Assertive efforts able to increase value in production and within surrounding communities take Calibre Mining into a leading gold producer in Nicaragua
Calibre Mining is a Canadian company with corporate headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, operating in Nicaragua. The company trades in the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: CXB).
The company’s executive leadership is formed by an outstanding group of individuals with decades worth of experience not only in mining but also in public companies. The group’s successful precedents include the sale of seven mining companies in transactions amounting to more than $5 billion.
“We are focused on generating sustainable value for the long term for shareholders, the communities we operate in and every party of interest,” said Petri Salopera, Vice-President of Sustainability at Calibre Mining.
The kind of leadership mining needs today
Salopera earned a Master’s Degree in Development Studies, Latin American Studies and Social Studies from the University of Helsinki (Finland), besides taking part in postgraduate studies in Community Relations at the University of Queensland (Australia).
Salopera’s experience has taken him to executive positions in mining companies such as BHP and Newmont-Goldcorp (both in Chile), Rio Tinto (Peru) and Newcrest (Ecuador).
Besides mining, Salopera has also been involved in academics and NGOs in Europe and Latin America, focusing on environmental, community, sustainability and media matters, besides government relations.
“Mining and its potential for positive, sustainable change generation is one of the subjects that I’m most passionate about,” commented the executive.
Mutual benefits from presence in Nicaragua
Calibre’s production in Nicaragua currently generates 36% of the country’s exports in gold. And in 2020 only, Calibre’s expenditures paid nearly $200 million in the country among operational expenses, employee salaries and benefits, capital expenses as well as in direct investments contributing to wellbeing and education in communities where the company operates in, while creating more than 3,000 positions for direct and indirect labor, and counting with 98% of Nicaraguan nationals on its staff. Not bad for a company that arrived in the country in 2009 whose main operations were mining exploration, near the country’s Caribbean coast, mainly.
“Nicaragua has a mining tradition; we’ve always stated that the country has well established, clear laws regulating the mining industry,” Salopera declared.
In 2019, Calibre acquired assets in Nicaragua from B2Gold. This transaction included La Libertad (in Chontales) and El Limón mines; currently, both locations are gold-producing sites. Also, the company owns the Pavón and Eastern Borosi (EBP) projects, which imply a significant contribution to the companies’ operations in Nicaragua.
Calibre also acquired several exploration concessions, and in March 2020 the company signed an agreement along with Rio Tinto Exploration with the purpose of increasing investments in different mining projects within Nicaragua.
Operations and abilities
Calibre Mining’s operational model is run under the “Hub and Spoke” scheme: extracting minerals from different sites to be carried into processing plants which sum a processing capacity of 2.7 million tons per year, which allows to ramp up production rapidly and with low costs, delivering long-term value for shareholders.
This combination allows reinvestment for exploration in emerging areas.
Calibre Mining uses up to 97% of recycled water in production processes through tailings dams, which are built with waterproof materials to avoid residuals being in contact with the ground or groundwaters.
Tailings storage facilities include piezometers to measure residuals in tailings and embankments.
“As a company, we are focused on a sustainable performance with disciplined growth,” the executive pointed out.
Local and global suppliers
In 2020, Calibre mining invested $58.6 million in purchases. The company is conveniently supported by Bertling Logistics, Canchanya Ingenieros, Casa Pellas, Empremar, Explotec, Grupo Santa Fe, Kal Tire, NIMAC and Puma Energy, among other companies.
Every Calibre Mining supplier, either big or small, is aligned with the company’s standards about ethics and care for the environment. Calibre also has supplier development programs either for key suppliers countrywide or local suppliers in each site, with the latter group being managed by the Local Purchases Task Force.
The Directive Committee for Local Content was established in 2020 and is in charge of supervision, revision, approval and support of strategies based in each site.
Safe and skilled workforce
During 2020, the entire staff at Calibre Mining was subject to safety training sessions focused in each different area, pointing out possible dangers and risk exposure, besides spreading safety regulations for each aspect.
Nine other specialized technical safety trainings were added, accomplishing goals beyond the basic requirements.
Adapting to conditions during the COVID-19 emergency
Consequences deriving from de COVID-19 pandemic also affected the mining industry, and Calibre Mining adapted to the new conditions after a temporary halt to activity during April 2020.
Top priority for operations under these new conditions has been the safety and wellbeing of company employees; for this purpose, Calibre Mining developed and implemented 17 new biosecurity protocols.
“This brought a positive impact in our staff and we have been allowed to operate without having to halt our operations again since,” Salopera added.
Efforts aimed toward sustainability in every front
Caring for the environment and company efforts in surrounding communities are an important part of Calibre Mining’s success.
Since 2020, the company has held multiple meetings with different groups such as native communities, among others, which are aware of the company’s responsible operations firsthand. All of these interactions take place under the best global practices carried out by Calibre and under the company’s Native Communities Standards, besides being in contact with the Regional Governments of the North and South Caribbean Coast.
The company operates under Nicaraguan regulations, besides carrying out practices aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), publishing its first Sustainable Development Report. It’s also worth mentioning that in August 2020, the company joined the World Gold Council (WGC). As members of this organization, we share a unified vision of our responsibility in securing a sustainable gold mining industry based on a deep understanding of gold’s role in society, today and in coming years.
“The goal is delivering value for our groups of interest in a responsible way through innovative management focused on participation,” declared the executive.
Efforts in surrounding communities
· In the Pavón Mine (located in Rancho Grande, Matagalpa), Calibre Mining partnered with the CEN environmental organization (Center for Understanding with Nature) to join environmental, social and economic goals within this site.
· In the El Limón Mine, the company co-financed a campaign from the Ministry of Health, benefitting 5,055 residents from El Limón and surroundings, reducing risk of infections from diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus.
· After damages caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota in 2020, Calibre Mining created a humanitarian aid fund along with local authorities and NGOs, helping vulnerable communities in the Rosita, Siuna, Bonanza, Rancho Grande, El Tuma-La Dalia, El Cua and San José de Bocay communities.
· In Rancho Grande, the company built a new educational center for the Yahosca Arriba community, with improved infrastructure -including solar panels-, benefitting more than 40 students.
A bright future shining ahead
Toward the end of 2021, gold production from Calibre Mining is projected to reach between 170,000 and 180,000 oz.
Previously, with the purpose of creating a mid-level gold mining company, in 2020 Calibre joined the WGC, with the duty of complying with the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMP) from this entity. The company is already directing efforts to align with these regulations, as well as with the International Council on Mining and Metals Principles, besides its commitment to comply with efforts aligned to the UN’s SDGs.
It’s projected that the company will be taking three years to totally comply with RGMP, current efforts to fulfill this goal include identifying areas of improvement as well as those that are already aligned with such standards.
Other purposes for Calibre Mining include reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the mid-term.
“We keep our goal of interacting in an open, respectful way to continue contributing in a positive, constructive manner to improve people’s living conditions,” finalized Petri Salopera, Vice-President of Sustainability at Calibre Mining.