The entire mining process at Morro do Ouro, where Kinross operates, is controlled and monitored and complies with the law to ensure the quality of the water, air and soil in the surrounding area. Kinross does not use chemicals containing arsenic or heavy metals, such as mercury, in its production processes, and follows well established mining practices to prevent the release of arsenic during the mining process.
Arsenic is part of the natural composition of minerals found in soil and rocks in certain regions of Paracatu and the geological formation of Morro do Ouro, where Kinross operates.
The entire mining process in Morro do Ouro is controlled and monitored and is in compliance with the law to ensure the quality of the water, air and soil in the surrounding area. It is important to note that Kinross does not use chemicals that contain arsenic or heavy metals, such as mercury, in its production processes.
Kinross follows well-established mining practices to prevent the release of arsenic during the mining process.
Arsenic is naturally present in the ore and remains in its original mineral form. During the mining process, it is disposed of in lined facilities and designed specifically for disposal called “specific tanks”. These tanks are sealed with a waterproof plastic coating (HDPE) and covered with ferric clay. The waste is stored in water to prevent oxidation and the release of arsenic into the air. They do not generate dust.
Very little material containing arsenic is thrown into the main waste dams without coating. Treatment of drainage water helps to maintain arsenic concentration below detectable levels in the main waste dam.
All of our facilities and activities are covered by appropriate environmental impact assessments and authorizations that, in conjunction with Kinross’s own standards and protocols, help ensure that any exposure to arsenic is properly controlled and minimized.
As observed by researchers at the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the University of Queensland, the amount of arsenic in air and soil dust is “negligible”, or less than 5% in terms of global exposure to arsenic in Paracatu.
Regular monitoring by Kinross, as well as an independent review by CETEM, found no groundwater contamination due to Kinross operations.
Dams of San Antonio and Eustaquio Waste
Regular monitoring of the water immediately downstream of the waste dam shows that the levels of arsenic are below the detection level and the water quality is within the legal limits. Kinross monitoring is consistent with the results of the CETEM study, which determined the water quality in the Santo Antônio River downstream of the dam as well within regulatory milestones.
In order for Kinross to be responsible for high levels of arsenic in local rivers, the water quality immediately downstream of the waste dam would necessarily reflect high levels of arsenic, and also above Brazilian legal limits. These streams were subject to uncontrolled informal mining by garimpeiros for almost 300 years, which caused significant environmental damage. This damage, which preceded Kinross, has nothing to do with our operations.