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In This Issue:


The finalists for the inaugural Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Awards for Community Engagement and Environmental Excellence have been selected and the award winners will be announced on May 12 at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Awards Gala at the 2014 Convention in Vancouver.  

The awards’ first year, a total of 25 nominations were submitted by mining companies that participate in the TSM initiative. Now in its tenth year, TSM is a performance-based program in which mining operations evaluate, manage and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities. The selection committee, comprised of members from MAC’s national community of interest (e.g. stakeholder) advisory panel, selected the finalists based on criteria such as innovation, involvement of and engagement with communities, and project outcomes. TSM performance was also considered as an indicator of the company’s ongoing commitment to corporate responsibility.

“Being on the TSM Awards selection committee was really a pleasure. The quality of the proposals was very impressive from the perspective of their contributions to local development. In fact, deciding on the winners from among them was quite a challenge!”
— Philip Oxhorn, Professor of Political Science and Founding Director of the Institute for the Study of International Development, McGill University

“The nominations for the inaugural TSM Awards for Community Engagement and Environmental Excellence were impressive across the board, and we look forward to announcing the two winners in May at the CIM Convention.  We congratulate this year’s finalists whose projects really resonated with the selection committee for driving world leading environmental and community engagement practices on the ground.”
— Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC
TSM Awards for Community Engagement and Environmental Excellence are intended to acknowledge innovative projects and initiatives that expand and promote sustainable development within the mining sector. For more information about the TSM Awards, please visit
TSM Environmental Excellence Award – 2014 Finalists

Dominion Diamond Corporation/Rio Tinto: Grizzly Bear Monitoring in the NWT 

In response to interest to track regional grizzly bear trends, Dominion Diamond Corporation’s Ekati mine and Rio Tinto’s Diavik mine established the Grizzly Bear DNA program in the Northwest Territories in 2012. The large-scale study encompasses a 16,000 km area around the two diamond operations and will help determine if mine-related activities influence the relative abundance and distribution of grizzly bears over time.

Hair samples are collected and submitted for DNA analysis. The compilation of results in consecutive years will help provide an accurate snapshot of the baseline population study area. The program will be repeated every three years to compare population levels with this baseline to identify trends, such as population growth/decline, size of home range and emigration/immigration of new animals.

This project, which combines scientific research and traditional knowledge, is the largest grizzly bear DNA program in the territory. It was also the first major collaboration between diamond mines in the region. Since the Ekati and Diavik mines started this program, De Beers is also conducting Grizzly Bear DNA programs at the Snap Lake Mine and Gahcho Kué Project.

Syncrude Canada: Innovating Reclamation through Fen Wetlands in Northern Alberta 

In the boreal forests of Northern Alberta where Syncrude has a large oil sands mining operation, fen wetlands are commonplace and, in nature, can take thousands of years to establish.  This peat-forming, groundwater-fed wetland became Syncrude’s source of inspiration as it looked to transform a tailings structure into a thriving wetland in 2007.

With very little information on fen reclamation to refer to, Syncrude established the interdisciplinary Sandhill Fen Technical Advisory Panel to create something that had never been done before, and the Sandhill Fen Research Watershed Initiative was born. The watershed was developed on 52 hectares of sand-capped soft tailings on a portion of what was once a 60-metre deep mine. In all, more than 28 kinds of wetland plants were introduced and vegetation was selected to mirror those in naturally-occurring fens in the area. Construction of the watershed was completed in 2012 and will be closely monitored over the next 10 to 20 years.

This project is still in its early years, but results are extremely encouraging. For example, peat studies show that it is possible to transplant live peat from a natural environment and grow it in a newly- constructed area. Additionally, a number of native plants have successfully taken seed and are growing on their own without having been planted. The information being gathered is invaluable towards improving wetland reclamation best practices for Syncrude and the oil sands industry as a whole.

Vale: Tracking Real Time Water Quality for Communities in Newfoundland and Labrador

Managing risks to waterways is critical to mining operations and the communities that rely on them. Vale’s Voisey’s Bay operation in Newfoundland and Labrador, in partnership with the provincial government, set an industry best practice through the Real Time Water Quality (RTWQ) Monitoring Partnership – a program that provides near real-time (four hour delay) information on water quality of various streams within the vicinity of the mine and mill.

Through this project, water quality data is uploaded via satellite link from four solar-powered stations and can be read online by the public. The information is used by community members to enhance traditional knowledge as the water stage, flow measurements and water temperature can help predict the migration patterns of Arctic Char. Moreover, the provincial government can use the data to inform regulation development, when necessary, and aid in site-specific risk assessments.

In 2003, Vale was the first industry partner to sign on to the RTWQ. In 2012, the partnership was extended with Vale providing more funding and equipment to the program. Data is available since the beginning of mining activities in the area and, in 2012, Vale and the provincial government committed to conducting a thorough review of all years of data.

