We make considerable effort to limit, control, and monitor the air emissions from our sites.
Every Kinross operation has been designed so that air emissions will not have a significant impact on air quality. Many best practices have been implemented at our operations to control air emissions.
Dust produced from road travel as well as mining and ore crushing is the largest air emission from our operations. It is controlled with surfactants and water sprays, as well as bag houses at point sources. Our proactive efforts to control dust emissions provide a visual first impression of Kinross’ commitment to operational excellence.
Opacity, which refers to the degree that dust obscures visibility, is one way to visually measure non-point source dust emissions. In 2011, we updated our air emissions standard, incorporating a requirement for opacity monitoring. The standard embraces our North American best practices and sets a corporate-wide goal of maintaining our particulate emissions below 20% opacity. Many Kinross employees have been trained to visually measure opacity and recognize when additional particulate emissions controls, which include roadway watering and driving speed reductions, may be required.
Typically, our emissions from thermal processes associated with refining, carbon regeneration, and retorting are not visible. Kinross routinely tests these point sources to determine emissions levels and the adequacy of existing controls. While testing typically reveals very low emissions of metals, in 2008, we identified an opportunity to reduce mercury emissions at La Coipa. La Coipa has subsequently implemented a number of emissions controls and has seen a steady decline in annual emissions. In 2011, La Coipa’s annual mercury emissions were determined to be approximately 17 kilograms, well below legal requirements and in line with industry best practice.
Other common air emissions are the result of hydrocarbon combustion in trucks and other heavy equipment, mobile generators, and other power generation sources. These emissions are primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas. See the discussion in Energy and Climate Change.