Socio-Economic Impacts & Benefits
Adaptive Management of Socio-Economic Impacts & Benefits
Pretivm is committed to responsible mining. We prioritize minimizing our impact on the environment, while supporting meaningful jobs and distribution of economic benefits for local communities and First Nations.
Before constructing the Brucejack Mine, we conducted a comprehensive environmental and social impact assessment. Engagement and feedback from local communities and Indigenous groups was an integral part of understanding the local context and potential impacts of the mine and informed the development of management measures to proactively address impacts and optimize local benefits. We regularly consult with Indigenous groups and other stakeholders to re-evaluate and update our management approach so that it evolves with our operations. Our full impact assessment is available on the public registries of the BC Environmental Assessment Office and Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.
Direct employment through the Brucejack Mine generates income for our workers, many of whom are residents of Northwest BC. We also support training and skills development, both at the Mine and through our partnerships with regional and Indigenous training institutions. When selecting contractors to provide goods and services to the mine, we place a high importance on selecting regional businesses to support the Northwest BC economy. We contract both on-site and off-site work, including services such as security, healthcare, underground mining, telecommunications, and transport. Our major contractors at the Mine submit monthly reports that detail the number of Indigenous and local workers employed with their company, so we can track the indirect impact of our activities in the region.
Managing Socio-Economic Impacts
We look to deliver positive impacts such as jobs, training, and business opportunities for local and Indigenous communities from our operation of the Brucejack Mine and we work with communities to minimize potential adverse socio-economic impacts. Our efforts are guided by an Economic and Social Effects Mitigation Plan (ESEMP), which is reviewed and updated annually. The ESEMP outlines the strategies we use to support benefits and minimize potential adverse effects, including strategies for employment, procurement, training, and transportation of workers to and from the Mine. The ESEMP also includes a communication protocol that outlines how we correspond changes and updates to key stakeholders, as part of our broader communications and outreach program.
Our annual ESEMP report is shared with Indigenous groups, municipalities, and provincial regulators; and we review and update the ESEMP to make sure it is effective and relevant to the evolving needs of our communities. Engaging with our stakeholders is important to us because this open line of communication allows for capacity building, information sharing, relationship management, and opportunities for partnership. We document all engagement in a centralized database and track concerns that arise during engagement so we can proactively identify and address impacts or provide a response as is appropriate.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we had to shift our approach to community engagement and rely more on virtual communications. However, our commitment to working with regional communities and Indigenous groups in support of employment, training, and business opportunities did not waver. In spite of the challenges of the pandemic, Pretivm was able to continue operations at the Brucejack Mine with minimal disruption by maintaining jobs, income, and community development contributions for our workers, their families, and communities. We credit our success in 2020 to the strong relationships we have built with our communities and Indigenous partners, and the trust they showed in Pretivm to keep our workers and their communities safe.
The pandemic also presented challenges for our procurement team and business partners. In the initial months of the pandemic, many of our construction projects were delayed or postponed, and related procurement was suspended. However, through open communication with affected businesses and communities, we were able to minimize disruption and reinstate many projects in later months.
Local and Regional Opportunities
We aim to procure supplies and services from regional businesses throughout our supply chain in order to provide economic benefits within our communities. In 2020, we spent CAD$45.7 million on procurement of products and services from businesses based in Northwest BC. Our contractors further support regional businesses through local sourcing of supporting goods and services. Several of our business partners are Indigenous-owned businesses and/or joint ventures (including our largest contractor, Procon).
We worked with more than 270 vendors from Northwest BC for the procurement of goods and services such as food, fuel, waste services, office supplies, vehicles and equipment, trades, and specialized environmental services. This included small and medium-sized businesses based in Smithers, Terrace, Stewart, the Hazeltons, Kitimat, Telkwa, Kitwanga, Dease Lake, Laxgalts'ap, Gitlaxt’aamiks, and Prince Rupert.
With Brucejack as an operating mine, we have invested in our capacity to deliver many services in-house; however, we still rely on external contractors for specialized services such as underground mining, drilling, site security, health and medical care, transportation of mine products and waste materials. As part of our effort to support the regional economic development, we prioritize working with local businesses through these contracts. More information about local procurement highlights and employment through contractors is provided in Our Workforce & Contractors.
Expecting Excellence in Our Supply Chain
We have seen the positive impact that procurement can have on our communities through the locally based businesses and joint ventures that we count on for supplies and services. We continue to invite prospective local contractors to express interest in business opportunities directly to Pretivm, particularly where there are opportunities for innovation and collaboration. We have worked with local entrepreneurs to find or create new business opportunities that can fill a need for the Mine, even when a formal contracting opportunity has not been identified.
Pretivm supports contracting services from local and regional businesses by considering local and Indigenous content in the evaluation of bids and proposals, including plans for partnerships and joint ventures. In addition to the involvement of local and Indigenous workers and subcontractors, our service contracting evaluation process includes strong requirements for health, safety, and environmental performance, to ensure that they can meet Pretivm’s standards of excellence. All other factors being equal, bidders that employ Indigenous personnel and local residents will have an advantage. After all contract requirements are met, Pretivm gives preference to local and Indigenous businesses.
To fulfill our commitment to high environmental, safety, and social standards, Pretivm works with contractors to improve performance in cases of deficiencies. Our on-site contractors provide monthly reports on their workers from regional communities and Indigenous groups, and our Community Relations team works with contractors to strengthen their local content and connect them to job applicants and other local stakeholders where needed.
