Sustainability and Our Business
Q&A with Steve Busby, COO
Q: How do Pan American Silver’s operations approach sustainability?
A: Our operational approach to sustainability focuses on minimizing environmental impacts, protecting ecosystems and ensuring safe and healthy workplaces. We foster conditions that will provide opportunities for local communities to thrive after a mine closes, such as infrastructure and education for both children and adults. Each year, the personnel at our operations set goals to drive performance improvements in specific sustainability areas. In addition, Pan American Silver’s personnel work to develop effective partnerships and collaborations that help advance our sustainability objectives. For example, within the Company our people share innovations in practices and technologies, investing in and adopting those that are suitable for a given mine site’s specific conditions. External to the Company, our people work to establish honest, transparent and lasting dialogue with communities, civil society and government, which is critical for building trust and understanding of the diverse issues and opportunities that host communities face. Establishing trust and understanding is a prerequisite to building sustainability programs that can successfully address the particular needs of each host community. This approach has allowed us to deliver positive community-focused programs over the years, resulting in tangible, shared benefits with our host communities.
Q: In 2019, Pan American Silver acquired four additional operations. At an operations level, what do you see as the key sustainability-related opportunities and challenges presented by this acquisition?
A: Pan American Silver’s greatest strength has always been its people. The acquisition of Tahoe Resources has given us access to new depths of talent, competence, and expertise. The process has also reinvigorated our workforces at the operations and generated a new level of energy as well as a heightened desire to innovate, address challenges, and contribute to the overall success of the Company. I am particularly impressed with the rapid and successful response of our combined organizations to competently address and enhance significant stormwater runoff control systems at the La Arena, Shuahuindo and Timmins mines during 2019. I look forward to seeing where our highly-motivated teams’ energy and enthusiasm will take the Company in 2020 and beyond.
Another opportunity is the ability to leverage existing best practices and innovations from both the Pan American Silver and Tahoe operations, share these across the Company, and improve performance in key areas. For example, the former Tahoe Timmins operation has unique innovations around monitoring – monitoring people, air quality, communications, and equipment. We’re already starting to apply these monitoring processes and technologies at other operations, which will help improve efficiencies and keep our workforce safe.
Our biggest challenge this year has been instilling the Pan American Silver values in the former Tahoe mines and reinforcing them at the original Pan American mines. We invested considerable time and effort in training and conversations around values. Our decentralized approach means that our operations are responsible for delivering on the Company’s sustainability objectives. In doing so, it is essential that the leadership at each operation understand the Company’s values, communicate these values to the workforce, and model these values through decision making and interactions with their stakeholders.
Q: What is the sustainability focus for Pan American Silver’s operations in 2020?
A: I am extremely pleased with the advances that operations made in advancing their sustainability goals during 2019, particularly considering the substantial focus on integrating the Tahoe operations and personnel. Operations will again set their own sustainability goals for 2020 guided by our vision of excellence in sustainable development. We will also continue implementing the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainability Mining (TSM) framework and protocols. Our Pan American Silver sites are on track to achieve TSM A levels in 2020, while our newly acquired Tahoe sites are on track to achieve the same by 2022. And, as always, we will continue working to improve our health and safety performance and to advance socio-economic development programs in local communities.
Pan American Silver’s greatest strength has always been its people. The acquisition of Tahoe Resources has given us access to new depths of talent, competence, and expertise.