Agnico Eagle wins award for drinking water project

Agnico Eagle has received the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Excellence Award in recognition of its innovative sustainability projects focused on community engagement and environmental stewardship.

Access to clean, fresh drinking water is one of the most essential components of human life. Without it, the ability for a community and its citizens to thrive and live healthy and fulfilling lives is next to impossible.

Agnico Eagle, a Canadian gold mining company, found that through innovative low-carbon technology and effective community engagement it could provide instant and continuous supply of clean drinking water to those living near its Pinos Altos mine in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Located only 45 kilometres away from Agnico Eagle’s Pinos Altos operations, the community of Yepachic has long had difficulty in accessing drinking water from nearby springs. Recognizing this, in 2019 the Pinos Altos team, in collaboration with officials from the Municipality of Temosachic, founded the Drinking Water Distribution Network.

It provides drinking water to over 200 local households through a solar powered pumping system. The 60-cell solar system and electrical grid to power the water pumping equipment provide a sustainable source of clean water that serves local households and essential community services like medical clinics and schools.

This project would not have been realized without the support and input from local community members, who were intimately involved in its design and implementation. Given the success of the Drinking Water Distribution Network, Agnico Eagle has determined that it can be replicated elsewhere and is in the process of expanding the project to serve in other communities, with additional projects currently under consideration.

MAC and sustainable mining

First established in 2004, the globally recognized Towards Sustainable Mining program supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators.

“TSM is a mandatory component of MAC’s membership aimed at driving performance improvement and leadership in sustainability,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s president and CEO. 

“Some mining companies go above and beyond in demonstrating truly innovative community engagement and environmental stewardship practices and are honoured by the annual TSM Excellence Awards in recognition of having done exemplary work in sustainable mining.”

Established in 2014, the TSM Excellence Awards include the TSM Environmental Excellence Award and the TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award. To be eligible for the awards, mining companies must be actively implementing the TSM initiative.

TSM is overseen by the Community of Interest Advisory Panel, which consists of individuals from Indigenous groups, environmental organizations, labour representatives, individuals involved in finance, local mining communities, social and faith-based organizations, academics and those involved in international development. The Advisory Panel provides guidance and advice on the development and implementation of TSM and selects the winners of the TSM Excellence Awards.