Direct & Indirect Economic Impacts
Pretivm is committed to supporting local and regional development through operations that support the well-being of people, communities, and the environment. In 2020, we paid $115.9 million in salaries and benefits for our direct employees, of which $33.0 million benefitted employees living in Northwest BC. The Brucejack Mine indirectly employed an additional 558 people through our on-site contractors, supporting local businesses while also generating employment income for communities and families in Northwest BC.
Since we began production in 2017, the Mine has contributed tax revenues for local, provincial, and federal governments, including $9 million in 2019 and $10 million in 2020. These tax revenues in turn strengthen the quality and accessibility of local social and health services, encouraging community growth and development. Pretivm’s support for education and training is another indirect economic benefit, including collaboration with high schools and post-secondary institutions to align students and educators with upcoming needs of the mining industry, as well as financial and in-kind support for training institutions and programs.
We are proud of the continued success of our recruitment programs to connect with Indigenous job seekers. Our annual Snow Removal Team recruitment drive in particular provides coaching and support to Indigenous applicants for seasonal, entry-level positions at the Mine. These roles provide an excellent opportunity for new workers to experience the life of a mine worker for a limited time, while gaining valuable work experience and transferable skills. Many of these workers return for repeat seasons, or successfully move into permanent positions at the Mine. They have shared positive experiences with others in their communities, where job prospects can be limited, building confidence among future applicants, and generating enthusiasm for work in the mining industry. More information about the Snow Removal Team recruitment program is provided in Indigenous Involvement.
Investing in Our Indigenous Partners
Our relationship with Pretivm’s Indigenous partners helps us operate with respect for the environmental and social context within the Brucejack Mine location. We have signed Cooperation Benefit Agreements with the Nisga’a Nation, the Tahltan Nation, and the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs. Under these agreements, we distributed $864,000 in payments to Indigenous groups in 2020, in addition to supporting job opportunities and training to help Indigenous community members build capacity for long-term financial stability. We also work with other regional First Nations.
We support our First Nations partners in the development and implementation of skills and capacity building programs for their members. Our Community Relations team provides in-kind support to the Nisga’a Nation’s Essential Skills Training Program, engaging with Nisga’a youth to educate on the varied careers available in the mining industry, and support the implementation of the program to provide meaningful learning opportunities for all participants. We have also supported the Tahltan with the implementation of their OnTrack recruitment tool, which will facilitate employment through a wide range of employers and industries in the Tahltan territory. Pretivm is further assisting the Nisga’a Nation and Tahltan Nation to establish new apprenticeship programs and partnerships with the Industry Training Authority BC. Pretivm also funds and supports the Employment and Education Coordinator position in the Gitanyow community. The Coordinator provides valuable information on the community’s culture and events, and works with Pretivm’s Community Relations Manager to support community members in developing the skills necessary for employment in the mining industry. While these investments have a meaningful impact on Indigenous communities throughout the region, they also benefit Pretivm by strengthening local connections and diversifying the regional labour force.
Recognizing the unique challenges faced by northern communities due to their remoteness in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Pretivm offered various means of support for Indigenous groups throughout the region in 2020. This included financial contributions to First Nations for community support and food security, as well as in-kind donations of personal protective equipment and health, safety, and hygiene supplies. More information about how we supported Indigenous groups and other communities in 2020 is provided in Community Relations.
Everyday life came to a sudden halt around the world with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and Canada went into lockdown in March 2020. The Pretivm team reached out to the neighbouring communities that surround the Brucejack Mine to see where our help was most needed. The Brucejack Mine operates in a remote region of northern BC and access to supplies can be a struggle during regular times for the surrounding communities. After conversations with community partners and First Nations leaders, monthly payments were set up with a variety of organizations throughout the region to assist with meeting essential needs. As many people lost their income, food banks, such as the Kitimat Food Bank and the regional Salvation Armies, had an increased demand, and the Gitanmaax Soup Bowl started handing out twice the number of warm lunches than before. Homeschooling was another challenge for families which left them looking for ways to entertain and educate their children. The Tahltan community of Dease Lake used our donation to purchase art supplies that were distributed among their members. When COVID hit some of the smaller communities and they were scrambling for personal protective equipment and sanitizers, our warehouse team in Smithers managed to leverage their contacts and resources to purchase and donate the necessary supplies. The Brucejack Mine was able to continue operating safely throughout the year largely due to the support from and ongoing communication with the local communities and we were happy to be able to give back.
Supporting Our Communities Throughout the Pandemic
Everyday life came to a sudden halt around the world with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and Canada went into lockdown in March 2020. The Pretivm team reached out to the neighbouring communities that surround the Brucejack Mine to see where our help was most needed. The Brucejack Mine operates in a remote region of northern BC and access to supplies can be a struggle during regular times for the surrounding communities.
After conversations with community partners and First Nations leaders, monthly payments were set up with a variety of organizations throughout the region to assist with meeting essential needs. As many people lost their income, food banks, such as the Kitimat Food Bank and the regional Salvation Armies, had an increased demand, and the Gitanmaax Soup Bowl started handing out twice the number of warm lunches than before. Homeschooling was another challenge for families which left them looking for ways to entertain and educate their children. The Tahltan community of Dease Lake used our donation to purchase art supplies that were distributed among their members. When COVID hit some of the smaller communities and they were scrambling for personal protective equipment and sanitizers, our warehouse team in Smithers managed to leverage their contacts and resources to purchase and donate the necessary supplies.
The Brucejack Mine was able to continue operating safely throughout the year largely due to the support from and ongoing communication with the local communities and we were happy to be able to give back.