UN SDG 15: Life on Land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems

The preservation of biodiversity is a key component of Agnico Eagle’s sustainable development strategy.  Under the Biodiversity Preservation protocol of the Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative, each of our mines is tasked with finding a way to contribute to the preservation of the biodiversity and to leave as small an ecological footprint as possible.

Working for a Sustainable Future:

At our Pinos Altos mine, we have a nursery where we grow local pine and oak seedlings.  The seeds are harvested from the surrounding forest. The ultimate objective of the nursery is to supply seedlings of the same species that were there before the mine started, at closure.  While there are small areas that can be reclaimed with progressive rehabilitation, the nursery – which produces approximately 150,000 seedlings each year – makes a significant difference in the area that surrounds the mine where the forest has either been harvested or was subjected to forest fires.  On an annual basis, with the help of the local population, the forest is regenerated with the seedlings from our nursery.  The nursery also partners with the local elementary school to teach students the benefits of replanting what you harvest.  Near the nursery, Pinos Altos has also created a small educational path with native species, which provides important facts about the different plants and trees and about the fauna that uses it as its habitat. A similar nursery was started at La India in 2016.

In 2015, the Pinos Altos mine partnered with the University of Chihuahua to produce an inventory of all the flora around the mine, including plants used for medicinal purposes.  A book was published that will be used at the university and in the local community to increase local knowledge and respect for the surrounding flora.

As the mining industry explores in progressively more remote regions of the world, we are often surrounded by pristine landscapes, native biodiversity, and sensitive ecosystems.  For years, Agnico Eagle and others who mine in northern areas have gathered baseline information on these rare species and habitats.  However, there are still gaps in our collective knowledge about the impacts on biodiversity, as well as the cumulative impacts of mining. That is why Agnico Eagle is partnering with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) on its Industrial Research Chair on Nordic Biodiversity in a Mining Context at the University du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT).  The Chair’s research project got underway in 2017.  The main objectives of the project are to: understand footprints over the mine life cycle and impacts on biodiversity; avoid risks for biodiversity and develop tools for ecological planning; and, enhance understanding of key species and climate change.