Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada
During the time that Avino owned Bralorne Mine, we worked alongside government representatives at local, provincial and federal offices in an effort to maintain an open dialogue with all stakeholders.
The Bralorne property was sold to Talisker Resources in December 2019. The property is located in the heart of the St’át’imc First Nation’s traditional territory, over which the St’át’imc maintain title and rights. During Avino’s owndership of the property, management made it a priority to forge a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship with the St’át’imc Chiefs council, the Lillooet Tribal Council and the four St’át’imc communities (Xwisten, N’Quatqua, T’it’q’et and Tsalalh) directly affected by our activities.
Our Initiatives Were:
- Community Engagement
- Economic Development
- Water quality treatment
- Local hiring and education initiative
- First Nations education and training
- Mine Closure and Reclamation
- Infrastructure Improvements
Education and Training
In conjunction with North Island College, the BC Provincial Government, St’át’imc First Nations Communities and Sandvik, Avino delivered 3 underground mining fundamentals cohorts for members of the St’át’imc communities in 2016 and 2017 and 2018.
The 3 month program, which was delivered in Lillooet, Pemberton and at the Bralorne Mine site, has thus far produced 30 graduates. This unique program offered support and access to the mine site for hands-on training in addition to 3 months of classroom instruction.
As part of the program, students earned the following certifications:
- Occupational First Aid Level One (OFA)
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
- Construction Safety Training Systems – 09 (CSTS)
- Red Cross Standard First Aid with CPR Level C
- H2S Alive
- Aerial Lift Safety
- BC Surface Mine Rescue
- Confined Spaces Pre-entry
In addition, Avino worked with the Center for Training Excellence in Mining, Thompson Rivers University and a number of other mining companies and educational institutions within the province to develop an accredited underground mining training program aligned with the Mining Industry Human Resources Council’s Canadian Mining Certification Program. This program is being designed to leverage off the North Island College certificate program.
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Recognizing the need for improved infrastructure and more amenities to make the Bralorne area an attractive location for future employees, Avino worked with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, St’át’imc Eco-Resources, Bralorne Community Advisory Committee, Bridge River Economic Development Committee, and Thompson Rivers University to develop a plan to rejuvenate the surrounding communities, provide housing options for employees and their families, as well as to protect existing facilities crucial to the community’s future growth.
Environmental Monitoring Board
The Bralorne Mine Environmental Monitoring Board was created to keep affected St’át’imc and provincial regulators up to date concerning all developments at the mine. The board met quarterly to review Annual and Quarterly Environmental Monitoring Reports and was comprised of representatives from T’it’q’et, Xwisten, Tsal’alh, N’Quatqua, BC Ministry of Mines, Ministry of the Environment and Avino / Bralorne.
Topics of discussion include:
- Water treatment, water quality monitoring
- Operations summary
- Mine Closure and Reclamation / Environmental Remediation
- Permit Referrals
- Education and Training
- Job postings
- Community Engagement and upcoming events
Water Quality Management
Avino recognized the importance of clean water and thriving ecosystems to the St’át’imc way of life and worked to address legacy issues created over the mining camps long history. Water quality related management at Bralorne was focused on two primary areas:
- the management and treatment of Arsenic associated with the 800 Level Adit drainage to the Cadwallader Creek; and
- The management and monitoring of seepage discharges from the tailings management area to Cadwallader Creek.
Water Quality and biological assessments were carried out up river from the mine, from the mine portal and again after treatment in the lower Cadwallader Creek.
In 2016, Avino installed a state-of-the-art Pal Microfiltration water treatment plant which was very successful at removing arsenic. The plant is capable of treating 35 L/s, giving it more than enough capacity to treat all of the mine drainage water even in extreme conditions.