Putting waste to work for the environment

Mine closure planning is an essential part of our stewardship, and we start planning for our departure from the very beginning.

At Cerro Matoso, we’ve been working on this issue for a long time, and we’ve found an innovative solution to a problem we identified some time ago. The concern is that there will not be enough topsoil to rehabilitate the final disturbed footprint at the end of the operation’s life, and to look elsewhere for suitable material would just disturb new areas.

So our Cerro Matoso team partnered with Cordoba University to investigate alternatives, and together we’ve developed a soil substitute from a mix of materials from the mine, refinery and smelter that we previously classified as waste.

After 15 years of rehabilitation research, in-field trials commenced in 2015, and the results have been very positive. We know plants will grow in our ‘new’ soil, and it will also stabilise slopes, so the trials will continue to be expanded. In the meantime, knowing that we can use ‘waste’ as resource will help us refine our closure and rehabilitation plans.