IAMGOLD: Improving Biodiversity through Village Reforestation in Burkina Faso

The populations around IAMGOLD’s Essakane mine in the semi-desert Sahel region of Burkina Faso are dependent on trees for firewood, food, feed for livestock and traditional medicine. With trees having to be removed to construct the mine, IAMGOLD launched a reforestation program in 2009 to compensate for the loss to local biodiversity and made a goal of 100,000 living trees by the time it ceases operations.

The project emerged directly from exchanges with the local community, and residents were involved from the planning stage through to implementation. To ensure that the plantations flourished, IAMGOLD trained groups of women in nursery techniques. The program demonstrates the positive outcomes that can result from a mining company and communities working together, with the initiative’s success largely attributed to its participatory and community-driven process.

Since the program began, more than 200,000 trees have been planted. Forest areas when the mine ceases operation are expected to be comparable or superior in terms of size, quality and function to those existing on the mining site prior to construction. There is also expected to be a 30% increase in the number of trees considered threatened, rare, endangered or protected in the project zone.
TSM Community Engagement Award – 2014 Finalists

Glencore Canada: Attracting and Advancing Inuit Talent in Northern Quebec 

Situated in the Nunavik territory of Northern Quebec, Glencore Canada’s Raglan mine has made it a priority to attract and retain as many local Inuit employees as possible. To achieve this goal, Glencore launched its Tamatumani program in 2008, meaning “second start” in Inuktitut, which has helped the company increase Inuit employees by 170% and reach a retention rate of 80%.

Built in collaboration with community partners, the program encourages career development of Inuit employees, provides technical training and basic skills training, and supports the integration of new Inuit staff. As part of the initiative, the company created the Inuit Employment Centre, which manages the entire staffing process, maintains a bank of candidates interested in working at the mine and visits Nunavik communities to ensure residents are aware of available positions.

In 2013, Glencore created a new program called RIDE (Rapid Inuit Development and Employment) to complement the Tamatumani program to encourage internal mobility for Inuit employees with high potential. The RIDE program provides personal career development plans, and has developed partnerships with educational institutions to offer Inuit students scholarships, summer jobs and internships. Since the founding of the program, 85 positions have been created for Inuit workers for nearly 30 different types of jobs.

IAMGOLD: Village Market Gardening in Burkina Faso

In the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, home to IAMGOLD’s Essakane gold mine, the climate is desert-like, often reaching 45 ÌŠ C with very little rainfall.  Populations largely rely on livestock breeding and gold mining for their livelihoods. To improve security and combat poverty in the region, IAMGOLD committed to develop alternate revenue sources for communities living near the mine site.

Working with communities of interest, market gardening emerged as an opportunity to broaden revenue sources, while at the same time improve food security and nutrition.  In 2009, 100 women from the relocated 500-member Marganta community adopted the practice using a solar-powered well and water storage system provided by IAMGOLD. This innovation has greatly lightened the women’s workload and has allowed them to water garden beds without worrying about a lack of water.  Two years later, drip irrigation technology was added, which has helped increase production without increasing water use.  Vegetables can now be cultivated year-round, increasing the number of harvests to two to three per year instead of just one.

Since 2009, nearly 400 producers (more than 50% women) have earned additional revenue through market gardening, and many have doubled their annual income.  What’s more, there has been an increase in people choosing gardening over gold panning. The project’s success has also generated much interest by neighbouring villages and other mining companies who would like to replicate it in other regions.

Rio Tinto/Iron Ore Company of Canada: Managing Growth in Labrador West 

The region of Labrador West – comprised of Labrador City and Wabush – is a good example of how mining can create modern towns. As towns develop and grow, however, they can experience pressures like rising housing and transportation costs, a lack of social services and infrastructure, and difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled employees.

In 2006, the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), a division of Rio Tinto, sought to address some of these pressures by establishing a Community Advisory Panel – a grassroots group that acts as a consultative forum for the company. Originally intended to focus on only on Labrador City, IOC decided to broaden the Panel’s scope to cover the entire Labrador West region in light of rapid growth resulting from development in the Labrador Trough. The Panel is currently co-chaired by IOC and Cliffs Natural Resources, and meets regularly to share information and develop solutions that will benefit local communities.

In 2012, IOC took one step further by creating a Regional Task Force to complement the Panel’s efforts. The task force can escalate issues to the government when needed and includes senior executives from IOC, Cliffs Natural Resources and other mining companies, along with senior municipal and provincial government officials.  Together, these groups have generated positive results for the region, including advocating for affordable housing, working to ensure the region has appropriate health and emergency services and community infrastructure, and partnering with colleges to improve education and training opportunities.

