- Newmont moves ~ 30 tons of rock and ore to extract a single ounce of gold.
- Newmont currently has 381 haul trucks, which can collectively carry 84,605 tons.
Our Environment Features
Index of Features
- 1 of 5
Working Diligently to Retire Mercury
In support of our mercury management policy, Newmont began permanently retiring mercury in 2011, using different approaches as dictated by country specific regulations.
Newmont does not use elemental mercury for processing at any operation, but it exists naturally in ore at our Yanacocha, Nevada and Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) operations, primarily as mercury sulfide (cinnabar). Our gold-recovery processes recover this naturally occurring mineral as elemental mercury, which can be toxic if not properly controlled.
Previously, Newmont sold byproduct elemental mercury to qualified mercury brokers who would only sell it for use in compact fluorescent light bulbs, switches, relays and other qualified end uses. Now, as the next step in our commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility, we are retiring our byproduct mercury so that it is no longer in circulation in the ecosphere.
Yanacocha is able to ship byproduct elemental mercury to Germany for stabilization and disposal. A German firm processes the elemental mercury with elemental sulfur to produce mercury sulfide, the form that occurs naturally in Yanacocha ore. The stable mercury sulfide is packaged and permanently retired in legacy German salt mines as backfill material during mine closure.
In the U.S., laws prohibit the export of mercury, so we are engaging with the U.S. Department of Energy on storage and disposal options for byproduct mercury created by our Nevada operations. State regulations have mandated since 2006 that all Nevada mines strictly control atmospheric emissions of mercury and report their releases to the Toxic Release Inventory.
Top: Bags of mercury sulfide stored inside legacy German salt mines.
Middle: In Germany, elemental mercury from Yanacocha is transformed into mercury sulfide and stored in legacy salt mines.
Right: Mercury sulfide is naturally found in ore.
The Phoenix, Gold Quarry and Twin Creeks operations have installed maximum achievable control technology to cut emissions even further, and Midas plans to do the same later this year. All of these operations are working to reduce mercury emissions by two-thirds of their 2007-08 baseline by the end of 2013. In Australia, KCGM has managed mercury emissions through a carbon kiln/ mercury scrubber, personal protective equipment and improved ventilation.
The operation is working toward building an ultra-low emission facility that will reduce mercury emissions by at least 90 percent. More information about how Newmont manages mercury can be found at www.BeyondtheMine.com.
May 15, 2012
Hope Bay’s Wildlife Practices Being Adopted
Hope Bay, Nunavut
Hope Bay’s robust wildlife management program has been recognized by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Environment as a model for other Nunavut mining operations to follow.
Hope Bay employees learned a valuable lesson in 2009. Food waste was improperly stored at a camp which attracted and abituated Barren-Ground Grizzly Bears. Through aggressive bear deterrent action, they narrowly avoided having to destroy the animals.
Hope Bay took a hard look at its waste management and wildlife mitigation efforts to avoid repeat incidents. It then:
· Reinforced wildlife awareness in its orientation program
· Established and trained a wildlife response team
· Developed wildlife procedures
· Captured, segregated and incinerated food waste
An independent bear safety audit in 2010 found Hope Bay had made great improvement.
“Waste management at Hope Bay has improved significantly compared to previous site audits,” the auditor said. “(Mine) personnel are to be commended for their efforts. Their continued commitment to these practices will produce positive results, including the prevention of wildlife conflict.”
September 6, 2011
Nevada Wins General Electric’s Return on Environment Award
Newmont is the proud recipient of General Electric's (GE) Return on Investment Award. The award recognizes customers for significantly surpassing and improving environmental and industrial operational goals, while balancing industrial demands.
GE's Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies division recognized Newmont's Carlin operation for its dust suppression activities to reduce environmental impacts. Newmont Nevada has been using GE's DusTreat product on haul roads since 2008. The product prevents dust particles from becoming airborne, and helps reduce water and fuel consumption.
September 6, 2011
Lean Belt Training: Potential to Save Ghana $3 Million
In just a few short months following the completion of Business Excellence Lean Belt training, Newmont Ghana will potentially save $3 million through increased efficiencies.
