May 17, 2020

How-To: Turn a Gold Mine into a Botanical Garden

how to
Newmont Mining
Sustainable Initiatives
World Gold
2 min
How-To: Turn a Gold Mine into a Botanical Garden
Sustainable development in mining operations has become a focal point for mining companies. The industry has come under tremendous pressure to improve i...

Sustainable development in mining operations has become a focal point for mining companies. The industry has come under tremendous pressure to improve its social, developmental and environmental performances through environmental stewardship. Newmont Mining is taking it one step further, turning one of its former gold mines into a full fledge botanical garden.

• 6 Sustainable Initiatives You Need to Implement in Your Mining Operations

• How-To: Implement Sustainable Development Principles in Mining

“The reclamation program has been implemented since the mine operated in coordination with the government and involving the local communities,” said David Sompie, President Director of PTNMR.

“We have built a 9km (5.5 miles) water channel, ensuring safe water flow and reducing potential floods, and are planting and maintaining hundreds of thousands of trees on the former mine site.”

In 2011, Newmont’s Indonesian subsidiary, PT Newmont Minahasa Raya (PTNMR), delivered 1,095 acres of revegetated land to the Government of Indonesia, planting hundreds of thousands of trees on the former mine site. Today, the area has become a thriving forest of mahogany, teak, nyatoh, and sengon trees.

The process of turning a former gold mine into a botanical garden isn’t easily achieved. For Newmont Mining, it required numerous approvals and endorsements from local governments as well as the time and resources to evaluate the potential social, economic and environmental impacts.

Future benefits

The reforestation of the former gold mine site has created positive economic and environmental conditions for local inhabitants. It has become a model for carbon absorption (the first of its kind in Indonesia) as well as a tourist destination for thousand of regional and international visitors annually, helping the country accumulate entrance fees and taxes for years to come.

Organizations like the World Gold Council and International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) have created numerous initiatives to assist mining companies in laying the groundwork for sustainable development in operating countries. For Newmont Mining, this is simply one example of how the company striving to improve the long-term environmental, social and economic landscape of countries in which it operates in.

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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