IAMGOLD recognizes that protecting biodiversity and sustaining healthy ecosystems are fundamental to the responsible environmental management of our mining projects. Our Zero Harm® commitment is to strive continually for excellence in human health and safety, minimize our impact on the environment, and work cooperatively with our community.
Baseline studies at the Project site created an inventory of the diversity of all livings things on the site, from genetic and species diversity to the diversity of ecosystems throughout the site. As part of this process, we established a plan for environmental controls and actions to conserve any components that have scientific, economic, social, or cultural significance.
We monitor migratory and breeding birds on the site, perform bird surveys, and establish buffer zones in order to protect nesting birds in construction areas. Regular monitoring identifies species at risk. If a species at risk is encountered, construction activities are modified.
A great emphasis has been placed on progressive reclamation and rehabilitation to minimize the overall footprint of the site. Site restoration will be done primarily by returning stripped overburden to selected areas and revegetating with native and prevalent plant species, while identifying opportunities for other ecological enhancements.
IAMGOLD, with other local mining and community partners, has invested in the Mattagami First Nation Fish Hatchery. For almost a decade, Mattagami developed the infrastructure within the community to support this initiative. The main focus is to develop a sustainable walleye population. The hatchery was able to produce and release approximately 250,000 fry (young fish) in its first year. This has increased to approximately 1,000,000 fry released annually.
The hatchery has expanded the community's knowledge and awareness of the local fishery and has grown to include a micro-hatchery within the Mattagami elementary school. The youth participate in incubating the eggs and releasing hatched fry into local lakes. IAMGOLD team members participate in the traditional capture of mature fish during spawning season to support the hatchery process and will continue to support this program as it evolves.
Evidence of eagle nesting activity was reported by employees and contractors in late March and early April of 2021. A strategy was put in place to protect the nest and mitigate the risk of disturbing it. Regular inspection and monitoring of the site continues.
Fish relocation started in August 2020 and will continue throughout construction in various locations across the Project site. Several barriers and culverts have been installed, and dewatering is already complete for a number of water bodies. As of September 2021, fish relocation is complete at the East Beaver Pond and outlet, unnamed pond tributary, East Clam Lake, and Côté Lake.
In preparation for the bird nesting season, the site's environmental team spent more than 1,000 hours placing bird deterrents around key locations at site. Côté Gold consulted with Indigenous communities on the specific bird deterrents used in the polishing pond and Tailings Management Facility area. Items used include reflective panels, audible deterrents, kites, and balloons.