Agnico Eagle Wins 2020 Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Environmental Excellence Award

June 09, 2020

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC), the national voice of Canada’s mining industry, has awarded Agnico Eagle their prestigious Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Environmental Excellence Award!

A first for Agnico Eagle this highly-respected award recognizes companies that go above and beyond in their efforts to implement innovative sustainability projects that focus on environmental stewardship.  

When it comes to environmental reclamation, topsoil; a key material needed in order to reclaim barren industrial sites - like mine waste rock dumps - is always scarce and often expensive to purchase. 

In true collaborative spirit, Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos team rose to this challenge and over the last year has shown what is possible when it comes to effective environmental and sustainable practices in the mining sector, with their state-of-the-art soil regeneration initiative through Ultra High-Density Grazing (UHDG) – that essentially, allows us to produce our own topsoil! 

This agricultural technique consists of herding cattle at regular intervals in a specific grazing pattern along with special livestock feed that improves the cow’s digestion. As the cow leaves its dung and saliva on the ground, it transfers nutrients and microorganisms into the soil - improving soil health and eliminating the need to use topsoil for environmental reclamation while optimizing productive activities for people in the community.

Now, after more than a year of utilizing this method, the pastures are literally greener - with a return of fauna, improved soil quality and density of flora. 

Analyses have shown a substantial increase in soil nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, nitrates, manganese - all promoting the reproduction and diversity of plants as indicated by 44 new plant species. 

As flora begins to grow, wildlife returns. The previous waste zones of the Oberon Weber Rock Storage Facility now welcome whitetail deer, wild turkey, mountain lions, various species of migratory birds and squirrels, among other animals.

Achieving impressive results in its first year, this project has appealed to the Mining Chamber of Mexico and the Association of Mining Engineers Metallurgists and Geologists of Mexico, who are interested in implementing this method at different mines across the country. 

“We are proud to be acknowledged for our work here at Pinos Altos. We have the opportunity to generate real value in reforestation, reaffirming our commitment and responsibility to the environment and the community.” comments Blanca Paola Cazares, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Manager 

In addition to being of great ecological value to the region, this innovative project has the potential to make an even greater positive impact in Mexico and in reclamation in the mining industry across the globe!

Congratulations to everyone (and every cow), involved in this successful project exemplifying our core values and tenets of sustainability, innovation and collaboration. 

This winning idea has had a positive influence on the ecosystem; has garnered Agnico Eagle one of the most respected accolades in the industry; and has raised the bar for corporate responsibility when it comes to environmental leadership in the mining industry.  

Thank you, Pinos Altos, for reaching higher, innovating and leaving a healthy environment for future generations.  Our contribution sets a new standard in environmental protection and reclamation in the mining industry!

Want to hear first-hand what it took to make this project such a success? Watch the video here:

Click here to read our original Eagle Blog about this project entitled “Our Cows Are Green”!

Click here to read the full media release from the Mining Association of Canada.