Environment

At Taseko we understand the need for a company to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner, which is the reason we have developed policies that guide our business approach.Sustainability protocols are handled by the company by way of three primary corporate policies each signed by the President and CEO: Health & Safety Policy(PDF); Aboriginal Policy (PDF); and a Environmental Policy (PDF)

Environmental Recognition

Mining & Sustainability Award

On July 12th, 2014 the Mining Association of BC and the Province of British Columbia awarded Taseko-Gibraltar with the Mining & Sustainability award for 2013 at a community event in Williams Lake. The event, attended by Taseko-Gibraltar employees, members of the Williams Lake Indian Band, the Aboriginal Mentoring and Training Association, local government representatives, community supports and many others, celebrated the accomplishments of Taseko-Gibraltar since the Gibraltar Mine restarted in 2004.

Dave Rouleau, Taseko’s VP of Operations stated “It is Taseko’s commitment to Gibraltar and by extension our commitment to this region, the Gibraltar Mine is a state of the art modern mining facility. Gibraltar is a story of sustainability right here in the Cariboo, a story of success and value that results when people work together to realize collective potential.

Metal Mine Reclamation Award

In September 2012, Gibraltar was recognized for its large-scale reclamation projects and progressive reclamation research trials with the Metal Mine Reclamation Award for Metal Mine Reclamation from the British Columbia Technical and Research Committee on Reclamation. Projects included a joint initiative with the Ministry of Forests for a pine tree establishment research program, research using biosolids from Metro Vancouver and wood chips to reclaim the tailings areas, and, the establishment of a pilot wetland to monitor the capabilities in treating tailings.

Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko commented, “A proactive approach to reclamation is a focus at Gibraltar. This award demonstrates the ongoing efforts of our environmental team and illustrates our Company’s dedication to responsible mining. We would like to also recognize the local Xat’sull First Nations reclamation crew for their work on many of these projects. Their participation helped contribute to the success of Gibraltar’s reclamation program.”

Towards Sustainable Mining

As members of The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and the Mining Association of British Columbia, we are committed to working towards best management practice standards, known as Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM), a comprehensive benchmark for the industry. TSM is designed to improve the industry’s performance and practices in environmental, social and economic aspects.

TSM is founded on a self-regulating set of principles encompassing all areas of mining. In practice, it requires members to report on key performance areas in order to remain a certified member in good standing.

Taseko requires conformance with these protocols at our Gibraltar Mine and advanced stage projects.The Gibraltar Mine has integrated TSM into its Environmental Management System (EMS) with ISO 14001 (an international standard) elements addressing key sustainability indicators. These indicators include responsible tailings management, commitment to safety and health with operational practices that result in improved efficiencies and performance, testing and updating of Crisis Management Plans, building extensive systems and guidelines for energy and GHG management and implementing a Biological Diversity Plan at Gibraltar.

Over the last three years, Taseko reported self-assessed TSM levels to both MAC and MABC Associations’ which are reported to the public via this website and within the annual 2015 MAC TSM Progress Report. The TSM marks are set by MAC within a report card-like range of a ‘C’ level to an ‘AAA’ level, with an ‘A’ being the minimum industry objective. Our 2014 self-assessed marks were externally verified by a trained third party and will be publicly reported by MAC in 2015 at the same location linked above. Gibraltar received many verified ‘A’, ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ level scores in 2014 with only two indicators at a ‘B’ level. As part of TSM, certain protocols require public reporting on key performance areas, and we hereby provide the following information for 2014:

Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Management

Energy use for the primary sources of energy at the Gibraltar Mine is detailed below.

Year

Electricity
(MWH)

Diesel Fuel
(litres ‘000)

2013

393,125

30,570.45

2014

478,632

33,605.00


The greenhouse gases associated with this energy use is publicly reported on the Federal Environment Canada Facility Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting website at: Environment Canada.

Over the past number of years, Gibraltar has been upgrading its facilities and increasing its mill throughput from 55,000 tons per day (tpd) to 85,000 tpd. A new modernized mill was commissioned in 2013 and the increased tonnage has resulted in additional energy required for both the milling process and open pit mining activity. Notwithstanding the higher production levels, energy saving projects implemented in 2014 equated to 4.8 GWh/year savings. This exceeded our 2014 TSM performance targets realizing 20% more savings.

