OUR ENVIRONMENT

Water | Energy | Climate Change | Air Quality | Tailings and Waste | Biodiversity | Mine Closure Plans

 

OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR ENVIRONMENT

Our goal is to minimize the impact on the environments where we operate and to preserve and restore them for future generations as best we can after mine closure. We work cooperatively with local communities, governments, and other stakeholders to achieve this goal and to learn how to improve our environmental performance.

The application of our Environmental Policy enables us to pursue responsible management of energy, water, emissions, residues and waste, our impacts on climate change and to protect natural resources and biodiversity in compliance with the applicable laws of the countries where we operate.

Environmental Management Systems

Our Caylloma Mine has an ISO 14001 environmental management system in place. ISO 14001 provides tools and standards that guide the management of our environmental responsibilities. Caylloma was first ISO 14001-certified in 2010 and most recently re-certified in 2019 by SGS, a multinational company headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, who provide inspection, verification, testing and certification services.

At our San Jose Mine, the environmental management system complies with ISO 14001; the operation is yet to be certified. The environmental management plans at San Jose are approved by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and meet the requirements of the environmental impact studies authorized by the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) and SEMARNAT.

WATER

Water is a vital resource for life. In cooperation with the local communities, we share the responsibility for caring for water resources and protecting the ecosystems around our operations. 

Mining operations rely on water for many activities, including mineral processing, dust suppression, material transport, and human consumption. Water is valuable and essential, and we are accountable for its rational and reasonable use as well as the prevention of potential impacts on water resources.

Our approach to water management is governed by our Environmental Policy and the approvals and regulations established by the environmental authorities of the countries where we operate. We focus on minimizing water collection and maximizing water reuse as much as possible.

We measure our water management performance primarily by calculating the freshwater collected per tonne of processed ore in cubic meters per tonne (m3/t). Our enduring goal is to reduce the freshwater collection intensity by finding opportunities for improvement.

In 2019, our water collection rate was 0.87 m3/t at our two operating mines and our target in 2020 is to reduce this number by 1 percent to reach 0.86 m3/t.

Water Sourcing at Caylloma

The freshwater source for our operations at Caylloma is the Santiago River. We monitor eight effluent discharge points at the site and report monthly on our water consumption and quarterly on quantitative monitoring results to the National Water Authority (ANA).

Water Sourcing at San Jose

At San Jose, freshwater comes from two sources: rainwater harvesting and mine groundwater recovery. We also access industrial water (treated wastewater) through an agreement with the Municipality of Ocotlan de Morelos. 

We pump treated wastewater to the mine from the Ocotlan Wastewater Treatment Plant for reuse in the operation. Since 2010, this treatment plant has provided approximately 8 percent of the mine´s water requirements. The operation has a closed water circuit and does not discharge effluents.

Participatory monitoring

We conduct participatory monitoring with local authorities and communities, and we identify any type of discharge that could have an impact on water quality. These monitoring activities form part of our plan to ensure that our operations have no negative impacts on the water resources which are important for consumption and economic activities of the region.

At Caylloma, we carry out participatory monitoring three times per year, while at San Jose we monitor on a quarterly basis.

ENERGY

Mining activities consume large volumes of energy. Lowering our energy consumption, increasing our use of renewable sources, and increasing productivity at our operations have both economic and environmental benefits.

At Fortuna, our approach to efficient energy use is governed by our Environmental Policy and we manage our energy consumption in compliance with the approved environmental permits and regulatory frameworks of countries where we operate. 

We measure our energy efficiency by calculating our energy consumption per tonne of processed ore. Our goal is to drive this number lower each year with increased efficiency. In 2019, we reduced energy consumption at our Caylloma Mine from previous years by making improvements to the electric generator equipment and by reducing the use of mine ventilation fans.

In 2019, our energy consumption intensity rate was 0.38 GJ/t at our two operating mines and our target in 2020 is to reduce this number by 5 percent to reach 0.36 GJ/t

Both our Caylloma and San Jose mines use a mix of electrical energy supplied by the national grid and generated by diesel power plants on site. Both the Caylloma mine and the San Jose mine use diesel and liquified petroleum gas, primarily for transport.

