We believe that mining and environmental conservation can co-exist when we manage the impact of our activities. We know that with growth, our potential impacts grow. So does our responsibility - and our stakeholders’ expectations - for applying best practices in biodiversity management to achieve sustainable development.
Biodiversity – the variety of flora and fauna that support an ecosystem – is key to long-term resiliency and health of local environments. Adopting responsible practices with respect to biodiversity management is increasingly important to our stakeholders and plays a key factor in our relationship with local communities, regulatory agencies, and access to land.
Environmental Baseline Studies
At each mine site, we start with a detailed environmental baseline study. This study allows us to get to know each mine’s surroundings through a multi-disciplinary team of experts. We acquire the baseline data we need to recognize, avoid, minimize and manage impacts. The study identifies the local ecosystems, flora and fauna species, and the ecological processes they support.
Biodiversity Conservation Plans
Based on our environmental baseline studies, we create biodiversity conservation plans specific to each site, covering development to closure. The conservation plan follows the “mitigation hierarchy” concept that helps us limit, as far as possible, our negative impacts on biodiversity. This is a sequence of four key actions — avoid, minimize, restore and offset. It provides a best-practice approach to sustainably manage natural resources, with a mechanism that balances conservation needs with development priorities. The conservation plan may include guidelines to avoid water pollution, emission control protocols (air, soil and water), minimize habitat loss, or offset impacts by restoring other degraded habitats.
Each year, and whenever employees and contractors begin to work at a new site, they receive biodiversity training. The training emphasizes care, respect and the importance of following Great Panther’s conservation guidelines at and around the site. It also ensures that our responsibilities for biodiversity management are clearly defined for everyone.
Exploring Technology in Biodiversity
We’re exploring the potential of new technologies to revolutionize biodiversity in mining. Technology includes using night-vision cameras to identify animals in the forest around Tucano, and drones to monitor vegetation recovery in Brazil. Our environmental experts are exploring bio-engineering techniques to induce the growth of pioneer species and shorten seedling timing in Brazil. We use forestry inventory software, and a GPS (Global Positioning System) locates and protects seed-bearing plants and endangered species.