Safeguarding the health of the community in Paracatu
For Kinross, the health and safety of our employees and of the community around our operations in Paracatu, in Brazil, and in all our mines around the world, are of utmost importance. We take our responsibility as a good corporate citizen very seriously and adhere to the highest standards of safety, health and environment as a part of our commitment and obligation to operate within regulatory limits, for both the quality of air and water.
Therefore, Kinross rejects the irresponsible and misleading statements made in recent media stories about alleged health effects caused by arsenic, which occurs naturally around our operations in Paracatu. These false accusations are not backed up by facts or reputable scientific data. On the contrary, scientific studies conclude definitely that:
- Mining activities do not significantly affect the overall exposure of the Paracatu community to arsenic, which is a natural element in the area.
- The total arsenic exposure is well below the safe reference level established by the World Health Organization and is lower than the risk associated with consumption of drinking water with safe levels of arsenic.
- It is confirmed that the low bioavailability of arsenic in air particles and sediments, demonstrates that the element is in a form that cannot be easily absorbed by the human body.
Various studies conducted include:
- A 2013 report prepared by respected researchers from Mineral Technology Center, CETEM.
- A 2010-2014 study conducted by a group of world experts of the Federal University of Minas Gerais and the University of Queensland, in Australia, including Professor Jack Ng, a leader in environmental toxicology who helped define the safety standards for arsenic in food at the request of the World Health Organization. Professor Massimo Gasparon, an environmental geochemist whose research has been the scientific basis for the political- Australian positions in the Consulting Meeting of the Antarctic Treaty with regard to environmental impacts in Antarctica, and Professor Virginia ST Ciminelli, a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the Brazilian Academy of Engineering and the American National Academy of Engineering.
- A 2014 study conducted by Luiz Roberto G. William, Professor of Chemistry of Soil and Environmental Toxicology of the Federal University of Lavras stated: “Bioavailability of arsenic in a gold mine area in Brazil: Why is it so low?” (Arsenic 2014, proceedings book and Ono et al., Environ. Geochem. Health, 2011)
Despite the scientific evidence, some media continue to misrepresent the findings and cite unfounded and alarmist allegations that have no basis in scientific data. Professors Guilherme and Ciminelli, corrected the erroneous and distorted reproductions of their research in public .letters to the municipality of Paracatu, which may be read here. They raised this point recently.
As a responsible mining company, Kinross employs a rigorous set of management practices and tools focused on the environment and human health. These include impact assessments, control plans and environmental monitoring in partnership with the local community to ensure the transparency of the process. Environmental performance data are regularly submitted to regulatory agencies for evaluation and monitoring purposes.
We are proud of the strong relationships we have built in Paracatu, and we will continue to strive to be a good neighbor, and thus generate a lasting and positive impact through partnerships in environmental areas, education and the generation of jobs and income. Our commitment to protecting the health of our employees and communities will continue to be our priority.