In Heading to PERUMIN, Pan American Silver's Manager of Environmental Affairs, Pavel Álvarez Espejo, participated with a presentation on the "Strategy for obtaining the first Certificate of Closure of environmental liabilities of the Argentum mine".
He summarized that the process to obtain the Certificate of Closure of the environmental liabilities Morococha, Anticona and Manuelita, located in the surroundings of the Argentum Mining Company’s operations, began with the PCPAM procedure with the Ministry of Energy and Mines (Minem) in 2006, which was approved in May 2009.
At that same moment, the company began the execution of the schedule for closing the liabilities until November of that year. When November arrived, they immediately proceeded with the post-closure stage, which took 5 years until November 2014.
Previously, in 2015, they had requested to the Environmental Assessment and Enforcement Agency (OEFA) the institutional pronouncement on the compliance of the closure of environmental liabilities. Once the post-closure stage was concluded, the authority carried out supervisions without issuing any observations. Thus, finally, in 2021, the mining company obtained the Closure Certificate from Minem.
In this long process that led to the granting of the Closure Certificate, Pan American Silver adopted various strategies that consisted, in short, of reviewing documents, preparing the final closure report, requesting supervision from the OEFA, arranging meetings with this same entity, document follow-up, requesting certification from the Minem, and finally obtaining the Closure Certificate.
But, without a doubt, the stage that marked a before and after in the certification process was the supervision by the OEFA. Pavel Álvarez recalled that at this point it was important to prepare the company to receive the supervisors of the competent authority and verify together in the field the state of the components and their surroundings to rule out damage by third parties, and ensure that they had all the corresponding documentation.
"We got the most out of the [OEFA] supervision in that they verified that the closing activities [of the liabilities] were actually carried out adequately and in accordance with what the study indicates." This specific request, in the words of Pan American Silver's Environmental Affairs Manager, was decisive for OEFA to conclude its work with a favorable opinion of the successful closure of the mining environmental liabilities located in the vicinity of Argentum's operating units.
After the presentation of the information on the closure activities, two meetings were held between the mining company executives and OEFA officials, then with Minem, to present the work carried out in the mining liabilities of Morococha, Anticona and Manuelita, and thus obtain the Final Supervision Report and the Closing Certificate, respectively, from each entity.
A Closure Certificate of this size, in short, authenticates the real fact that the company does not have facilities, effluents, emissions, remains or deposits of waste produced by mining operations, which constitute a permanent and potential risk to the health of the population, the surrounding ecosystem and property.
Post certificate benefits
With the Closing Certificate in hand, Pan American Silver now has an advantageous tool that will give the corporation greater renown with its main stakeholders, as well as the possibility of accessing a letter of guarantee given its excellent credentials.
"The Closure Certificate has allowed us to strengthen the company’s image, free ourselves from socio-environmental conflicts, improve relations with the communities of influence, and reduce our costs and areas to be managed for remediation activities," said Pavel Álvarez.