We continue to move forward successfully on the path of energy reductions to reduce the operational impact at Gibraltar. These specific energy upgrades, initiatives and systems and guidelines were implemented in 2014:

ENERGY EFFICIENCY UPGRADES

  • A flotation blower upgrade project in Concentrator #1 was completed in 2014. This $600k project was fully funded through BC Hydro incentives. The addition of a variable frequency drive (VFD) to one of the blowers and an upgrade in the automated controls will reduce annual energy usage by an estimated 2,400 MWh/yr.
  • Two compressor projects were implemented:
    • A 50hp high efficiency compressor replaced the old 150hp compressor in the Truck Shop, saving 671,600 kWh/yr and,
    • The SAG mill distribution pump bearings are now being cooled with fans instead of compressed air, saving 1,440,000 kWh/yr.
  • The total savings from compressed air projects implemented in 2014 is 4,707,460 kWh/yr. This was the bulk of the energy savings realized in 2014.
  • Lighting upgrades included two Shovels, the Shovel Rebuild Yard, and Mill #1 Master Control Room, totaling 154,763 kWh/yr and savings of $12,415/yr.
  • The mine engineering group devised systems to reduce the use of explosives in the open pit mine and maintain proper ore breakage by reducing powder factors and maximizing drill yields. With diesel fuel as one of the primary components of the bulk explosives used at the Gibraltar Mine, these initiatives have led to a reduction in diesel fuel consumed for blasting and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • New Motor Policy: all new motors are of premium efficiency and all 50+ horsepower motors have been changed to a high efficiency type.
  • All Gibraltar’s Komatsu 930E (320 ton haul truck) fleet with Cummins engines were upgraded to the Tier 2 engine (improved emissions control) with all trucks completed in 2014, thus reducing CO2 emissions.
We also continued to implement employee bus transportation from the local community of Williams Lake to the Gibraltar Mine; this reduces the number of commuter vehicles coming and going to the site on public highways, resulting in decreased traffic on roads and decreased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2014, 4.8 Giga watt hours (GWH) which is equivalent to $385,000 was saved due to the upgrades put in place with respect to new energy efficient systems.

Other initiatives related to reduction of global energy use include our recycling endeavours. Gibraltar continuously looks for alternatives to recycle waste at the mine site, ranging from large volumes of scrap steel to employee pop cans. An extensive array of recycling programs keeps materials out of the Regional District landfill and follows the BC Hazardous Waste Regulations. The products and volumes recycled and shipped offsite are recorded at the site and a summary of the inventory recycled in 2014 is found below:

2014 Recycling volumes

  • 7,519,610 kg of scrap metal
  • 1,681 Waste Passenger & Light Truck and Medium Truck tires
  • 13,530 kg of cardboard
  • 3,720 kg of office paper
  • 2,570 kg of waste haulage truck batteries, including 1 kg of office batteries (AA etc.)
  • 2,975 litres of waste aerosol products
  • 87 kg of electronic waste
  • 278,675 litres of waste oil
  • 92,275 litres of waste grease and oil products
  • 18,937 kg of crushed waste oil filters
  • 6,355 litres of waste antifreeze
  • $1,226 was donated to various local teams and charities from the can and bottle recycling program at Gibraltar

In addition, at times Gibraltar has equipment that is no longer used and there are disposal procedures to allow for employees and the public to purchase these units for re-use.

