duquet-Harvey of Northgate Minerals, about 30 of the green miners met recently in Timmins.  The group had an extremely full agenda in the session, which followed the second Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium and Field Trip.

The OMA Environment Committee regularly deals with the Ministry of Environment and handles both analysis of proposed legislation and regulations and proactively develops programs, protocols and, in some cases, computer software to improve environmental performance and reporting of member companies.  The group makes it a habit of sharing best practices, communicating well and working co-operatively.  The collective expertise that members bring to the Committee makes it possible to effectively address issues that are highly complex and technical. 

Major items on the agenda for the recent Timmins meeting included responses to the Toxics Reduction Act and the air standards setting process under Regulation 419.  The Committee has made two submissions on the toxics reduction initiative, expressing support for the government´s intent, but concern about provisions for very broad regulation-making powers and the lack of any defined test setting out how “toxic substances” will be identified and designated. 

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Vale School Programs Pass With Honors – by Sergio France

CVRD School Program Almost Ten Years OldThe following article was first published in Engagement, Vale’s magazine for socially responsible and sustainable mining.

CVRD school program approaches its tenth anniversary and celebrates its positive results

 “I now enjoy studying more.  Before the program, I felt embarrassed and had difficulty with some reading.  Now I’m not embarrassed about anything and can read without a problem. “Testimonies like this one by Layla Leite Soares, who is ten and a pupil at the Henrique Rodrigues de Barros Hall School, in the district of Penha the Capim, in Aimorés (MG), represent significant pedagogical advances.  And they reflect a host of similar reports in the 24 Brazilian municipal districts covered by the school that Vale (EQV), or “CVRD School program(1), set up in 1999 by the CVRD Foundation (FVRD), in partnership with the Municipal Departments of Education and the Center for Education and Documentation for Community Action (Cedac) (2).

The program was set up to improve public education sector by qualifying and training teachers and pupils.  Today the program covers 450 schools, reaching more than 90 thousand people.  Nearing the end of its tenth year in existence, the program has had significant results, such as in the case of Curionópolis, in Pará  “One of the effects of the project has been the drop in the numbers of students failing their exams in our local schools.  In 2001, around 43% failed – by 2006, this had dropped to 19.5%,” says Maria do Amparo Costa e Silva, the Secretary of Education for the district.

 Although the statistics speak for themselves, the real merits of the Vale School program that go beyond the rise in the numbers of pupils in the public system passing their exams.  The program’s methodology is geared towards the exercise of citizenship and encouragement.  The idea is that to be a citizen in school is to learn about local and universal matters, to be treated with dignity, to have access to up-to-date, quality materials and equipment; to have the opportunities to develop one’s capacities, and to share experiences and opinions. 

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OMA joined by MiningWatch Canada to Support Voluntary Rehabilitation Provisions in Ontario Mining Act

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The Ontario Mining Association is finding allies in its support for a proposal to amend the Mining Act to include voluntary, or Good Samaritan, provisions for the reclamation of abandoned Crown-owned mine sites.  “We commend the Ontario Government for removing the legal barriers to the industry´s hands-on participation in the voluntary rehabilitation of Crown-held abandoned mine hazards by amending the Mining Act and proposing regulations that establish clear rules for undertaking voluntary rehabilitation projects,” said Adrianna Stech, OMA Manager of Environment and Sustainability. 

While it does include some qualifications, it is interesting to note that MiningWatch Canada has also come out in support of this proposed amendment.  “MiningWatch Canada is very concerned about this legacy and supports efforts that will see abandoned mine sites secured and rehabilitated so that current impacts and future risks are minimized,” said Ramsey Hart, Canada Program Coordinator for MiningWatch.  “The proposed regulation to amend (a specific section of the Mining Act) O.Reg. 240/00 is intended to facilitate voluntary rehabilitation of mine sites by companies that have no legal requirement to do so.  We feel this is a helpful step in addressing a daunting challenge and welcome all contributions that the industry can make towards cleaning up its legacy of abandoned mines.”

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Vale’s Brazilian Tree Factory – By Francisco Luiz Noel

Vale plants about six million native trees every year in Brazil throughout its mining operationsVale is a Brazilian mining company that is committed to the protection and scientific knowledge of Brazil’s globally significant biodiversity. Vale protects more than 1.3 million of hectares of primary forests in the Amazonian and Atlantic regions of Brazil and plants about six million native trees per year in its various mining projects throughout the country.  

The following article was first published in Engagement, Vale’s magazine for socially responsible and sustainable mining.

From the Vale Nature Reserve in Linhares (Espirito Santo) come 4.5 million seedlings per year for forest regeneration projects

From seedlings barely a hand’s width in height have come mighty trees that have helped to rescue the green of the Atlantic Forest in various parts of Brazil. This has also been happening in various parts of Espírito Santo’s capital Vitória: on the city’s hillsides and at the Vale Botanical Garden located in the Industrial Port Complex of Tubarão, as well as in the historic Convent of Our Lady of Penha, in neighboring Vila Velha. Natives of Espírito Santo, known as capixabas, have given their endorsement to this growth with the more than 450,000 visits paid to the park since 2004, while seedlings are also being planted in the states of Maranhão, Pará and Minas Gerais. With appropriate environmental technology and tropical silviculture, Vale is contributing to restoration of the ecosystem in the cities where it operates, for the sake of the quality of life and the conservation and safeguarding of biodiversity.

