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A South American Gold Rush

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American Company Poisons the Environment Mining for Gold

Environment Polluted by Bd Gold Mining PracticesMines are necessary to modern civilization. Without mines, we would be unable to produce most of the items we use daily. Yet, it’s no secret that mining can have disastrous effects on the environment.

Acid leaching, toxic chemical buildup and erosion on a titanic scale are some of the most obvious problems mining can create.

The mining process involves removing literally tons of waste rock holding the desired material. Extracting the target material can involve deadly chemicals like cyanide to dissolve it from the rock, often in an aqueous solution. Additionally, mining can expose sulfides trapped in the rocks, creating an acid leak that can last for years.

Mercury Spills, Protests and Compromised Farming

Newmont Goldcorp is one of the world’s largest mining companies and operates the largest gold mine in South America. During their operations, several unfortunate events occurred, including spilling hundreds of pounds of mercury, the death of several local farmers and complaints that local farms were being contaminated.

The situation was getting out of control and mining operations were in the process of expanding.

As the mining continued, Newmont began operations on additional gold deposits, only compounding the locals’ frustration and the scale of the contamination. While the Catholic Church is absolutely not opposed to mining (the sacred vessels used at the Mass are supposed to be made out of precious materials like gold, after all), there are limits to what can be done while mining.

Mining Corporation Engaged, Changes Made

Peruvian Girl Happy after Catholic Impact Investing Improves EnvironmentWe decided to engage the corporate leadership at Newmont and discuss the situation with them. There were a number of concerns to be addressed, and a list of problems to be addressed was drawn up.

These concerns ranged from environmental issues like water pollution to social concerns including the impact on local family farms.

Newmont took these problems seriously and, so far, has spent over $1 billion in addressing them.

Besides developing over a dozen erosion control coils and implementing wastewater testing and purification systems, Newmont worked to protect and support the local farming community. Family reservoirs dug by Newmont provide the local farmers with water during the annual dry season, allowing them to maximize their output year round.

From being a source of global outrage, Newmont’s Yanacocha mine is now a shining example of corporate responsibility. The mine continues to produce gold for use around the world while also leading the way in safeguarding the environment and local economy.

Contact our advisors today to learn how your investment portfolio can work to help the environment.

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