Windfall is one of the biggest exploration programs on the planet. The Environmental team invests passion and energy into environmental protection, working jointly with the Geology, Mining, Drilling and Camp Maintenance departments.
Particular attention is paid to drilling activities, from planning to demobilization of the drill rig. The Geology Planning team determines the drill hole positions according to available geological data, and technicians set out the drill holes and access paths on the field. Technicians ensure we respect mandatory distances from permanent or temporary watercourses, avoid protected areas, and keep in mind potential hazards to health and safety. The team reassesses the plan if it identifies an environmental or safety issue. Before moving to the next hole, the drilling contractors have a Drill Implementation Query approved by the Geology, Health & Safety and Environment teams.
Field technicians perform daily inspections of the drill rigs, sloops, fuel tanks, sumps and pumping stations. They visit each site every two days to inspect implementation instructions, the general cleanliness of the site, garbage and hazardous material management, the presence of spills and management of the water and drill cuttings. Osisko Mining’s Environmental inspector can ask for immediate correction at any time, depending on the severity of the issue. The team takes pictures of the sites before, during and after drilling. A site inspection is made after the demobilization of the drill rig to record the status of the site and the need for additional work or remediation.
Consultation with the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi began in 2015. In July 2019, with the goal of continuing to achieve meaningful and transparent dialogue, the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi and Osisko Mining formed the Windfall Environmental Monitoring Committee.
This committee meets monthly and includes a family representative from W25B trapline, the Waswanipi Mining Coordinator, the Waswanipi Local Environment Advisor, the Osisko Mining Environmental Senior Technician and the Osisko Mining Senior Sustainable Development Coordinator. Other community members may also participate, including the Deputy Chief, the Cree Trappers’ Association representatives, the Waswanipi Forestry Consultant Expert or Osisko Mining experts. The objective of the committee is to ensure effective consultation with the Tallyman’s family and the Waswanipi community. Each month, we share information about our exploration and construction activities and environmental performance and protocols. We organize surface and underground site visits. The Tallyman’s family acts as an environmental monitor and is invited to perform site inspections, make suggestions and raise concerns. The information gathered during these meetings is transmitted to the management team to adjust activities and answer questions and concerns. This committee is also working on ways to incorporate Cree traditional knowledge into environmental baseline reports to be included in the Environmental Assessment. This specific aspect will be enhanced in 2020.
In June 2019, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) published their final report. The report included a “Deeper Dive into Resource Extraction projects” and also outlined “Calls for Justice for Extractive and Development Industries”. As a mining exploration company working on the traditional territory of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, we put together a plan to address the concerns raised in the report.
We hire a diverse workforce and strive to hire women and members of First Nation communities. We work to improve the workforce’s awareness of cultural diversity. We also award contracts to enterprises hiring First Nation workers.
Empowering, Pride and Accomplishment
We empower First Nation women by providing meaningful employment to ensure their financial security and autonomy. We also give them opportunities to develop their expertise.
Safe and Supportive Environment
We provide a safe workplace and enforce strict policies prohibiting violence, harassment, and the use of drugs and alcohol. We provide support for the well-being of our First Nation workforce through our onsite nurses and First Nation Human Resources Facilitator. We also hired a Community Liaison Advisor based in Waswanipi.
Our culture is shaped by innovative thinking and practices that redefine the way we manage our activities. We constantly question our way of doing things.
This led us to review our selection criteria when hiring new operators for the water treatment unit. Removing unnecessary barriers – such as a high school diploma, when the operator most needs a willingness to learn – would provide access to a new position category. Senior Technicians now train and teach the basic concepts of the job, share their experience and provide support and supervision. They also developed a training program with an evaluation to make sure the new operators fully understand the water treatment process and the importance of this position. This initiative led to training four new Water Treatment Operators, two of them from the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. This is just one example of including our host communities in our workforce. Protection of the environment is a priority for Osisko Mining and for the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. By having two water treatment operators from Waswanipi, we ensure that the community has an active role in monitoring the quality of our effluent.