MAC’s 2019 TSM Excellence Award winners celebrate environmental and community initiatives

by Keith Powell
MAC awards on table.

The Mining Association of Canada's prestigious TSM Excellence Awards in recognition of innovative sustainability projects. — Photo courtesy MAC

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has awarded the Tamatumani Program at Glencore's Raglan Mine and IAMGOLD's Essakane Project with its prestigious TSM Excellence Awards in recognition of their innovative sustainability projects. The companies were presented their awards yesterday at the CIM Awards Gala in Montreal.

"MAC's TSM Excellence Awards represent the best of the best when it comes to showcasing the innovative work being done by Canadian mining on innovation in environmental stewardship and community engagement," said Ben Chalmers, Senior Vice President of MAC. "We are extremely proud of what both Glencore and IAMGOLD have been able to accomplish as they highlight what is possible and achievable in terms of sustainable and collaborative practices in our sector."

Established in 2014, the TSM Excellence Awards include the TSM Environmental Excellence Award and the TSM Community Engagement Excellence Award. To be eligible for the awards, mining companies must be actively implementing the Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM®) initiative. TSM is a performance-based program whereby mining operations evaluate, manage and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities.


Raglan Mine's Tamatumani Program: Empowering Inuit Communities and Inspiring the Next Generation

Situated in the Nunavik territory of Northern Quebec, Glencore's Raglan Mine has made it a priority to attract and retain as many local Inuit employees as possible. To achieve this goal, Raglan Mine launched its Tamatumani program in 2008, meaning "second start" in Inuktitut, which has helped the company increase Inuit employees by 110% since its inception. In fact, as of December 31st, 2018, 22% of the Raglan Mine's workers were Nunavimmiut (Inuits from Nunavik) and the number has risen from 55 in 1998 to 235 in 2018, an increase of 327%.

Given the fact that in the next 10 years, Canada's mining industry will need to hire approximately 100,000 new workers, increasing participation and focusing on retention is more important than ever. Raglan Mine's Tamatumani program is focused on doing just that, specifically through promoting skills development among the Nunavimmiut labour force specifically.

Glencore First Mobile equipment mechanics with their reconditioned Bolter.

Glencore First Mobile equipment mechanics with their reconditioned Bolter. — Photo courtesy Glencore

Built in collaboration with community partners, the program encourages career development of Nunavimmiut employees, provides technical training and basic skills training, and supports the integration of new Inuit staff. As part of the initiative, the company created the Inuit Employment Centre, which manages the entire staffing process, maintains a bank of candidates interested in working at the mine and visits Nunavik communities to ensure residents are aware of available positions.

While the Tamatumani program was designed to meet the specific needs of Glencore's Raglan Mine, the core skills training that has been developed is seen as innovative and is the standard bearer for other companies operating in Canada's North.


IAMGOLD's Essakane Project: Innovative Renewable Solar Energy System in Burkina Faso

Given the energy required to source the minerals and metals essential to the products we use every day, Canada's mining industry has a role to play in focusing efforts on climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Sustainability and mining are not mutually exclusive and there is extensive work currently being completed in the sector to determine how innovation and low carbon technology can go hand-in-hand. While it is easy to recognize opportunities to help the planet, it can be difficult to effectively implement them in practice. The Essakane Solar, a project led by IAMGOLD, highlights how miners can form innovative working relationships with like-minded partners to help transform ideas into action.

The fight against climate change ultimately requires the mining industry to prioritize responsible energy use, improve efficiencies and explore new options for fuel switching and renewables where feasible. That's why IAMGOLD has sought to strengthen the industry's response at both the global-level and for its local stakeholders by effectively reducing its carbon footprint. To best support the sector's transition to lower-carbon technology, IAMGOLD committed to developing an innovative renewable solar energy system at the mine through its Essakane Solar Project in Burkina Faso.

Due to its isolated location, IAMGOLD's Essakane Mine in Burkina Faso is off-grid and has traditionally relied entirely on a thermal power plant using heavy oil. IAMGOLD decided to put forward an aggressive sustainability agenda by partnering with project sponsor Total Eren, a global renewable energy independent power producer, and AEMP, a developer and independent power producer dedicated to the development of renewable and hybrid projects for industrial sectors in Africa, to add a solar capacity to Essakane's existing power system. This hybrid solution combines PV with diesel generation to provide a reliable off-grid power source that will supply Essakane with competitive and carbon-free electricity.

Made of 130,000 photovoltaic panels, the Essakane Solar Project currently stands as the world's largest hybrid solar/thermal plant and is now one of the largest solar facilities in sub-Saharan Africa. The solar project is ensuring that the IAMGOLD can lower costs, improve safety, reliability and improve its sustainability practices over the long-term. Not only has this resulted in a contribution in the fight against climate change, but it has had a significant positive impact on the local community. The project has created 40 permanent new jobs and has had an impact on the local supply chain. It was estimated that the plant will offset approximately 18,500 tonnes of GHG emissions annually from the existing heavy fuel oil plant while saving an estimated 52 million litres of fuel over a 15-year purchase power agreement. However, since commission, for the period ending December 31, 2018, the plant has actually exceeded expectations. Essakane saved approximately 3.9 million litres of fuel and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 12,000 tonnes over seven months of service.

In ensuring a stable and reliable energy supply, the Essakane Solar project has reduced the mine's carbon footprint, helped the mine and its local stakeholders adapt to climate change, and involved local communities throughout the project development process to ensure the benefits of Essakane Solar are shared.

For more information about the TSM Excellence Awards and past winners, please visit

The mining industry is a major sector of Canada's economy, contributing $97 billion to national GDP and responsible for 19 percent of Canada's total domestic exports. Canada's mining sector employs 634,000 people directly and indirectly across the country. The industry is proportionally the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada and a major customer of Indigenous-owned businesses.

About MAC

The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada's production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit

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