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 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.
“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.
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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