The training, which involves lectures, simulations and real-world scenarios, equipped 42 employees with the principles and tools to reduce waste and improve process flow with the vision of improving productivity.
Four training graduates have since applied this newfound knowledge for immediate benefit:
- Paul Manestar found a way to reduce planned maintenance shutdowns in the Ahafo Mine, improve gold production and increase the probability of annual plan attainment – an opportunity to save $2 million due to process improvements and waste elimination.
- Gloria Barwuah improved efficiencies in contractor invoicing processing. As a result, invoice errors and omissions dropped from approximately 90 percent to an estimated 5 percent. Her goal is to ensure all contractor invoices are processed quickly with zero errors, and that Newmont supervisors oversee all contractor work.
- Emmanuel Asakpo streamlined the particle size of crushed ore to consistently meet customer product requirements of 140 millimeters or less.
- Stephen Attuah-Oppong evaluated bottlenecks and clarified roles to improve customer service and satisfaction through a warehouse server level agreement.
This spring, Newmont Ghana expects that most of the remaining program graduates will have completed their projects, generating additional savings and efficiencies.
April 18, 2011
Subika Reaches Ore Ahead of Schedule
Thanks to favorable ground conditions and minimal difficulties with water, the Subika underground project team was thrilled to reach ore six weeks ahead of schedule.
To gain a better understanding of the underground mining methods applicable to Subika and an indication of grade variability expectations in the long-term, the team will continue with study work and preparing the first trial stope. The team also is gathering all baseline data needed to obtain a production permit.
April 18, 2011
Finding Ways to Innovate
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
A young engineer at Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines found a simple solution to a potentially critical issue: automation.
Stringent controls on the mine's Gidgi Roaster are required to maintain local air quality requirements. Recently, control room operators found themselves needing to continuously monitor throughput rates to the roaster to ensure it would not exceed roasting limits. Their constant attention to this issue prevented them from completing other important work and led to a stressful work environment.
Lars Christiansen suggested automating the process much like cruise control regulates the speed of a car. His idea led to the development of more consistent and accurate throughput controls. Not only has this maintained air emissions, it also has improved throughput productivity by 1 percent.
April 18, 2011
PTNNT Receives Fifth Green Proper Award
West Sumbawa, Indonesia
It came as no surprise that PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (PTNNT) received the Green PROPER Award from RI Ministry of Environment again in 2010 – its fifth win over a period of 10 years.
The award is given to a business or activity whose environmental management exceeds requirements and employs the principles of reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery of waste. PTNNT was one of 35 companies out of nearly 700 evaluated to earn this prestigious recognition.
April 18, 2011
A High-tech Approach to Water Treatment
Waihi, New Zealand
Due to an average annual rainfall in excess of 7 feet (2,200 mm), and a restriction on discharging treated water, Newmont Waihi Gold – which operates the Martha open pit and Favona underground mines – had to control a surplus (considered a positive water balance) of roughly 260 million gallons of water per year.
The mine has captured on-site stormwater in an extensive network of collection ponds since its mine license was granted in 1987. From there, it treats the water to comply with strict environmental standards prior to being discharged from the site to a river.
In recent years, Waihi has been developing new and exciting opportunities to extend its operational life. These developments expanded the site's footprint, further increasing the volume of water that required capturing, treatment and discharge. As a result, the site was in danger of consuming all available storage space for water.
At the same time, on-site monitoring revealed in 2003 that the quality of stored water was deteriorating. It contained levels of selenium, a mineral found in ore. The mine controlled these levels to maintain compliance, but this compromised the efficiencies of the existing water treatment plant.
As a result, the site was forced to reduce water discharges until other treatment options for selenium could be evaluated. This put water volumes out of balance because the reduced discharges led to more water accumulating in on-site storage areas.
As the Favona underground mine was being developed in 2004, a new problem emerged: the presence of antimony, a naturally occurring metal. Its concentration in the tailings storage facility was increasing at an alarming rate. The site's senior metallurgist, Jake Croall and his team, guided by mill manager Kirsty Hollis, soon realized they could not continuously scramble to find treatment options for individual metals.
"The amount of work we had to do to understand selenium and antimony treatment was enormous," Croall said. "If we didn't find a way to remove these metals, it would have been a different landscape."
