Mining is in a state of flux. Technology is shifting toward being either modular or remote; global demand for minerals and precious metals continues to increase; and fossil fuels, such as coal, will soon be obsolete. Within this context, mining is experiencing a complete overhaul that will shape the industry for a more sustainable future.
The mining of gold and other precious resources is under the spotlight for its intrusive nature. Leaders within the mining sector have been assigned what some deem to be a nigh-impossible task: finding a balance between productivity and compliance with high environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.
The Americas are significant contributors to the industry. There are an astonishing 13,000 active mines in the United States, and even more in Latin America. Calibre Mining’s operations span Nicaragua and the western US state of Nevada. The Canadian-listed company produced 182,755 ounces of gold in 2021 and continues to increase its ounces as it looks toward the future.
Calibre operates the Pan Mine in Nevada and El Limon, La Libertad and Pavon mines in Nicaragua. Seeking to increase production, one of the company’s latest endeavours is the Eastern Borosi project, located in the Atlantic region of Nicaragua and scheduled to enter into production in 2023.
Petri Salopera, Vice President of Sustainability for Calibre Mining, is keen to share the company’s achievements as an advocate for corporate social responsibility. Salopera himself is responsible for overseeing Calibre’s overall sustainability performance in relation to ESG across its operations.
Originally from Finland, Salopera has lived in South America for most of his life. He is familiar with Latin American culture and fluent in Spanish, which was beneficial when he joined Calibre in 2021 and entered into what was, for him, new jurisdictions.
“The biggest challenge must have been the new jurisdictions,” says Salopera. “I have worked in Latin America for almost 30 years, but I had never been to Nicaragua before. Fortunately, our team there is highly experienced and engaged, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them. They have contributed to my experience, and I have learned from them. In Nevada, we have a small but very strong team. This allowed for a quick and solid incorporation of the Nevada operations into our overall sustainability framework.”
While the company’s primary function is clear –to produce gold– Salopera also emphasises Calibre’s operational focus on sustainability and on creating value responsibly for those invested in the company’s actions.
“We are focused on delivering sustainable value for shareholders, local communities and all our stakeholders through responsible operations and a disciplined approach to growth,” Salopera says.
“At Calibre, I saw a fantastic opportunity to be part of a very dynamic mining company and its executive leadership team. What attracted me most, however, was Calibre’s interest in the sustainable development of its host communities, and its strong commitment to doing the right thing, both environmentally and socially, at all times.”
Thanks to the culture of sustainability and commitment to ESG that Calibre promotes across its workforce, Salopera’s job is enhanced that much more as he works with professional, trustworthy teams that have expressed their positivity toward the company’s core values. Employees understand the importance of the surrounding communities and, therefore, focus on providing social support where possible, alongside efforts to influence reforestation programs and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Calibre is a member of the World Gold Council (WGC) and committed to becoming fully compliant with the WGC’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs) by 2023. The company is also committed to reporting its position and progress on climate-related risks, in line with recommendations of the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Five-year strategy for sustainable mining practices
Calibre has fully planned out its sustainability strategy for the next five years, and it is through this plan that Calibre will continue to promote its ideals in terms of responsible operations. Covering the period of 2022 to 2026, this five-year sustainability strategy also incorporates the interests and actions of external stakeholders, such as local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and public authorities.
“The objective is to improve Calibre’s sustainability performance even further, ensuring a culture of internal best practices, including our strategic business partners,” says Salopera.
It also involves “contributions to the sustainability of our host communities beyond traditional mining activities, and connecting with efforts to safeguard the future through investments in favour of overcoming global challenges.”
To achieve these goals, Calibre Mining will reiterate its collaborative approach across all areas of planning, execution, and evaluation of mining performance. Cooperation with stakeholders will set a precedent for the company to follow as it aims to meet the needs of all individuals and organisations that engage within the industry.
According to Salopera: “We really hope to make important contributions to the quality of life of our host communities and their environment, which is especially important in jurisdictions like Nicaragua, where our social licence to operate and grow depends on our success in all aspects of ESG.”
“2022 is the year we will set the stage for our sustainability journey,” Salopera says. “It will require an understanding of where we are and where we are headed, responsibly. We will focus on meeting higher operational standards from 2023 to 2025 and finally, in 2026, we expect to lead the way among our peers as a frontrunner in sustainability.”
In the grand scheme of things, to meet its objectives Calibre will require a significant level of input from its team, as well as collaboration with other entities. The company will lean on its partners in areas where specific expertise is required.
Ensuring that partnerships are aligned with the company’s dedication to ESG is a major factor in building long-standing relationships with other businesses. Salopera explains that, “before starting any alliance, we take all partners through an intensive screening process, reviewing their business, health and safety, and ESG performance. This due diligence strengthens our selection process and allows us to better understand our future partners.”
Following a successful screening, “partners and contractors are welcomed by the company into our ONE CALIBRE collective approach to ESG, which signifies that we are all united in our intentions.”
Building a social and environmental advocacy network
Calibre’s principal partners have responded positively and proactively to this process, and Salopera is excited to experience cultural alignment across the entire supply chain network.
“Our collaborators’ participation has been remarkable and, together, we have been able to positively change the lives of hundreds of families – even whole communities.”
“Thanks to companies like Civil Works, Puma Energy, NIMAC, Casa Pellas and others, we are opening opportunities for people in Nicaragua and elsewhere,” Salopera says. “This cooperation cannot be underestimated; it is a clear manifestation of our common commitment in favour of sustainability wherever we work.”
The ethos shared between Calibre and its partners will carry on into the future, integrating their best interests into ongoing and prospective projects. With this combined commitment, businesses will work with the mining company to realise its plans for the future. This translates into a positive outlook for the organisation in terms of business growth and the expansion of its sustainability approach, as it enters new jurisdictions. The collective ONE CALIBRE approach will drive even more community engagement, seeking active integration of the public in its sustainability journey.
Having worked for other major mining companies and obtained insightful knowledge of the industry, Salopera divulges what he thinks will happen in the future and the ways in which society and the climate will shape the mining industry, and vice versa.
“Mining is fundamental for the future of our planet, and mining companies like Calibre can make an essential contribution to that future,” he explains.
Deeply rooted in the Americas, Calibre Mining will continue along its current trajectory toward a better, more sustainable world for all its stakeholders, internally and externally. Maintaining social support, improving its environmental stewardship, encouraging biodiversity, and protecting source waters are just some of the areas where particular attention will be placed.
Calibre is excited to challenge the norms of traditional mining, encourage the use of renewable energy, and promote technological innovation. “Renewable energy, electromobility, new innovations — all these require our contribution. A better future can only be achieved with robust performance in sustainability, and that truly is Calibre’s business edge.”
- Petri Salopera