Setting a baseline to optimize operations

In 2019, we identified a baseline by measuring and monitoring energy consumption at our two operating mines. In 2020, we plan to set energy efficiency goals and targets and develop energy consumption optimization plans. Energy savings committees will be established to identify opportunities for energy reduction.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Our activities contribute to climate change just as climate change has the potential to impact our operations, our infrastructure, and the availability of mineral resources. To prepare for these impacts, we are assessing our climate change risks, planning adaptation strategies, promoting the efficient use of energy, and adopting practices to reduce our carbon footprint. 

At Fortuna, our approach to managing climate change is governed by our Environmental Policy and we abide by all applicable environmental standards, laws, and regulations in the countries where we operate. As a Company listed on the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges, and subject to such stock exchanges policies and the policies of applicable Canadian securities regulatory authorities, we are obliged to disclose any material risks in our operations, including those associated with climate change. We seek to identify and assess our physical and transitional risks of climate change, and thus manage the impact of climate change on our operations.

GHG Emissions

Electrical power consumption is our main source of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. We use mostly non-renewable energy sources to electrify our operations and fuel our transportation. 

Our goal is to optimize processes aimed at reducing GHG emissions. 

Minimizing GHG emissions is a corporate commitment aligned with our Environmental Policy. We track the intensity of our GHG emissions to help us estimate the overall energy efficiency of our processes and measure the impact we have. 

We do this by measuring the volume of GHG emissions we produce per thousand tonnes of processed ore at both of our mining operations.

In 2019, we recorded lower GHG emissions at both of our operating mines and reduced our overall GHG intensity against thousand tonnes of ore processed. Our target for 2020 is to reduce this rate to 46.52 tCO2eq/kt.

AIR QUALITY

We are committed to minimizing the air emissions that result from the extraction, production, and transport activities we undertake at our mine sites. 

At Fortuna, air quality management is governed by our Environmental Policy and the environmental standards required by the legislation of the countries where we operate. Our goal is to reduce the pollutant emissions produced by our operations and to ensure compliance with the limits established by regulators.

Our mine operations have air quality monitoring stations to measure and record the amount of particulate matter (dust) and gases in the air. At both mines, we monitor particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and the gases, nitrogen oxides (NOX) and sulphur oxides (SOX). 

Steps to improving air quality

At both of our mines, we are taking steps to minimize air emissions.

At Caylloma, we have installed:

  • Road and access road irrigation to reduce the volume of dust stirred up by vehicles
  • Water spray systems and protective covers on the belts in the crusher area to reduce the amount of dust picked up by the wind 
  • A sprinkler irrigation system for tailings storage to reduce particle dispersion

At San Jose, we have installed:

  • Water trucks to control road dust 
  • Particulate matter collectors in the laboratory area
  • Gas scrubber in the laboratory area to reduce acid gas emissions 
  • Safety guards in the plant conveyor belt to reduce particle generation
  • Monitors to maintain the dry stack tailings facility around 14 percent moisture to prevent the dispersion of particles and improve their compression
  • A geomembrane on top of the dry tailings to prevent particle dispersion

TAILINGS AND WASTE

Our goal is to responsibly manage the waste rock, mine tailings and other waste that we produce to reduce our impact on the environment. We are fully committed to managing tailings and waste in ways that prevent and mitigate environmental impacts.

At Fortuna, our management of tailings and waste is governed by our Environmental Policy, our Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard, and our waste management activities follow the regulatory requirements of the countries where we work. 

Improving tailings management

As part of our risk management protocols, we are continually assessing our tailings dam and heap leach facilities management systems.

In 2019, we developed a new Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard for all our tailings storage facilities (TSF) based on guidelines from the Mining Association of Canada and the Canadian Dam Association. The Standard requires that we locate, design, build, operate and close our TSF and our future heap leach facilities (HLF) according to a risk-based approach with site-specific data or as otherwise specified by local regulatory requirements, whichever is more stringent.