The source of this environmental undertaking is the Vale Nature Reserve, located in Linhares, in northern Espírito Santo. A national model for the planting of seedlings of species from the Atlantic Forest, it has a production capacity of 55 million seedlings per year, involving 800 species from some of the ecosystems of this biome. A great many of the seeds used for this production are gathered in the reserve’s 22,000 hectares – 40% of what remains of the old-growth Atlantic Forest in the state.

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Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium: A Green Mining Success

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The success of the inaugural Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium has cleared the path to make the workshop an annual event.  Close to 60 people representing a number of companies and organizations participated in this event, which was held in Kirkland Lake June 24 and 25.  This environmental event designed to share best practices and new technologies in mine reclamation was organized by the Ontario Mining Association in partnership with the Canadian Land Reclamation Association and Northgate Minerals. 

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the inaugural Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Award, which was won by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for its work on the Kam Kotia property in Timmins.   Though this honour was first presented at the OMA´s “Demographics, Global Markets and the Future Workforce” conference in Windsor, it was re-presented to Dick Cowan, who is retired from MNDM and who was heavily involved in mine rehabilitation in general and the Kam Kotia property in particular. 

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Barrick Gold and World Vision Fight Child Malnutrition in Peru

Photo-Philip Maher, World Vision

In the mountainous rural regions of Peru, malnutrition affects six out of every 10 children. Many children living in poverty subsist on a daily diet limited to basic starches like potatoes, while lacking other essential food groups. This daily diet may relieve hunger, however it fails to support proper growth and development or defend against diseases.

Barrick and World Vision Canada have teamed up with local residents in a collaborative approach to tackle these problems in communities surrounding the company’s mines in Peru. The project started in May 2003, when Barrick made an initial commitment of US$1 million over five years to help impoverished families near its Pierina mine. Building on the success of the first program, in 2007 Barrick contributed a further US$1.3 million to start up a similar project near its Lagunas Norte mine in northern Peru. World Vision has complemented Barrick’s funding thorough its popular child sponsorship program, which is supporting over 3,000 children in these areas.

“Our partnership with World Vision is based on a shared vision of children free from the dangers of malnutrition and illness, with access to clean water and education,” says Greg Wilkins, Barrick President and CEO, “Strong, healthy children are able to perform better in school and can go on to achieve their potential later in life.” 

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Barrick Gold/NGO Partnership Makes Dental Care in Tanzania a Reality

Dentist from Bridge2Aid in Rural Tanzania Photo Supplied by Barrick GoldOver 5,000 villagers living in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria area have received free emergency dental care, thanks to a unique partnership Barrick established with Bridge2Aid in 2003. Bridge2Aid is a British NGO specializing in providing dental care in Tanzania, where experts estimate 70 to 90 per cent of the population have no access to dental care.  

Barrick’s involvement began five years ago, when the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Rob Barbour, recognized that dental problems were becoming increasingly serious at the Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania. In many cases, employees were experiencing significant pain and infection associated with oral health issues. At that time there was only one option: patients were referred to a dentist in Dar es Salaam, over 800 kilometers away. As a result, employees spent more time away from the mine site and productivity began to suffer.

Meanwhile, for other residents living in the Lake Victoria area where Barrick’s mines are located, oral health care was virtually out of reach. This lack of accessible dental services reflects a larger, country-wide trend. Today in Tanzania there is only one dentist for every 300,000 people, in contrast to the United States where there is one dentist for every 1,700 people. Moreover, many economically disadvantaged Tanzanians lack the income to pay for and maintain good oral health.

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Vale Inco President and Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira on Sustainability

Vale Inco President and CEO Murilo FerreiraThe following excerpt by Vale Inco President and Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira is from the Vale Inco sustainability report released last summer. The full report is available at: Toward Sustainability


At CVRD Inco, we believe that our journey toward sustainability involves operating in a responsible manner to our employees and other stakeholders, the natural environment and the communities where we operate.

As a responsible employer, we are committed to treating our employees with dignity and respect, providing opportunities for career development and fulfillment, and always placing safety above all else. In the coming year, we will continue to work diligently as we strive to integrate the people, cultures, policies and guidelines of the former Inco with those of our parent company CVRD.

The year 2006 saw significant accomplishments in safety. For instance, year on-year we achieved an eight per cent reduction in disabling injury frequency worldwide in 2006.

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Mine Rehabilitation in Ontario – By Chris Hodgson

Ed Cocchiarella, Manager Environment Ontario Operations, Vale Inco; Michael Gravelle, MNDM Minister; Gordon Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario; and Chris Hodgson, OMA President
 The Ontario Mining Association represents companies for which environmental stewardship is a cornerstone value. Our members realize that their success depends largely on their ability to help establish healthy communities and sustainable environments in the areas where they operate.

The economic sustainability that mining engenders is often the first thing that comes to mind. Indeed, in northern Ontario in particular, there is little need to explain that mining operations play a vital role in the local economy and community life, often bringing in the investment that leads to the development of essential infrastructure and job creation. A recent University of Toronto study brought this home to a wider audience.

It concluded that the contribution of a single representative mine can have an impressive effect on employment and economic output, and that a large proportion of the benefits stay in the local area.

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