Environmental Commitment

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Land Protection

Drummond Ltd. has significantly invested in the protection of land and plant life in Colombia. From our forest compensation plan to our reforestation work in our state-of-the-art nursery facility, Drummond Ltd. continues to set the example for the coal industry. We view our environmental commitment as an opportunity for social development.

Drummond Ltd is currently testing a new method of re-vegetation using computerized equipment called a hydroseeder. This innovation allows a mix of fertilizer, seeds, and mulch (material processed from wood chips) to be made in a tank with 3,000 gallons of water and uses a pump system to cover the areas for re-vegetation.

Drummond Ltd., other mining companies, and the Autonomous Regional Corporation of Cesar (CORPOCESAR) have developed a joint forestry offset and compensation plan. The goal of this plan is to transform the loss of plant layer into an opportunity for regrowth as well as social development. The plan promotes the protection of basins that supply water in an effective and lasting way and at the same time serves as an alternative for economic support of rural people and populations of high basins and areas of the reserve.

Our forestry offset plan favors the processes of habitat restoration, regulation of water flows, ground erosion control, increased filtration of rainwater, capture of carbon, and oxygen production. On a large scale, we focus on maintaining processes of ecological succession in the area and development of programs of a socioeconomic nature so that communities play an ongoing, active role.

In 2010, this project was formed and put into effect by the Pro Sierra Nevada Foundation of Santa Marta, which aims to conserve the protective plant cover of streams and utilize traditional crops to strengthen the wooded areas of the rivers.

In the program, the participating families are recognized as Environmental Protectors. They voluntarily designate part of their land to the conservation process and support water regulation of the Sororia river’s sub-basin. Drummond Ltd. supports nine Environmental Protection Families from the village Argentina Sur, a portion of the sub-basin of the Sororia river. These sponsored families account for 288 hectares of conservation and add to the program total of more than 4,667 hectares.

As a sponsor of this program, Drummond Inc. provides monthly economic incentives. We have also developed workshops to ensure protectors are committed to their work and understand their responsibilities. Among these communication strategies are:

  • Workshop: Corridors for Conservation with the Environmental Protectors of the Serranía del Perijá
  • More than 35 transmissions of the Ecotonos radio program, where Environmental Protection is explained and supported
  • Fire prevention posters
  • Workdays with the Environmental Protectors to coordinate community projects such as roads and rural electrification.
  • Drafting and Distribution of the forest offset program manual for Environmental Protectors
  • Print and distribution of the forestry offset program “LA SERRANĺA”
  • Digital distribution of the forestry offset program e-newsletter

All surface areas within Drummond Ltd.’s property unaffected by mining operations are considered vegetation buffer zones and are protected for future improvement or expansion. Because of their location within the property of Drummond Ltd., these areas are protected from intervention. These barriers mitigate or isolate disturbed areas and facilitate future environmental recovery. The majority of buffer zones are located in the hydraulic circles of the rivers and channels not affected by mining operation. These buffer zones are capable of providing a sufficient supply of plant and reproductive material necessary for repopulation of land surfaces affected. These areas are also conserved as gene banks that will be responsible for disseminating, supplying, and maintaining the genetic diversity of the area.

Our plant restoration plan provides continuous tracking of vegetative cover. We identify the dynamics of plant communities in terms of their productivity (biomass) and their responses to changes in the environment. We also identify dominant populations and species with restricted distribution. Plant succession plot areas correspond to zones where recovery measures will be taken in the rock waste dumps. The plots located in these areas will be used to monitor the effectiveness of the proposed re-vegetation process.

To protect the plant life in and around our areas of impact, Drummond Ltd. has built our own plant nursery. Within this state-of-the-art facility, we cultivate indigenous plants from seeds through maturation and planting.

Seeds are obtained from native trees. Seeds are dried, processed, and stored in properly labeled containers that are placed in a refrigerated room especially constructed for this purpose. The most common seeds collected are: mango, campano, oak, lluvia de oro, cañaguate, carito, and aceituno.

Once prepared, seeds are germinated in beds until they reach maturation. Seedlings with their root balls or with the roots in water in a special container are implanted into fill bags. Bagged seedlings are protected under the greenhouse cover until they adapt.

Once seedlings adapt to the transplanting process they are replanted in growing beds. Depending on the species, young plants are cultivated for three to five months until they reach sufficient maturation to tolerate permanent transplant. The growing beds are under continual supervision for weed control, pest and disease prevention, fumigate, and fertilization. The entire nursery operation plan is coordinated with optimal planting periods to ensure success in the transplanting process.

As a part of our sustainable development and preservation of natural resources, Drummond Ltd. developed our own landscape recovery program. Under this program, our goal is to restore and rehabilitate the vegetation cover in areas affected by our operations. Our plan seeks to recover and improve the areas interceded upon by the mine, nourish the fauna of the region, minimize and mitigate the effects of mining on the vegetation cover, and affect appropriate erosion control in zones with barren conditions.

Steps include:

  1. Recovery of topsoil
  2. Slope stabilization and improvement of areas
  3. Topsoil extension
  4. Fertilization
  5. Ground preparation
  6. Determination of seeds
  7. Sowing of seeds
  8. Seed protection
  9. Tree planting
  10. Quality control review