At Hecla, responsible mining is about being transparent and open. It’s a commitment both to the safety of our people and to the protection of the environment, as well as to continuous improvement through technological innovation. And it’s made possible thanks to the dedication of our employees – and with the support of our leadership and the communities in which we operate.
Hecla’s Approach to Sustainability
Hecla is committed to sustainable operations founded on proactive engagement with our employees and the communities in which we operate. We are responsible, safe, and innovative, and these core values are the cornerstone of a corporate path dedicated to excellence in environmental, social, and governance (ESG). In addition, we are applying a continuous improvement mindset to ESG performance as we know this is a journey and we will continually update our ESG reporting.
Hecla Adherence to Guidelines of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
To ensure our sustainability efforts are consistent, measurable, and in accordance with recognizable industry standards, Hecla has chosen to collaborate with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). SASB is a “not-for-profit, independent standards-setting organization that establishes and maintains industry-specific standards that assist companies in disclosing financially material, decision-useful sustainability information to investors.”
Hecla is currently using SASB as a benchmark to incorporate 2018 data into the SASB Metals & Mining Industry standard. Once this data has been incorporated, we will be able to more effectively and transparently share and report sustainability efforts and progress to shareholders and other stakeholders.
The SASB Materiality Guide is particularly useful for Hecla as we undertake alignment of operations with clearly defined sustainability and transparency goals. SASB has identified standards that focus on the financially material issues tied to the sustainability topics that matter most to investors.
Hecla’s Support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations has developed a list of 17 goals that address global challenges we all face. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) are a shared blueprint to a better and more sustainable future for all people and our planet.
The SDG’s are an urgent call for action by all countries to achieve these goals by 2030, but governments cannot do it alone. Businesses have an important role to play and Hecla is doing our part to help achieve these goals by being responsible, safe, and innovative. Specifically, we are working to make an impact on the four SDG’s that align most closely with our business and with our social investments.
|Goal #4 Quality Education – obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development. Hecla partners with local universities and other groups and provides financial contributions toward important local education programs such as the Pathways program in Alaska.|
|Goal #6 Clean Water & Sanitation – clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. Water management is essential to mining and we work hard to keep the water safe for our neighboring communities and the environment.|
|Goal #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth – sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs. Hecla is one of the largest employers in many of the rural communities where we operate. We provide high-paying, good-quality career jobs.|
|Goal #15 Life on Land – sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. We are committed to protecting the land. Our tailings management policies as well as our reclamation efforts all support restoring the lands to their natural state or reducing our environmental impact.|
Key Enterprise Risk Management
Every industry faces risks. For the hard rock mining industry, those risks may include reserves, human resources, operational, financial, political, legal and regulatory compliance, and information technology. Hecla has robust risk management practices in place that are overseen by our Board of Directors. Throughout the year, our Board receives reports on strategic plans and risks facing each of our operations and the company as a whole.
Our Environmental Management System was developed to ensure continuous improvement in our environmental performance – while promoting a culture of awareness to and seeking contributions from every one of our employees.
- completed nearly two-thirds of surface reclamation at the Troy Mine tailings facility in Montana, where more than 90% of tailings have been covered or topsoiled and seeded
- we produced 43.6 million silver equivalent ounces which equals 500 silver equivalent ounces per ton of CO2 emitted
- advanced implementation of our Environmental Management System (EMS) program which consists of a set of standardized processes and practices that enable us to improve compliance, reduce our environmental impact, and increase operating efficiencies
- conducted initial EMS review of recently acquired Klondex Mines in Nevada
- conducted formal third-party tailings management review at Casa Berardi and the newly acquired Midas mine
- more than 80% of key EMS elements are in place company wide
- continuation of backfill of the North pit at the San Sebastian Mine with placement of over 750,000 tonnes of material back into the pit
- complete structured environmental aspect/impact risk assessments at each site
- integrate our newest mines in Nevada into the Hecla EMS so that we can benchmark and track their activities
- advance certification under the Canadian and Quebec Mining Associations Toward Sustainable Development program
- in Quebec, our goal is to meet or exceed Level A under each of the TSM protocols
- by the end of 2019, we are committed to completing structured environmental aspect/impact risk assessments all of our operational sites
Our greatest resource is our people; their health and safety is our highest priority. It’s the same goal wherever we operate: Send employees and contractors home to their families safe and sound – every day.
- our 2018 goal was to reduce the All-Injury Frequency Rate (AIFR) by 15% – we exceeded that goal by reducing the AIFR by 27.5%
- over the past six years, we have reduced the AIFR rate more than 63%
- our 2018 incident rate of 2.0 was 15% lower than the national average
- Casa Berardi become the first internationally certified mine under the US National Mining Association’s CoreSafety safety and health management system
- with more than 5.9 million man-hours worked in 2018, conducted more than 8,600 safety interactions/observations that identified opportunities to improve our safety habits
- more than 65,000 hours of health and safety training provided company-wide in 2018
- the Lucky Friday Mine Rescue Team earned first place in the 2018 Central Mine Rescue Competition with the Greens Creeks Mine Rescue Team taking second place.
- strive to find resolution to the Lucky Friday Strike
- create greater gender diversity in 2019 and beyond
- reducing AIFR 10% from 2018 levels
- completing courageous safety leadership training for the supervisory and hourly workforce at each site
- integrating Nevada operations into Hecla’s safety culture
- continuing to integrate contractors into Hecla’s safety culture
- each site to participate in the Hecla Take 5 Safety Focus continuous-improvement initiative to improve job site awareness and exposures to reduce high and critical risks at each site
We believe our corporate responsibility extends to the communities in which we conduct business – by partnering and contributing in a meaningful way to their economic and social well-being.
- Hecla contributed more than $350K toward programs focused on four key areas: youth activities, health services, education and community programs.
- Hecla Quebec contributed $162,743 CAD to the UQAT Foundation. Hecla Quebec donates $1 per ounce of gold produced at the Casa Berardi Mine each year.
- advance a cooperation agreement which demonstrates a commitment by both parties to work together to create employment, training and business opportunities for the Abitibiwinni First Nation
- conduct community assessment in Nevada to better understand community engagement opportunities
- advance education and career readiness initiatives with Western Shoshone in Nevada
- continue with our Pathway program in Alaska that introduces young people to careers in mining
- work with North Idaho College’s Career Training Center to develop the training programs for the future to meet the changing work force dynamic
- continue to reach youth, education, community, and health via Hecla Charitable Foundation
- pursue certification for San Sebastian Mine in Mexico by the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (CEMEFI) as an Empresa Socialmente Responsble (Corporate Social Responsibility)
- reinvigorate our community advisory committee at Greens Creek Mine
We seek not only to pursue, but also to deliver the highest standard of ethics and integrity in every aspect of our business – in order to be a positive influence wherever we operate.
- added a female director
- added three new directors and reduced our average board tenure
- updated our Corporate Governance Guidelines to include a director resignation policy
- increased our ESG reporting in our Proxy and on our website
- include more disclosure on enterprise risk management for Board and Committee oversight
- continue to update and strengthen our ESG reporting metrics
Responsible. Safe. Innovative.