Energy & Climate Change

We recognize that climate change is becoming increasingly prominent on the global agenda and acknowledge that climate change is influenced by human activity that requires purposeful action by us all. We have a responsibility to operate as efficiently and sustainably as possible, and our leadership—including our CEO and Board of Directors—is committed to rising to this challenge. The Brucejack Mine already has one of the lowest GHG-emissions of any gold mine, and we look forward to finding ways to minimize our climate-related risks and impacts even further.

Our VP of Environment and Regulatory Affairs is accountable to the CEO for our emissions tracking and reporting and understanding of Pretivm’s climate-related risks and impacts. Together with the VP of Environment and Regulatory Affairs, the COO is responsible for identifying and implementing energy and GHG emissions reduction initiatives. 

Energy Use

In 2020, we consumed 959,775 gigajoules (GJ) of energy at the Brucejack Mine, of which 46% came from renewable sources (provincial grid electricity) and 54% from non-renewable sources (fossil fuel combustion). Our overall energy consumption increased from 762,268 GJ in 2019 as a result of an increased underground mine production rate, as well as interruptions to our electricity supply from the provincial grid. As we look to the future, we will continue to prioritize reducing our non-renewable energy use throughout our operations.

Renewable Energy

We strive to reduce our contribution to climate change through responsible energy use and the efficient design, development, and operation of our facilities. Our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint spurred us to connect the Brucejack Mine to the provincial electricity grid when we built the mine, with an investment of more than $141 million to construct our transmission line. With more than 96% of grid electricity provided by clean, renewable sources1 such as hydroelectricity, this investment supports Pretivm in operating a gold mine with one of the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world. The majority of our infrastructure, including the underground mine, mill and camps, is powered by this clean energy allowing us to rely less on diesel-powered generators.

1 British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority 2019/20 Annual Service Plan Report (bchydro.com)

Energy Efficiency Initiatives

As part of a multi-year carbon reduction initiative, we pursued new ways to improve the energy efficiency of our operations by testing electric haul trucks in our underground mine in 2020. Following the success of this year’s trial using Z50 trucks, we have committed to investing US$16.3 million to purchase additional electric haul trucks and plan to incorporate their use into our operations in 2021. This investment will drastically reduce our consumption of diesel and gasoline from internal combustion engines.

Smaller changes in 2020 also served to reduce energy consumption across the mine site. We installed motion-activated lights in our newly constructed mill dry complex, so that the lights automatically turn off during periods of inactivity, helping to improve our energy efficiency. We continue to benefit from past years’ energy efficient investments in mill design and LED lighting.

 

“We are not committing to electric haul trucks because of a trend. We are doing it because it is the right thing to do. With less impact on the environment, reduced operating costs, and improved efficiency, we are embracing electrification of our vehicles because it makes sense for the business and aligns with our values.”

Jacques Perron, President and CEO

Data Highlights


2.76 GJ

per ounce of gold:
energy intensity ratio

0.097 tonnes CO2e

per ounce of gold:
GHG emissions intensity ratio

GHG Emissions

In addition to our energy efficiency efforts, we are committed to finding ways to reduce our use of fossil fuels as this can significantly reduce our GHG emissions. This includes opportunities for electrification where the use of grid electricity would displace the combustion of fossil fuels. Continuing efforts include the use of electric heaters in place of traditional propane heaters, and sourcing employees, contractors and vendors locally to reduce travel distance and associated emissions. Although we still depend on traditional fuels in some areas, our practice has always been to use low-sulphur diesel fuel and pollution control equipment. In 2020, the Brucejack Mine’s consumption of renewable energy from the grid avoided approximately 86,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emissions that would have been generated by the combustion of over 32 million litres of fossil fuel.

In 2021, we undertook a third-party verification of our 2020 GHG emissions inventory. Pretivm’s direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions amounted to 28,668 tCO2e. This marked a 61.5% increase over our comparable emissions in 2019, and resulted from increased production levels, greater use of mobile equipment at the Mine, grid power supply interruptions, and changes to the emission factors applicable to our Scope 2 emissions. However, we continue to be a leader in the mining sector with an emissions intensity of 0.097 tCO2e per ounce of gold in 2020. As we begin to roll out our electric haul truck initiative in 2021, we predict that the displacement of diesel-powered trucks will reduce our GHG emissions by 24% (approximately 6,900 tCO2e annually) once our diesel haul truck fleet is fully replaced in 2023.

