Raising the Bar: Achieving ICMC Certification in China

Raising the Bar: Achieving ICMC Certification in China

Cyanide management is a core focus of our operating and monitoring activities at our sites that use cyanide to separate gold from ore. We use very dilute solutions, in the range of 0.01-0.05% sodium cyanide, and we have strict protocols and procedures in place for cyanide storage, handling and disposal.

To ensure that our operations are implementing global best practices in cyanide management, we applied to become a Cyanide Code signatory in 2012. The International Cyanide Management Code is a voluntary initiative for gold mining companies aimed at protecting human health and preventing adverse environmental impacts. The Code provides guidance on the safe management of cyanide before, during and after the gold recovery process. Certification involves an independent audit of mining operations to verify that sites’ policies and procedures meet the Code’s rigorous standards. Audit results are made public to inform stakeholders of the status of cyanide management practices at the certified operation.

Our flagship mine, Kişladağ in Turkey, was certified in 2013, and our Jinfeng and Tanjianshan mines became the first two gold mines in China to be certified, in 2015. As part of certification, we developed and implemented additional health, safety and environmental management systems and procedures in order to fully comply with all nine of the Code’s principles:

  1. Production. Our mines use suppliers who limit their workers’ and the environment’s exposure to cyanide.
  2. Transportation. Our cyanide transporters have rigorous emergency response plans and cyanide management practices.
  3. Handling and storage. Our unloading, storing and mixing facilities comply with the Code, with effective ventilation and measures to prevent cyanide from leaching.
  4. Operations. Updated policies and emergency procedures that govern sites’ management and control of cyanide help facilitate its safe use.
  5. Decommissioning. When our operations end, we have stringent decommissioning plans in place to protect human health and wildlife.
  6. Worker safety. From contractors to employees, we consider the exposure risk to everyone on our sites, and work to minimize or eliminate this risk.
  7. Emergency response. In the event of an emergency, our sites are prepared to protect human health and minimize environmental impacts through training and investment in appropriate response equipment.
  8. Training. Cyanide management is the responsibility of our employees and contractors, and their competency, skill and awareness begin with the training we provide them to safely operate with and respond to any issues with cyanide.
  9. Dialogue. We’ve successfully maintained communications with local populations and communities, informing them about our plans and the safety of our facilities.

Despite making significant improvements to cyanide management procedures at our White Mountain mine in China, the site does not currently comply with Cyanide Code Principles 1 and 2 because our cyanide supplier and transporter are not yet signatories to the Code. Rather than switch to a certified supplier, which would result in longer transport times and increased hazards associated with moving dangerous materials over significantly greater distances, our risk assessment resulted in our decision to continue working with our current close-proximity supplier and encourage its improved procedures and adoption of the Code over time.

For more information on the Cyanide Code, please visit: www.cyanidecode.org.

Details 03/24/2015