From exploration to reclamation, mining impacts economies, societies and the environment by producing the materials necessary for modern life. At each stage of the mining life cycle, we work to create value for all stakeholders that will last beyond the life of our projects while looking out for the well-being of the environment. In the second part of this 3-part series, we explore further the various life cycle mining stages at Eldorado Gold.
Construction (3–5 years)
Once a project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) and other permits are approved by relevant government authorities, and we have received a positive decision from our Board of Directors to proceed, our Capital Projects team can begin construction.
Explicit requirements described in the EIA guide our activities and help us manage key social and environmental risks. The construction phase requires the greatest concentration of capital and resource inputs invested over the project’s life cycle, and the Company’s contributions to sustainable development become more impactful as investment increases.
Based on conversations with local communities and businesses, we identify gaps in skills and capacity, provide on-the-job training and, where needed, strive to support local technical schools and universities to enhance their mining-specific trades programs, so that local residents and students can improve their prospects of employment with Eldorado and our contractors.
Everywhere we operate, we focus on local hiring and procurement with the goal of training all employees and contractors in leading environmental and health and safety practices, procedures and controls. These and other skills gained while working for Eldorado can also help workers find employment after a construction project is completed or a mine is closed.
Key Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of Construction
- Land disturbance such as tree clearing may take place in order to construct facilities
- Increased local economic activity can improve infrastructure and access to services, but also create more demands and increase prices for locals
- Significant hiring occurs resulting in economic growth and the creation of indirect jobs
- Environmental protections measures are designed to mitigate the impacts of a project
- Community investments are made in order to assist with social changes brought on by economic growth and share the value of mineral wealth
Mining and Processing (10–20+ years)
During production, our Operations team and site personnel are responsible for mining, extracting and processing ore from our mines. Any leftover materials generated by our mining activities – which typically include topsoil, waste rock and tailings – are either placed in specially engineered facilities for storage and treatment, or reused elsewhere on site as part of construction activities, rehabilitation or underground backfill.
Rigorous environmental monitoring allows us to assess our compliance with environmental regulations and the terms of our operating permits and licences.
The production phase is when Eldorado is able to generate significant value for our stakeholders, including our employees, local communities and governments. Our commitment to local employment and procurement is just one way we help to ensure that the benefits of mining are shared with our host communities.
Key Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of Mining and Processing
- Our operations create well-paying jobs that stimulate local economies, generate further investments and help support local businesses
- Tax and royalty revenues contribute to sustainable development throughout national economies
- We invest in sustainable development programs for local communities, focusing on support for health care, education, economic development and culture with the goal of creating positive impacts beyond our operations.
- Water and energy consumption, dust generation and GHG emissions are typically largest during this phase.
Next, in the last part of this series, we’ll look at Outputs, Reclamation and Closure, and Care and Maintenance. More information can also be found in our 2019 Sustainability Report.