Direct (Scope 1) & Indirect (Scope 2) GHG Emissions (Tonnes of CO2e)
Target
35,000
30,000
25,000
20,000
15,000
10,000
5,000
0

20,594

17,986

2,608

 

21,325

17,751

3,574

 

33,561

28,668

4,893

 
201820192020
Indirect (Scope 2)
Direct (Scope 1)

Climate Change Risks & Opportunities

The remote, high elevation location of the Brucejack Mine provides visible evidence of changing climate conditions and emphasizes the importance of understanding and managing the risks that climate change poses to our business. Tangible examples of climate-related changes include the continuous movement and retreat of the Knipple Glacier, requiring adjustments to the glacier-based section of our access roads, and potential wildfire and flooding events in the surrounding areas, including places that many of our workforce call home. In addition to these physical events, we are also aware that changing policy, regulations, finance, and investment regimes can present new operational and business challenges that we need to account for in our risk management and long-term planning processes.

Beyond maintaining an emissions rate that is below the global benchmark, Pretivm is committed to better understanding, mitigating, and disclosing the climate-related risks associated with our activities. In 2020, we prepared our first response to the CDP Climate Change questionnaire. Our response highlighted the risks and opportunities we have identified from changing weather and climate, including the abovementioned physical risks and regulatory risks (such as increasing carbon taxes). We regularly evaluate climate change and weather-related risk scenarios, and their potential financial implications, within the Brucejack Mine risk register. These risks are reviewed at weekly management meetings and reported quarterly to the Board. 

Examples of Climate-Related Risks

The Brucejack Mine access road presents a visible example of how climate change can affect our operations. A portion of the access road traverses the Knipple Glacier, and our workforce 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 the 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. We expect that we will need to adjust the alignment with greater frequency, on an annual or semi-annual basis. These realignments were anticipated during project planning and design and are accounted for in the Mine plan and economics.

We also acknowledge the unlikely but potentially high impact risk that a forest fire presents to our operations. Our transmission line travels through remote alpine forests, connecting the Brucejack Mine to the electricity grid and greatly reducing emissions from our mill and camp. If a forest fire damaged the power lines, it would disrupt our operations. Therefore, we have identified actions to mitigate the risk of wildfires, such as clearing larger buffer zones around the transmission lines in areas that have a high likelihood of impact.

Examples of Climate-Related Opportunities

While we look to mitigate our climate impacts, Pretivm has also identified a number of business opportunities related to economic, social, and policy changes associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy. This includes opportunities to access existing and future sources of government funding and low-carbon support programs, and the ability to benefit from lower insurance and lending rates as a result of our strong climate performance. We also recognize an opportunity to establish a premium price for our gold to reflect the value of our low GHG emissions intensity.

Understanding our risks and opportunities from climate change, as well as their impact on our operations, people, and the environment, allows us to take action to mitigate risk and capitalize on opportunities. We will continue to strengthen our governance, strategy development, risk management processes, and targets to minimize our climate-related impacts.

Highlight Story

Investing in Emissions Reduction

With its connection to the provincial hydro-electric power grid, Pretivm’s Brucejack Mine is already a low-carbon gold producer. But we know there are opportunities to further reduce carbon emissions. Diesel powered underground haul trucks are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions at the mine and we have been assessing the potential to transition this equipment to zero emission units since 2019.

In 2020 we began operating one battery electric Sandvik Z50 truck on a trial basis. The truck has a 50- tonne capacity and produces zero emissions. Due to the success of the trial program, we have committed to a full replacement of the existing diesel haul truck fleet with seven of the 50-tonne Z50 vehicles by the end of 2023. Once fully operational, the Z50 fleet will reduce GHG emissions from the mine by nearly 7,000 tonnes annually. In addition to reduced GHG emissions, the zero-emission fleet will reduce operational costs, improve working conditions in the underground mine, and provide valuable training opportunities with new technology for our workforce. Brucejack is one of only two mines in Canada that have introduced this technology; we hope that our investment supports an acceleration in the transition towards lower emission mining in Canada and beyond.

Pretivm’s $16.3M investment in this initiative is supported by the CleanBC Industry Fund and includes $7.95M from the provincial program. CleanBC reinvests a percentage of the carbon tax to accelerate industry performance on emissions reductions.

 
Our Values

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