Environmental Commitment

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Air Quality

Air quality is one of the biggest environmental challenges in any open-pit mining operation. Drummond understands this ongoing challenge requires continual vigilance and constant improvement. We have implemented various actions aimed at prevention, control, and mitigation of air quality issues. These actions minimize the generation of particulate matter and maintain emission levels at values that will protect the health of neighboring communities. We have invested significant efforts toward minimizing emissions of particulate material into the atmosphere. Land near our mining operations has been designated as a nature reserve to improve and protect habitat conditions for native species.

To prevent particulate matter, Drummond has implemented multiple control measures. These include controlling the speed of vehicles and loading equipment in different areas of transit and the reclaiming of areas exposed to wind. We regularly wet roads and collection areas using spray tankers. Each month we evaluate the active roads and traffic in each area to create an irrigation plan.

Currently, in Colombia, Drummond manages 30 water tankers to control emissions (largest fleet for a mining company in Colombia), 11 air monitoring stations and 97 rainfall, river, groundwater, and weather monitoring stations. In the areas of mining operation and pushing of material, we use water cannons to wet large areas. Our loadout facilities have pressurized water sprayers to control emission of particles to the air. In our port, water is applied at critical points of transfer and handling.  Our belt system is completely covered, leaving only inspection and maintenance space.

As a complement to air quality management measures, Drummond annually develops dispersion models of particulate matter to understand the current contributions of particulate matter, to anticipate future conditions that may require the application of additional and specific measures to control emissions, and to design irrigation plans.

Actions for Improvement of Air Quality

Augmenting Our Water Tanker Fleet.
In recent years, Drummond  has doubled our tanker fleet, going from 15 in 2010 to a total of 27 in 2012 (19 for the La Loma project and 8 for El Descanso Zona Norte project). This fleet of tankers with a capacity of 22,000 gallons each is the largest in the country for a mining company.

Change of Tread Material on Roads.
In order to reduce the presence of fine particles on roads, the tread layer has been replaced on the perimeter roads, resulting in less atmospheric emissions.

Emission Control of Loading Shovels.
Water cannons have been implemented in order to improve efficiency of dust control in shovel operation. Micro sprinkler equipment optimizes water utilization and controls atmospheric emissions.

Monitoring Network

Drummond continually monitors the effectiveness of our air quality measures through our monitoring network. This network is the first of its kind to be installed in the Department of Cesar. It is comprised of eight stations that monitor concentrations of total suspended particles and of finer particulate matter (PM10) in mining areas and three stations monitoring concentrations of total suspended particles near port operations. Our monitoring network is equipped with self-regulated air-quality sampling equipment that measures every three days. Since the network has been in operation, important investments have been made to include a large area of influence of Drummond projects in the Department of Cesar.

Our laboratory is accredited by the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) for the sampling and lab analysis of air quality measurements.