• Environment

MAG Silver is committed to conducting our operations in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner while actively addressing the potential environmental impacts associated with our mining and exploration activities. Our approach emphasizes effective water, waste and tailings management, responsible land use, energy efficiency and climate action within our operating environments.

Our Commitments

  • Operate as responsible environmental stewards
  • Minimize our carbon footprint
  • Maintain/implement stringent water management and conservation practices
  • Practice progressive reclamation

More of our Environmental Commitments and how we plan to achieve them are described in our Health, Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility Policies. 

MAG Silver’s Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Committee provides leadership and oversight for topics related to environmental responsibility, including compliance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements and external reporting on environmental performance, associated risks, challenges and opportunities. The HSEC Committee reports directly to the Board and is supported by the Technical Committee on issues related to operational performance and risks that would impact environmental matters.

Read more about the Committees in the HSEC Committee Charter and the Technical Committee Charter.

“We recognize that our activities will have impacts on the global environment and that we have a responsibility to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the benefits. We take our environmental commitments seriously because we want to maintain a healthy environment for today and for generations to come.”
– Dan McInnis, Chair of HSEC Committee

Environmental Highlights (2022)

Key environmental results for 2022 include:

  • 19,677 tCO2e total Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions (down from 20,612 tCO2e in 2021)
  • 68% of all waste recycled
  • 108,455 plans transplanted, relocated or rescued

Water stewardship program that incorporates repurposed wastewater

Climate Action

MAG Silver understands the importance, and the various levels of, public concern associated with climate risks and opportunities in the mining sector and specifically, the potential for climate-related impacts as a result of our business activities.

Climate and other significant environmental risk considerations for Juanicipio were assessed in late 2022 through early 2023 through a process aligned with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Through Fresnillo’s climate change risk management plans, Juanicipio will be developing a regional climate model to establish future climate variability and potential impacts. The results from this exercise are expected to provide valuable and localized information that will contribute to more effective management and protection of the project environment and nearby communities.

To further support the outcomes of the climate change risk management plans at Juanicipio and our exploration projects, MAG Silver will be developing a suite of climate change management practices and tools for assessing performance and risks. Company commitments, governance and processes will be implemented at the Board and management levels via our Climate Action Management Plan, which is currently in development.

Physical climate change risks such as water, energy consumption, biodiversity impacts and social pressure are integrated into the risk assessment process and included in the Enterprise Risk Management register which is reviewed regularly by the Enterprise Risk Advisory Committee (ERAC) and reported to the Board.

Water Stewardship

Water treatment plant at Juanicipio.

Exploration, mining and processing activities require large volumes of water. Efficient use, recycling and pollution prevention are critical toward ensuring responsible water stewardship. Water stress risks are included in the Enterprise Risk Management register and risk assessments which are reviewed regularly by the ERAC and reported to the Board.

Juanicipio uses Aqueduct, a tool developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI), to better understand water stress under different climate change scenarios in the 2020-2030 period. According to Aqueduct, Juanicipio Project is located in an "Extreme High" water stress area. In 2022, Juanicipio consumed 397,300 m3 of water. In line with its Water Stewardship Strategy, Juanicipio seeks to minimize its freshwater withdrawals, and with the completion of a Reverse Osmosis plant in 2023 optimizing the consumption of treated municipal wastewater, all potable water and process water requirements will be satisfied through the exclusive use of treated wastewater, thus eliminating any freshwater requirements from third parties.

MAG Silver also carefully manages water at our exploration projects and ensures that all permits are in place prior to initiating activities. In 2022, MAG continued exploration drilling at the Deer Trail Project and sourced 43,560 m3 of water from two nearby creeks, while drilling at our Larder Project consumed approximately 5,000 m3. According to the WRI’s Aqueduct tool, both the Deer Trail and Larder Projects are located in areas with low water stress.

Responsible Land Use

Revegetation area at Deer Trail.

Mining and exploration activities cause land disturbance and produce waste. Fresnillo’s Environmental Management System ensures effective compliance while supporting initiatives that are aimed at reducing the environmental footprint.

An Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted prior to developing Juanicipio to identify potential impacts and determine actions to manage them. An initial environmental management for Juanicipio was conducted in 2017 and approved by the environmental ministry in Mexico. Performance is reported annually, and a closure and reclamation plan for Juanicipio, submitted in 2019, was approved. This plan is updated and resubmitted every two years.

Biodiversity planning (species identification, relocation of species at risk, management and conservation plans) is in place, and as of 2022, actions taken to minimize Juanicipio’s impact to the environment include:

  • Transplantation, relocation and/or reforestation of over 108,400 plants and seedlings (from cactus and desert scrub families)
  • Reforestation of 37 hectares of degraded land within and adjacent to the mine lease
  • Capture and release of 580 reptiles and mammals
  • Recovery of 17,954 tons of soil and conservation of an additional 97 hectares of soil

The Deer Trail Project encompasses the historic Deer Trail mine and adjoining Alunite Ridge area in Piute County, Utah. Some reclamation work began in 2019 and included rehabilitation work over two historical drill pad sites, collaboration with previous owners on the removal of abandoned mine and mill equipment and removal of damaged buildings. In 2022, technicians at Deer Trail focused on old drill pad revegetation utilizing recontouring and seeding techniques and cut vegetation. The closure plan for the historical Deer Trail Mine area was approved by the Utah Department of Oil, Gas and Mining in 2020 and will be updated in 2025.

Upon acquisition of the Larder Project, MAG Silver assumed the commitments of a 6-year Progressive Rehabilitation Plan of the historical Cheminis mine on the Larder Project property. Larder has completed 2 years of the 6-year plan approved by provincial regulators for the site and is not subject to a full Closure Plan. Additionally, MAG Silver has initiated investigations and a soil/water characterization program over an area of historical mining activity and tailing storage identified by provincial mine regulators on the Larder concessions. The program began in 2022 and will continue in 2023 to determine if any progressive rehabilitations plans are required for this area.

Tailings Management

Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) at Juanicipio.

Fresnillo remains committed to updating Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) governance practices to meet the adopted industry standards, including the incorporation of international design criteria in designs for Juanicipio. In 2022, just under 410,000 t of tailings were produced as a result of processing Juanicipio material at the nearby Saucito and Fresnillo plants; tailings were deposited in the respective TSF at each site. Once the Juanicipio processing plant is commissioned in 2023, Juanicipio tailings will be deposited in its own TSF, which was designed and constructed according to the Canadian Dam Association (CDA) Dam Safety Guidelines, the Mining Association of Canada’s guide for the management of tailing facilities (MAC TSM) and the ICMM Global Industry Standard on Tailing Management (GISTM).

Juanicipio’s TSF represents the first implementation of the MAC TSM standards for Fresnillo, which includes third-party safety inspections and an independent tailings review panel.

More about MAG Silver’s environmental approach and performance is described in our 2022 Sustainability Report.

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Fresnillo Annual Report 2020

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