Mining in Close Proximity to the Community at Paracatu
In our 2009 CR Report, we reported on several initiatives that were underway to address neighbourhood concerns regarding dust, noise, and vibration from pit operations in Paracatu. This is an update on the status of those efforts.
The mine’s southern boundary is two kilometres from Paracatu’s city centre, and almost 600 families live in the neighbourhoods adjacent to the pit (between 200 and 500 metres from the pit limit). To ensure open communications with the community, the Paracatu Stakeholder Committee and a 24-hour community hotline were established in 2009.
We have incorporated a number of measures in our operating practices to reduce noise, dust, and vibration. Some key aspects include:
- Mining operations are planned so that blasting occurs only on weekdays at 4:00 p.m. From time to time, an additional blast may occur on Saturday – but only after consultation with the community;
- Blasting is undertaken with special care to minimize vibration;
- When operating areas of the pit that are the closest to the town, we apply dust suppression to the entire working area, and not just to the in-pit haul roads as we do in areas further from the town;
- We maintain natural barriers (slopes) and curtains of vegetation surrounding the mine, and in one area, we have been able to develop a waste rock pile to create a noise barrier. Some representatives from the closest neighbourhood indicate that since the barrier was constructed they no longer hear the noise from the mine;
- Reverse horns on equipment operating in the pit are turned off from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.;
- Mining operations are planned so that after 10:00 p.m. the primary mining activities are in areas further away from the community;
- A community-based third-party technician monitors noise levels nightly between 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and contacts the mine supervisor if noise levels approach unacceptable limits. Whenever a noise complaint is received, the technician visits the house and measures the noise levels; and
- Whenever a call is received on the hotline, the operations team is notified and equipment is redeployed to minimize impacts.
Another significant improvement since 2009 is the relocation of the new mine access road. In the past, all vehicles going to the mine (including those carrying reagents, equipment, and supplies) travelled through the Amoreiras neighbourhood. In 2009, a new access road was opened outside the city, and mine traffic no longer uses neighbourhood streets for access.
We have also made significant investments in dust monitoring. There are now eight high-volume dust monitoring stations. Working with the community, we have trained local people to participate in the monitoring programs. Hourly data on wind direction and dust content are recorded and posted to a data transfer site that is available to the local agencies.
Regarding concerns about potential impacts of ground vibration from mine blasting, we have conducted a complete study of the neighbourhoods closest to the mine, and found no evidence of blasting-induced cracks or other damage.
We have commissioned extensive community health and epidemiological studies, which have concluded that there is no evidence of increased health risk in these neighbourhoods due to Kinross mining activities. To learn more, see discussion on Epidemiological testing in the Health and Safety section of this report.
There were 169 calls registered on the hotline in 2010 and 231 complaints registered on the hotline in 2011. While some of the variation year to year may be attributed to seasonal changes and dry spells, Kinross recognizes that these issues continue to be a concern of local residents, and we will continue to maintain open channels of communication as we strive to address community concerns about the impacts from dust, noise and vibration in the community.