Interview with the Director of Social and Corporate Affairs of Pan American Silver Peru, Marco Balcázar Balarezo.
Why do you consider it important to promote mining in the regions, as has been done by Rumbo a PERUMIN?
There is currently a great deal of ignorance about the contribution that mining makes to the development of the country, the economic revitalization of its areas of influence, its contribution to closing gaps, the coordinated work with local governments, the stimulation of productive projects based on the potential of the territory, the generation of direct and indirect employment and the high standards of environmental care.
In this sense, I believe that promoting mining is promoting Peru's economic growth and generating a multiplier effect on other productive activities.
What challenges does Pan American Silver Peru face in the development of its activities and operations?
Promoting the inclusion of women in large-scale mining. We consider it extremely important to continue encouraging all kinds of programs that promote more women to enter the extractive sector; for example, Pan American Silver has awarded scholarships to women in the areas of influence of the mining units of La Arena in La Libertad and Shahuindo in Cajamarca through the Talento Mujer program, which seeks to generate the capacities for them to perform tasks that have often been considered men's work.
Another great challenge is to continue with biosafety care, to guarantee the well-being of our employees. To safeguard the integrity of all personnel working at Pan American Silver, we promote continuous hand-washing, the use of double masks, social distancing, cell work, biosafety protocols for the entry of workers to operations, and we constantly share health information through our various communication channels; and not only for workers, we also coordinate with the competent authorities to produce information that is disseminated in the population, promoting personal care to avoid contagion and encourage vaccination, since this is the best protection.
Analysts have highlighted the need to close the gaps in infrastructure and in society in order to reduce conflict. In what way is Pan American Silver Peru contributing to this process?
Pan American Silver has oriented its social investment precisely towards closing the gaps that have been identified by the population and validated in citizen participation processes, either through direct investment, Works for Taxes (Oxl, in Spanish) or in technical support to local governments for the proper use of the canon generated by the Mining activity in its area of influence.
These gaps are clearly prioritized in the project banks at Invierte Pe; classified in infrastructure, health, education and productive projects. They are fundamental pillars for sustainable local development, and aligned with the concept of Social Profitability, which seeks to promote benefit to the populations in the areas where mining operations are developed.
The efficient and effective contribution to this closing of gaps is only possible if we can generate trust by working together in a transparent way. For this we have reviewed all the current commitments and have incorporated future evaluation criteria to ensure that any intervention contributes to this closure.
What environmental and social programs are you currently developing in your areas of operations?
Among the main achievements, Pan American Silver has in recent years implemented sustainability projects in its four mining units in Peru. These include a better management of the use and re-use of water, the protection of biodiversity, energy savings, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the reduction of solid waste. In addition, through safety programs, we are working towards a culture based on good team leader behavior.
We have also achieved a Level A evaluation in the HMS Protocols (towards sustainable mining) for the 2020 period through the MAC (Mining Association of Canada), which has as its guiding principles leadership, rational use of natural resources, excellence, transparency and responsibility towards environmentally and socially responsible mining. Likewise, promoting respect within the framework of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.
Furthermore, we are promoting various productive projects in the areas of influence where the units operate, such as improving avocado cultivation, raising guinea pigs, establishing nurseries for the production of forest and fruit seedlings through which we also generate sustainable employment. In addition, we are implementing agricultural improvements that contribute to family well-being and strengthening livestock capacities, among other activities.
What are Pan American Silver Peru's plans for the second half of this year?
To strengthen our interventions in closing gaps and contribute to the local development of people and communities. This intervention focuses mainly on 3 axes: the development of productive projects, access to Health and improvement in Education. All within the framework of a transparent, cordial and mutual respectful dialogue between mayors, local authorities of the different villages, towns, rural communities, the general population and the company.
On the operational side, to continue to implement technological improvements that contribute to the safety of our workers, as well as to maintain a cost control approach that contributes to the continuity of our operations.
What technological trends are you applying in your mining activities?
The COVID 19 pandemic changed the world, it showed us that as human beings we are fragile and that we have to improve in many aspects, it also taught us that there were tasks that could be carried out remotely and reminded us that the most valuable thing we have is life.
With this vision, we reviewed all of our processes to see where we could incorporate technological innovation that minimizes the exposure of our workers while maintaining operational effectiveness and efficiency. Along these lines, we incorporate drones that collect information from less accessible places in both surface and underground operations, generating better evaluation criteria for more accurate decision-making; we have implemented remote-controlled underground mining equipment with which we operate critical areas. We have also implemented an early warning fatigue and drowsiness system that assesses the physical conditions of surface mine equipment operators in real time. This allows us to maintain high standards of safety and operational efficiency in favor of a Clean Operation that generates Value and that takes care of people.