Our Tailings and Heap Leach Management Standard focuses on:

  • Integrity: Design, construction, operation and maintenance
  • Governance: By the owner, responsible engineer and engineer of record
  • Monitoring, surveillance and auditing: Including geotechnical instrumentation, and safety reviews and inspections by qualified professional engineers
  • Emergency preparedness and response: Including monitoring conditions, assessing and mapping potential impacts, testing, and training in emergency preparedness

In September 2019, we responded to a call issued by the Church of England Pensions Board and others for a global independent public classification system that monitors the safety risk of mining company tailings dams. Our letter includes an inventory of our existing TSFs and our management of those facilities. Read our reply to the Church of England Pensions Board request for information on Tailings Dam Management here.

We report on the management of our TSFs in our Sustainability Reports each year. In 2019, we reduced our tailings disposal intensity – measured as the volume of tailings that were managed at the surface against the volume of processed ore – to 0.59 tonnes per tonne (t/t), by reusing tailings where possible. In 2020, our goal is to reduce this number by 2 percent to 0.58 t/t.

Waste management

In addition to tailings and waste rock, we also generate, manage and dispose of non-rock waste that we classify into two groups: hazardous and non-hazardous material. In 2019, we generated 1,086 tonnes of waste: 25 percent hazardous waste and 75 percent non-hazardous waste. 

At our mines, hazardous wastes include used oil, hydrocarbon-contaminated solids, empty containers of hazardous materials, including empty reagent cylinders and cardboard boxes from used explosives. Non-hazardous waste includes plastic, cardboard, wood, scrap metal, and organic waste. Our enduring goal is to reduce our overall waste generation and increase reuse and recycling at all our sites.

Our main waste management indicator is the amount of waste we generate per tonne of processed ore. In 2019, we achieved a rate of 0.68 kilograms of waste per tonne of processed ore and our goal is to drive this number lower each year.  

BIODIVERSITY

Mining activities alter the natural features of the local landscape. Our goal is to avoid and mitigate any impact that our activities may have on the diverse species of plants and animals in the ecosystems near our operations.

At Fortuna, our Environmental Policy guides our approach to protecting biodiversity, together with the environmental standards required by the legislation of the countries where we operate. At our operating mines, we have prepared management plans for the protection of biodiversity that are approved by local authorities. These documents include a pre-disturbance biodiversity inventory, biodiversity risk and impact assessments, and a conservation monitoring plan.

We respect areas identified as protected by international conventions, such as the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat, known as the Ramsar Convention.

The habitats in the areas of influence around our operations serve as a shelter for a wide diversity of plants and animals. Many contain species that are protected at the national and international level. 

Protecting plants and animals

At both of our operating mines, we conduct biodiversity monitoring twice per year with specialized consultants. We specifically note the occurrence of plant or animal species included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Reducing land disturbance

The wetland habitats and Andean lagoons near our operations at Caylloma in southwestern Peru are of significant biodiversity value and host protected and migratory species. The Peruvian Government considers these two habitats to be fragile ecosystems according to Article 99 of the General Law on the Environment of Peru.

As part of our environmental commitment, we take preventive actions to protect and conserve the flora and fauna species in these fragile ecosystems. This involves various activities, including regular monitoring and awareness sessions.

MINE CLOSURE PLANS

Planning for mine closure starts before mining begins. It is an integral part of any responsible mining operation, from the earliest stages of planning and development throughout the life of the mine.

Our mine closure actions are governed by our Environmental Policy, the regulations of the countries where we operate, and by international standards that require the environmental and social aspects of mine closure be considered from the beginning of operations.

We have committed to making operational and financial provisions for mine closure, rehabilitation and remediation at our mines. We have set aside US$5 million for closure at our San Jose Mine in Mexico and US$11 for closure at our Caylloma Mine in Peru.

Planning ahead

All our operations have closure plans in place. The dynamic plans are developed at the beginning of operations and include an assessment of the physical conditions (including water quality, soil conditions, and physical, chemical and hydrological stability), biological conditions (including habitats and revegetation), socioeconomic conditions (including stakeholder participation and social programs) and the cultural environment.

Before we cease mining operations, our mine closure plans and financial provisions are updated and approved by the local regulators and endorsed by the Board of Directors. We send progress reports on the implementation of the plans to local regulators each year.

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