Vale: Creating Long-Term Economic Prosperity in Thompson, Manitoba

Established as a mining community in the late 1950s, the City of Thompson has become a regional service hub and gateway to Northern Manitoba. However, economic volatility and the fact that Vale will reduce its operations with the closure of its smelter and refinery by 2015 have underlined the need to broaden and diversify the area’s economic base.

Five years in advance of the partial decommissioning, Vale proactively engaged and fully-funded rePlan to co-launch the Thompson Economic Diversification Working Group (TEDWG), which developed action plans for economic development and diversification over the project’s two-year lifespan. The group was highly collaborative, involving representatives from the Keewatin Tribal Council, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, the City of Thompson, the Manitoba Métis Federation, Thompson Chamber of Commerce, and others.

Communities helped to set all of the group’s priorities, which were focused on addressing economic, social, educational and health aspects and barriers. The group’s actions plans have now transitioned to community groups and stakeholder organizations for implementation. The process represents unprecedented levels of community and stakeholder engagement funded entirely by a mining company nearly five years in advance of a partial decommissioning project to ensure sustainable economic development in the community.

Ten Years of the TSM Initiative

Established in 2004, MAC’s award-winning TSM initiative is now celebrating 10 years of driving performance at mining operations across Canada and beyond.

Over the years, TSM has reached many important milestones and has been recognized by reputable organizations with awards and accolades for its impact in the Canadian mining industry.  TSM has been recognized with awards by the Globe Foundation (2005), the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (2012) and the Excellence in Corporate Responsibility Awards (2013), the latter sponsored by a group of highly-reputable sustainability experts including Green Living Enterprises, the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, CIRAIG (Interuniversity Research Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services), The Natural Step Canada, Jantzi-Sustainalytics, Corporate Knights, Pembina Institute, SustainAbility and Bob Willard.

“It is clear that MAC’s efforts to work with the industry in advancing its sustainability performance and accountability are paying off in significant best practice.”
– Five Winds International (2008)

“…TSM provides valuable and detailed information about an issue that can pose significant operational and reputational risks to mining companies and their shareholders.”
– Irene Sosa, Senior Analyst, Sustainalytics (2013)

TSM has been successful in pushing for continuous progress in the mining sector. The proof is in the results, which have seen steady improvement over the duration of TSM. For a detailed look at the latest facility-level results, download the 2013 TSM Progress Report at

MAC’s Mineral Economics Scholarship Open for Second Year

The Paul Stothart Memorial Scholarship in Mineral Economics is now in its second year. The scholarship, valued at $3,500, was established in 2012 from the generosity of MAC member companies in memory of the late Paul Stothart, MAC’s former Vice President of Economic Affairs. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a Canadian university student who shares a similar passion and talent for mining finance as Paul had. 

Qualified candidates must be studying either a Bachelor or Master of Economics, or a Master of Business Administration at a Canadian university. Students can submit their applications until May 15, 2014 and the scholarship will be awarded for the 2014-2015 school year. 

For more information about the scholarship and eligibility, please visit

Canada Celebrates National Mining Week from May 12-18

Each year, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) marks National Mining Week, which celebrates the important role that the mining industry plays in the lives of Canadians. This includes mining’s role in our economy, the jobs that directly and indirectly support the sector, and of course, the products we depend on in our daily lives in which minerals and metals are the building blocks.

National Mining Week complements other provincial mining weeks that take place across the country throughout the year. Together, these weeks help to underscore the mining industry’s fundamental role in our national economy and in virtually all regions of Canada. 

Mining in Canada – Did you Know?
  • Mining contributes more than $52 billion to Canada’s GDP and accounts for 20% of total goods exports. 
  • Mining companies pay billions of dollars in taxes and royalties to Canadian governments each year. In 2012, this figure amounted to more than $6.6 billion.
  • Approximately 400,000 people are employed in mining across Canada and a projected 145,000 new workers will need to be hired over the next decade to replace retirees and fill new positions.
  • The industry supports the second-largest supply sector in the world behind the United States with more than 3,200 businesses supplying services to the mining industry, including engineering, construction and financial services. 
  • Our nation’s mineral production value in 2012 reached $47 billion and Canada ranks among the top five producers of potash, uranium, aluminum, platinum, diamonds and nickel.
It’s important to note that the Canadian mining industry’s current contributions and presence in Canada cannot be taken for granted. Canada’s strength in the mining industry – and the jobs and economic contributions that go along with it – are not a given. Canada is only one of many attractive countries to mine or to list, and the industry needs the right economic and regulatory ecosystem to thrive.

To learn more about the Canadian mining industry and its contributions to Canada and abroad, read our Facts & Figures 2013 Report at More information on National Mining Week is available on NRCan’s website at
About the Mining Association of Canada (MAC)
MAC is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry.  Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, steel making coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication.
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