The effects of climate change around the world are increasingly evident. Pretivm recognizes that climate change is influenced by human activity and requires purposeful action by all of us. As a company, Pretivm has a responsibility to produce gold as efficiently and sustainably as possible and the high-grade nature of the Brucejack gold deposit makes this a very achievable goal.
Energy Use & Efficiency
From the start, we have shown our commitment to reducing our impact on climate change through the efficient development, design, and operation of our facilities. We invested $141.2 million to construct the transmission line that connects the Brucejack Mine to the BC Hydro electricity grid. This greatly reduces our emissions as we run much of our infrastructure—including the mill and camp—on clean energy provided by BC Hydro, with less reliance on diesel-powered generators. At the mill, we have improved energy efficiency by using a pebble crusher as required to improve processing effectiveness, and have installed variable frequency electrical drives and LED lighting.
In 2019, we consumed 762,268 gigajoules (GJ) of renewable and non‑renewable energy at the Brucejack Mine. As we monitor our energy consumption through future years, we will continue to look for opportunities to improve our energy efficiency.
per ounce of gold: energy intensity ratio
0.054 tonnes CO2e
per ounce of gold: GHG emissions intensity ratio
Direct (Scope 1) & Indirect (Scope 2) GHG Emissions (Tonnes of CO2e)
1Indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions data is not available for 2017.
Pretivm continues to look for additional opportunities to increase energy efficiency as well as other opportunities for electrification, particularly where use of electricity from BC Hydro would displace combustion of fossil fuels. For example, we use electric heaters in place of traditional propane heaters. Our efforts to source employees, vendors, and contractors locally results in reduced travel distance and associated emissions. Although we still depend on traditional fuels in some areas, including mobile heavy equipment, our practice has always been to use low-sulphur diesel fuel and pollution control equipment.
In 2019, Pretivm’s direct emissions amounted to 17,751 tonnes of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions. These emissions have been relatively consistent each year in spite of increased levels of operational activity at the site. Pretivm's management of greenhouse gas emissions is greatly supported by the investment in the transmission line that connects the mine site to the provincial power grid. In fact, by providing renewable energy to the Brucejack Mine via the transmission line, Pretivm effectively avoids using diesel-powered generators, and associated emissions, to produce electricty. In 2019, Pretivm's consumption of renewable energy is estimated to have avoided approximately 84,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions from over 31 million litres of diesel fuel.
Pretivm reports annually to the National Pollutant Release Inventory program for criteria air contaminants including carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter (including dust). We manage emissions through our Air Quality Management Plan and associated monitoring programs, and we are proud to have had no exceedances of air discharge permit limits in 2019.
“The high elevation location of the Brucejack Mine in northern BC provides evidence of changing climate conditions and emphasizes the importance of understanding and managing the risks that climate change poses to our business. Be this from the continuous retreat of the Knipple Glacier that forms a portion of ground access to the mine, to the prevalence of wildfires in the heavily forested region that is home to our mine and our work force. We appreciate the associated health and safety, operational, and financial risks this presents and consider these regularly in our risk review process and longer-term planning.”
Jacques Perron, President, CEO and Director of Pretium Resources Inc.
Our remote location in Northwest BC emphasizes how climate change can significantly affect our operations. While we work to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change, we also plan for the practical and logistical challenges that may arise from changing weather and climate. This includes the potential for increased frequency or severity of extreme events, such as high precipitation causing flooding, warm temperatures contributing to wildfires or flooding from rapid snowmelt, and the annual freezing of the Waste Rock and Tailings Storage Facility. These events have real potential to influence our operations, and we carefully assessed these risks and potential impacts throughout the planning and design of the mine. We regularly evaluate changing climate and weather-related risk scenarios, and potential financial implications, within the Brucejack Mine risk register.
The Brucejack Mine access road presents a tangible example of how climate change can affect our operations. A portion of the access road traverses the Knipple Glacier, and our workers, contractors, and suppliers regularly cross this road to access the mine. We work with experienced glaciologists to monitor the condition of the glacier road and overall state of glacial retreat. Records show that retreat of the glacier has been steady in the years we have been present in the area. As the glacier recedes, we must realign the section of road along the glacier and the access ramps on and off the glacier, and we expect that we will need to adjust the alignment again in approximately three years. These realignments were anticipated during project planning and design and are accounted for in the Mine plan and economics.
We appreciate that climate change not only presents risk to our operations, but also to our business overall as well as our stakeholders, including our employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, investors, and local and Indigenous communities. As such, we intend to make continual progress on governance, strategy development, risk management processes, and metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities.
Evaluating Options for Electrification
Pretivm has made a significant investment to connect the Brucejack Mine with the provincial electricity grid, providing clean and renewable energy for many aspects of the Mine. However, underground mobile equipment remains reliant on diesel fuel. We recognize that the electrification of our underground fleet could provide both environmental and financial benefits, including a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and an improved working environment for underground workers.
In 2019, Pretivm completed studies at the prefeasibility level to determine the technical and economic feasibility of converting some of the underground mobile equipment to battery electric vehicles. Based on positive results of the study, we plan to begin operating one battery electric haul truck on a trial basis. The haul truck has a 50-tonne capacity and will displace 1,580 tonnes of scope 1 GHG emissions on an annual basis, compared to an equivalent conventional diesel vehicle. A successful trial program will promote the case for further investment in this technology over the next several years.
With the Brucejack Mine’s existing connection to the provincial grid, we believe that Pretivm is well positioned to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and further contribute to Pretivm being a low-carbon gold producer.