Supporting Local Composting: Taking an Organic Approach to Reclamation in Val d’Or, Quebec

Black gold.  It’s a term often used by gardeners to describe compost, a rich material of decomposed organic waste, which is highly valued for putting vital nutrients back into the soil to improve plant growth and production.

Composting is common among gardeners and those wishing to lower their carbon footprint.  It has also become a common practice for municipalities in helping to lower the amount of waste ending up in landfills.  Every day, we toss away an astoundingly large amount of perfectly good organic waste. Even though this organic material will eventually break down in landfills, it’s commonly mixed with non-organic materials which slows down decomposition.

Municipality compost bins
MRCVO brown compost bin campaign

Surprisingly, compost is not only valued by gardeners, but by Eldorado too.  Eldorado Gold Quebec recently announced a major partnership with the Vallée-de-l’Or Regional County Municipality (MRCVO), enabling our Lamaque mine to acquire more than 15,000 metric tons of compost, produced by residents of the municipality, to assist in the progressive reclamation of the mine’s tailings site.

Eldorado Gold has entered into a four-year partnership with MRCVO, and will invest C$100,000 per year to acquire the organic material. Eldorado Gold Quebec’s contribution will provide more than 15,000 brown bins and 19,000 kitchen bins free of charge to every resident of the area.

Progressive reclamation

This partnership fits perfectly with Eldorado’s vision to undertake the progressive reclamation of its Sigma tailings facility. Sylvain Lehoux, General Manager of Eldorado Gold Quebec, explains why the collection of waste is important to the Lamaque mine.

“We’ll be taking the MRCVO’s compost production and using it at the mine for the purpose of restoring the vegetation on and around our tailings facilities. We would have had to pay equivalent sums to acquire black soil to cover our cells in the tailings pond. However, with this partnership, we are encouraging all residents of the Vallée-de-l’Or municipality to contribute to this collective environmental rehabilitation.”

A win-win partnership

Reseeded area on the mine site.
Established reclaimed area on the west dike of the Sigma tailings facility.

Martin Ferron, Prefect of the MRCVO, is delighted with this partnership, which considerably reduces the financial impact of this new service for the municipality. “Despite becoming a standard in Quebec, the collection of organic materials involves considerable new expenditure for the MRCVO.”

“Although the Quebec government’s Biomethanization or Composting Organic Waste Treatment Program will cover part of the costs, the partnership with Eldorado Gold Quebec allows us both to eliminate the costs associated with brown bins and confirms a local outlet for our compost. We are all winners!”

Sylvain also sees other positive community impacts. “It is with great pride that Eldorado Gold Quebec offers our local residents the free brown collection bins. We will benefit from visibility on all the brown bins distributed and on several MRCVO communications tools. We aim to create real, lasting and tangible benefits for the communities in which we live and work. We believe that this initiative has many environmental benefits for all of us.”

As Eldorado Gold Quebec continues to produce gold from our Lamaque mine, with the help of the community, we’ll be returning ‘gold’ of a different nature back into the ground.

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