To fully understand the problem, the site team enlisted modeling expertise from Newmont's Denver office and from others in Tucson and Brazil to develop a customized, stateof- the-art "dynamic water balance" model. The model took into account 100 years of historical climate data, the chemical makeup of both the ore and processing solutions, as well as the efficiency of the water treatment operations.
The model found the only reasonable solution would be to increase the volume of water permitted to be discharged, a factor beyond the control of the site. Regulators would allow the mine to increase the amount of water it discharged, but only if there was a corresponding improvement in the water quality.
The only way to accomplish this was to install a more technologically advanced water treatment system robust enough to treat a variety of compounds – more efficiently. This would reduce the mass load of water containing metals being released into the environment.
Waihi undertook an exhaustive investigation into potential water treatment technologies. It found an ideal but unusual solution for a mine site: a reverse-osmosis plant. This technology contains an indiscriminant molecular filter that is effective for treating nearly anything. The filter treats water to an extremely pure level – far better than what is required by regulators – which makes it extremely expensive to install ($NZ11 million) and operate.
The site commissioned the reverse-osmosis plant in 2008, and regulators increased the discharge consent later that same year. Slowly but surely the stored water volume was reduced and were once again in balance. The plant also has the capacity to treat more water. Problem solved.
Jake Croall contributed to this story. He was Waihi's senior metallurgist until 2010, but recently transferred to the Malozemoff Technical Facility in Denver. Today, he serves as an environmental process development scientist.
April 18, 2011
Newmont Poised to Make a Difference with Solar
According to an analysis recently performed by Newmont’s Business Planning and Analysis department, on average, Newmont’s energy costs are estimated to be 20 percent of our overall operating costs, and almost 30 percent at some sites. This equates to approximately $761 million in 2010. With that number expected to rise almost 50 percent on a cost per ounce basis through 2020, Newmont is increasing our focus on solar powered energy, setting the foundation to make a positive difference.
In its most basic form, solar energy is defined as energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy. There are two main types of solar energy: Photovoltaic (PV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). PV solar uses panels to generate electricity and CSP uses special mirrors to generate power.
“We have started development of a 20 to 25-megawatt facility in Nevada,” said Cathy Ramsey, director of Renewable Energy. “If determined feasible, the Nevada solar facility can begin operating by late 2011 and possibly expand to a 150-megawatt facility in the future.”
Newmont is also evaluating the benefits of solar at the Tanami mine in Australia. Bryan Williams, APAC climate change principal advisor, also will lead an investigation for the development of a flag ship solar project of two megawatts at Boddington or Tanami. His team plans to collaborate with the potential joint venture partners Newmont is working with in Nevada to develop the business case and partnering strategies for these Australian projects.
“With increasing energy costs in Australia, and a reliance on coal and diesel generation in the mining sector, it makes good sense to seriously consider the benefits of renewable energy such as PV solar at our operations,” Williams said. “Technological advances have reduced the price of solar, and with a carbon constrained economy on our doorstep, it further increases our business case for solar.”
November 30, 2010
Mine Recognized for Water Smarts
One Newmont mine has taken sustainable water use to a new level, earning acclaim twice this year as a result and forging an agreement to ensure an ongoing supply.
Minera Yanacocha recently received the III Social and Environmental Responsibility Prize for outstanding water management at the ExpoMINA Peru 2010 Conference. Earlier this year, the Peruvian Environmental Ministry also awarded the operation with its Business Eco-efficiency Prize for 2010 in the water eco-efficiency category.
The operation also signed an agreement with national and regional government representatives and civil society organizations committing to implement policies for sustainable water use in mining projects and sharing best practices.
Since its development, Minera Yanacocha has worked to store and provide enough water for not only mining operations, but also for nearby landowners and farmers. It built the enormous San Jose reservoir, which – along with Yanacocha's treatment, permanent monitoring and water storage systems – is now linked to rural projects that directly benefit the recipients' agricultural production.
Water from the reservoir also flows to family reservoirs and technical watering systems, which allow agricultural activities to take place throughout the year rather than only during the rainy season.
November 30, 2010