Our mines at Fort Knox in Alaska, Kettle River-Buckhorn in Washington and Round Mountain in Nevada, as well as at our reclamation sites, are integral parts of their communities andgo to great lengths to be good neighbours.
In 2011, Kinross’ Fort Knox operation began development of a site donation strategy with the goals of: 1) applying its support more strategically, 2) developing long-term partnerships and 3) fully engaging employees in its social programs. The Fort Knox mine is a major contributor to the community of Fairbanks. Among the programs we supported in 2010 and 2011 were the following:
- Delivered an expanded educational outreach program, meeting with high-school career counsellors, partnering in job fair and career education opportunities to help youth identify potential career paths;
- Donated a $1-million endowment over three years to provide advanced training for mining engineering students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Students and faculty at UAF collaborate with our Fort Knox mine on research projects, and Fort Knox employees regularly volunteer as members of UAF advisory boards;
- Continued its sponsorship of such economic and cultural initiatives as the Alaska Miners Association annual spring conference, Fort Knox’s Resource Development Council conference and the Golden Days parade; and
- Re-launched Fort Knox’s popular mine tours. Six public tours for 300 people were held in the summers of 2010 and 2011. Under a new partnership, registered guests donated $5 to the Fairbanks Community Food Bank for their transportation on the tour buses. In both years, tours were quickly filled and, due to the generosity of participants who often made donations greater than the requested amount, the Food Bank raised approximately $7,000 for 2010 and 2011.
Kinross formed a community investment committee of employees and developed a new community investment strategy in 2011. Through the strategy, we continue to support education, youth activities, and the cultural events that define our communities. We are also seeking to expand long-term, sustainable economic opportunities for local residents and partnerships that focus on infrastructure improvements. Our Kettle River-Buckhorn site provided community support through a variety of initiatives, including:
- Provided $50,000 in financial support to the Ferry County Public Hospital District in 2011. The contribution, together with a second $50,000 donation in 2011, to match community fundraising efforts, helped to provide capital upgrades to the local health facility;
- Donated approximately $20,000 to both the Republic and Curlew school districts for technology upgrades. Kinross’ IT team conducted assessments, reviewing infrastructure, hardware, and software, and completed five-year technology plans for each school. The team also donated time and expertise to assist with installation of equipment and software;
- Provided $24,000 to the Republic School District to help refurbish the children’s playground. The school district playground committee raised another $12,000 to complete funding for phase one of a three-phase initiative. New playground equipment was installed and plans are underway to upgrade other elements of the play area;
- Implemented a “good neighbour” donation program, where we donate $1,000 to multiple local businesses in the area each December. Business owners can use the funds at their discretion to provide store credit for customers who they know are suffering difficult times. This not only provides a boost to the local economy, but also directly helps local people in need. The program has been extremely well received and successful;
- In 2010, Kettle River-Buckhorn began an annual Haul Route Litter Cleanup day, where around 40 employees volunteer to clean over 60 miles of roadside along the haul route from the mine to the mill. Each year, we pick up over 2,000 pounds of litter and separate the aluminum cans to donate to a local youth group to recycle as a fundraiser; and
- Each year, Kettle River-Buckhorn works to educate the community on responsible mining and conservation practices at various community events, including Arbor Day, Conservation Fair, Earth Day, Prospectors’ Days and local fairs.
As the leading employer in the Big Smoky Valley, the remote rural region where our Round Mountain mine is located, Kinross’ financial and volunteer support provides essential resources for education, health and youth initiatives. The Round Mountain expansion and Gold Hill are expected to extend the life of mine to 2019, with production expected to continue from stockpiled ore until 2021 and from the leach pad until 2025. With this longer horizon, Kinross undertook a study to better understand the effectiveness of its donation strategy, with a goal of using its financial support to implement programs in the near term that will enhance the viability of the community after the mine closes. Contributions to the community include:
- Initiated a mentoring program, delivered by Round Mountain employees, directed to high-school students, emphasizing the importance of post-secondary education, as well as teaching essential career skills including resume writing and interview techniques. Employees also continue to contribute their time to coaching football, basketball and track and field;
- Funded the establishment of a new child-care centre. The new 6,000 square foot (560 square metre) space provides dedicated care rooms for babies, toddlers and preschool-age children. The centre also has a fully equipped kitchen, computer stations, a library and outdoor spaces;
- Partnered with local American Legion Auxiliary members to recycle aluminum cans while supporting the community. Cans are collected at locations around the mine site, then transferred off site by Round Mountain staff. Local Auxiliary members transport them to public recycling depots. The funds raised are used to support the Auxiliary’s program to buy toiletries and gifts for veterans living primarily in long-term care or in hospital; and
- As the highest private sector taxpayer in Nye County, Round Mountain remained a significant contributor to funding of schools, road maintenance, libraries, and supports grants for parks and recreational facilities.
At our reclamation sites, we work in consultation with federal, state and local officials, neighbouring landowners, NGOs and communities to develop value-creating uses for former mine sites. In 2011, our Mineral Hill reclamation site received the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award, honouring best practice in mine reclamation. For more information, see Case Study 11: Applying Best Practices in Reclamation and Closure at Mineral Hill.
In 2010, a team of seven employees at our Reno, Nevada office formalized a strategy for community giving initiatives. In 2011, the office supported 16 organizations with financial donations totaling more than $65,000, conducted three community cleanups, and participated in local food and toy drives.