Coronado recognises its responsibility to ensure environmental impacts are mitigated in all stages of the mining process. We are committed to the conservation of biodiversity and understand the importance of maintaining and planning for a healthy ecosystem, not only for the success of the business, but also for the benefit of communities in which we operate.
As well as forming the foundation of the world’s economic security, biodiversity is essential to maintain healthy ecosystems. Coronado acknowledges its role in ensuring that our impact is managed, and is committed to continual improvement and environmental stewardship.
In Australia the Curragh mine site operates in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 which promotes and mandates ecologically sustainable development through the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. At our Curragh mine site, we currently manage 1,002 hectares of vegetation offsets to balance the impact of the open cut operations and ensure habitat availability for key local species. These offsets routinely undergo bio-condition assessments which measure the functionality of the ecosystem against the biodiversity values of a reference site.
As an active member of the Fitzroy Basin Partnership for River Health, Coronado’s Curragh mine site supports the partnerships goals of independently assessing the health of the waterways that are integral to the prosperity of the region. The Curragh environment team routinely collects water, soil and macroinvertebrate data as inputs into an annual report card. This report card is publicly accessible and allows industry, government, and communities alike to make informed decisions regarding the future of our waterways.
In addition, the progressive rehabilitation program on the Curragh mine site aims to return the post-mining land to viable agricultural and native ecosystems. This rehabilitation is designed and executed with the end goal in sight; a safe, stable, and non-polluting landform that only improves with time.
At Coronado’s U.S. sites, biodiversity is considered early during site evaluation. Endangered plants and animals are protected on a federal level by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service (USFWS) as well as on a state level by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), and similar offices in Pennsylvania. Areas of specific plant and animal habitat are defined in the regions of Coronado’s U.S. operations. For example, trout streams are located in the vicinity of our Greenbrier mine site. Guyandotte Crayfish are a species of interest in the vicinity of our Logan mine site and Big Sandy Crayfish are of interest in the area of our Buchanan mine site.
Interactive mapping tools https://ipac.ecosphere.fws.gov/ are used to identify plants and animal species within specific distances of Coronado’s proposed project areas in the U.S. so that avoidance or protective measures are considered early in the evaluation and design process. In addition to this resource, U.S. regulatory agencies maintain lists of waters that are protected as “trout waters” and as a result are assigned more stringent/protective water quality limitations.
When Coronado develops a project in the U.S. and it is in the permitting stage, its environment team conducts various applicable site assessments such as stream benthic analysis, crayfish habitat surveys, and/or bat surveys to characterize the condition of the area prior to mining. These reports are then provided to U.S. regulatory agencies. If the survey report indicates a protected species in mine site areas, Coronado develops appropriate site specific protection and enhancement plans for U.S. state and federal regulatory review and approval during the permitting process. Coronado’s projects do not advance without required U.S. state and federal endangered species protection approvals.
During the active phase of operation, Coronado is typically required to conduct stream benthic monitoring at least annually to ensure that water discharge control measures are protective of stream health during operations. Coronado is required to develop and implement a remediation plan if a stream shows signs of significant stress, which is approved by the regulatory authority, to maintain receiving stream health.
Coronado’s U.S. approved permits contain reclamation plans that are designed to restore the area as closely as possible to its pre-mining condition. Frequently, our U.S. mine sites are returned to the pre-mining condition of forestland. As a result, post-mining planting plans, intended to support wildlife as well, are designed and sealed by a registered forester. These are reviewed and approved by the applicable U.S. state agency during the initial permitting process. These plans outline the site specific tree species and count for each area. Coronado’s permits are then monitored through the phased bond release process to ensure that adequate grow success is achieved prior to full bond/permit release.