We are committed to treading lightly in the regions where we operate and work hard to minimise our impact on local biodiversity. To this end, as a matter of policy we do not operate in or adjacent to protected or vulnerable areas. We respect, and will not encroach upon, land that has particular value — natural, historical or cultural — for Indigenous Minorities of the North (IMN). We also engage in comprehensive land rehabilitation once we have finished working in a particular area, focusing on the reparation of any environmental damage that our operations may have caused.
Measuring and managing our biodiversity impact
We determine our biodiversity impacts through our regular site-specific biodiversity management surveys. They imply regular studies and monitoring of our mining sites and adjacent areas, which we conduct in collaboration with local scientific institutions.
In addition to scientific monitoring, we have developed a framework to promptly report on any cases related to biodiversity, focusing on those that lead to any wildlife harm or mortalities. This complements annual biodiversity reports prepared at every site within the Environmental Management System. The report includes the list of rare and hunted species found at our mining site or adjacent territories during the year. According to the reports, the most common wild animals species encountered near our mining sites are brown bear, fox, hare, musk deer, duck, capercaillie, mountain sheep, lynx.
Altogether, this helps us analyse our environmental impact on fauna and flora and plan further activities, prioritizing preventive measures over compensatory ones:
- avoiding building on migratory routes or close to environmentally-protected or indigenous peoples’ territories;
- minimising impact to existing sites by adopting safe and clean technologies, such as dry stacking of tailings;
- installing bird deterrents at waste polygons and tailing storage facilities;
- surrounding our open pits with waste rock walls to prevent animals from falling in;
- installing road signs that warn about wild animals;
- planning proper mine closure activities and land rehabilitation;
- planting perennial herbs and trees in adjacent territories;
- educating and engaging employees and communities.
Stakeholder engagement in biodiversity conservation
To increase efficiency of our Environmental Management Program on biodiversity and to identify threats to biodiversity loss, at all stages of mine life, we cooperate, exchange knowledge and experience with local, national and international scientific and expert centers, local communities, state authorities in the regions where we operate. We commit to transparency and open communication while complying with applicable legal requirements.
Responsibility on biodiversity conservation lays primarily on environmental teams, operations management, relevant managers, and on the Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors. Additionally, our communication teams are training and involving our employees and local communities in environmental and biodiversity awareness programs. See more here
Under the legal requirements of countries where Polymetal operates, we are not allowed to mine or produce metals in areas with the highest biodiversity value. Our operations are regularly monitored by state authorities responsible among others for biodiversity conservation and if they detect any negative impact on biodiversity, we will develop measures together with authorities to mitigate these impacts and achieve no net loss.
With mining in boreal zones requiring tree-cutting, in 2021 the Polymetal Board approved a strategy to compensate for any deforestation. Within a year of land clearing, we now plant an area of equal size in the same region and selected by the local government with native tree species. By 2025, we will plant at least 4,400 hectares (8.8 million trees) of new forest.