SYSTEMS AND GUIDELINES

  • Gibraltar developed an Energy Management Policy, signed by the General Manager which calls for our commitment to continuous improvement in energy efficiency and responsible energy management.
  • A computer based training program (CBT) was instituted in 2014 which provides general education on energy use, greenhouse gases and mechanisms in place to reduce use of electrical and diesel energy. This training is taken by all employees at the site who then sign off on their completion.
  • An Energy Coordinator is employed fulltime by the mine and is supported by B.C. Hydro’s Industrial Power Smart Partner Program. The Coordinator chairs the Gibraltar Energy Management Team (EMT) that meets quarterly to discuss the performance targets, energy consumed and GHG emitted in the quarter and the various programs to reduce energy use, such as the truck idling Guidelines and Management of Change reviews.
  • A Sustainable Energy Management Plan (SEMP) is in place that includes operation wide audits, end-use assessments and identification of energy conservation measures.
  • Gibraltar published Guidelines for Idling Mobile Equipment, which calls for the shutting down of machinery if it is idling for more than 15 minutes. This reduces diesel fuel consumption, air emissions, and hours of engine wear. Throughout 2014, senior management endorsed this guide in the field with all operators of equipment, just as they do safety at the mine site.
  • A Management of Change process at the mine site requires a review of energy matters along with Environmental and Health and Safety concerns for any new project or change in process. This ensures that acquisition of equipment or change in process that requires energy will have a review conducted by the Energy Coordinator to consider energy consumption and the resultant GHG emissions and take appropriate steps to maximize efficiency.

Our verified TSM marks for Energy and GHG management specify two level ‘A’s and one level ‘B’. For the latter, improvements will be made in 2015 which will allow us to incorporate energy data into operator actions for energy intensive processes, such as the SAG mill, and provide additional training to these key personnel.

Biological Diversity Conservation Management

In 2013, a corporate commitment to the conservation of biological diversity through all stages of the mining life cycle was included in the Taseko Corporate Environmental Policy. and in 2014 this commitment was also added to the Gibraltar Environmental Policy.

Gibraltar Mine employees continue to implement the Biodiversity Plan as a key component of activity in mine reclamation programs and in accordance with TSM, consider local wildlife and their habitat, vegetation and mine reclamation planning.

Information about our commitment to biological diversity has been communicated to all mine employees, our COIs, and relevant contractors by way of a company newsletter.

As studies are initiated, additional information on biological diversity on the mine site and surrounding areas is compiled. In addition, our professional field samplers are joined by members of local First Nations to observe firsthand the work that is done in relation to technical field sampling and reclamation.

Verified TSM results for this protocol indicated two level ‘A’s and one indicator at a level ‘B’. More work is planned for 2015 to link the Biological Diversity Plan to our environmental conservation targets, such as providing more vertical (height) structure for wildlife habitat. This is being addressed in 2015.

Aboriginal and Community Outreach

In March, 2012, the Taseko Aboriginal Policy was signed by the CEO and this states that we are “committed to developing mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal Peoples and local communities that are affected by, or that affect, the company’s various endeavors.” The Taseko Corporate Aboriginal Policy and stories of some of these relationships are illustrated on our website.

Regular meetings with our Communities of Interest (COIs), such as local First Nations and community groups, are chaired by Taseko’s Manager, Community and Aboriginal Affairs and/or senior staff from the Gibraltar Mine. These meetings take place with local First Nations such as Xatśūll, ?Esdilagh and Williams Lake Indian Band through formal Implementation and Working Group Committees, and frequently with Chief and Councils of these groups. Community groups, such as the Cuisson Lake Residents and the Cariboo Conservation Society, local governments, Cariboo Regional District, and business groups in the community, are included as COIs.

In 2014, full implementation and training on the StakeTracker(TM) system was completed with both corporate and mine users. The on-line system is utilized to identify COIs and provides a shared system to log and record engagement, greatly improving management of this TSM protocol. This program has been especially useful for consultation with our COI on permit conditions and permit amendment applications.

In this subject area, Gibraltar excelled with three verified ‘AAA’ level marks; which is the highest possible grade, and a level ‘A’ in public reporting. Plans are in place to continually improve Gibraltar’s public reporting by reporting on our responses to COI concerns and to provide opportunities for COI feedback on our public reporting.

Tailings Management

The Gibraltar Environmental Policy includes a tailings management commitment to manage the facility in conformance with the MAC “Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities, 2011”. In addition, an Operation, Maintenance and Surveillance Manual (OMS) that conforms to the MAC Guide is used to ensure the Tailings Facility is geotechnically stable and all permit conditions are being met.

In 2014, tailings management was verified at an ‘AA’ level across the five indicators owing to an internal audit of the Tailings Guide by a trained 3-person audit team from the facility and a corporate audit of the OMS Guide. The Gibraltar tailings management systems were found to be conformant with all elements of both protocols.

Community and aboriginal outreach specifically for tailings was raised up in 2014 due to the nearby Mount Polley Tailings Breach near Likely, BC in August, 2014. This event elicited a great deal of discussion with and presentations to our COIs on tailings structures, Government required Dam Safety Inspection reports and, specifically, Gibraltar’s tailings management system with commitments that ensure public safety and environmental stewardship regarding the sand storage dam. This outreach occurred at community and local government meetings, at local Aboriginal Working Group meetings, and at site tours with First Nation representatives, along with facility and corporate personnel. This confirmed that safety of the environment, personnel and the public is of high priority and is constantly maintained through effective tailings management systems and rigorous emergency response in the unlikely event of issues.

Safety and Health and Crisis Management Planning

Taseko is committed to providing and maintaining safe and healthy working conditions, and to establishing operating practices which safeguard employees and physical assets. As such, all operations are guided by Taseko’s Health and Safety Policy, which is communicated verbally and in written form to all employees and contractors upon commencing any work on Taseko property.

The occupational health and safety program at Taseko’s Gibraltar Mine includes implementation of the Safe Start principles at work and at home; site indoctrination of all staff, contractors and site visitors; mandatory drug testing for all employees and contractors; job specific safety training and orientation; daily ‘tailgate’ meetings; and, field level risk assessments. Education and training of staff with respect to health and safety matters is continual, involving personal health, safe practice and procedures, technology upgrades, job performance and career advancement, and regulatory compliance. Employees at all levels are encouraged to take a leadership role in accident prevention and in safeguarding themselves and others. For all employees at Taseko “it is imperative that there is no job which is so urgent that we cannot take the time to do it safely.”

An instrumental part of the program at Gibraltar is the Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OHSC). The OHSC is a joint committee of management and worker representatives working cooperatively to identify and resolve health and safety issues in the workplace. The committee’s role is to promote safe work practices, assist in creating a safe and healthy workplace, recommend actions which will improve the effectiveness of the Occupational Health and Safety Program, and promote site wide compliance with Regulations.

Safety and health has always been a high-level commitment for Taseko and Gibraltar management. With the credo that: Nothing is more important to the Company than the safety, health and well-being of our workers and their families. Taseko is committed to operational practices that result in improved efficiencies, safety performance and occupational health.

Gibraltar’s health and safety performance was exceptional in 2014, garnering the provincial John Ash Award for safety performance from the Province of BC Ministry of Energy and Mines. The John Ash award recognizes a mine in the province with one million worker hours and the lowest lost time accident frequency, and in this case was realized with more than 1.7 million worker/contractor hours and zero lost time incidents during the year at Gibraltar.

Detailed statistics on health and safety are kept diligently by the site for reporting to government and to ensure that trends are continuously analyzed in order to reduce incidents and improve safety performance. The year to date hours of work, including contractors, along with the Lost Time information is summarized below:

Year

YTD Hours

YTD Lost
Time (LT)

YTD LT
Severity

YTD LT
Frequency

Taseko - Gibraltar

2015

1,408,795

0

0.00

0.00

Taseko - Gibraltar

2014

1,711,467

0

0.00

0.00

Taseko - Gibraltar20131,727,49156.250.58

The verified marks for this TSM protocol are at a level ‘A’ across all five indicators.


Crisis management planning at Gibraltar is described in the Gibraltar Emergency Response Plan (ERP) which is updated on an annual basis and is regularly tested. The ERP is linked to the Taseko Crisis Management Plan, which is maintained in the Vancouver Corporate office for use by the Taseko Crisis Management Team, when required. A mock test of the Crisis Management Plan using a hypothetical tailings breach was completed in 2014 involving Gibraltar, Taseko corporate office, and the Cariboo Regional District. The lessons learned were assimilated into our process for crisis management.

The verified TSM levels for this set of indicators are recorded as a Yes or No and the external verification indicated Yes’s across the board for both locations.

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