Improving Cyanide Management in La Providencia, Colombia
La Providencia, Colombia: Ensuring the safety of the employees and reducing negative impacts on the environment through a better cyanide management, which complies with international standards.
La Providencia mine is located in Colombia, in the eastern mountain range close to Bucaramanga. The mine is a partner of the Swiss Better Gold Initiative since 2020. The mine currently has 52 employees.
La Providencia has used cyanidation to recover gold since 1981 and has progressively improved its operational practices, including the elimination of the use of mercury in 2009. The intervention of the Swiss Better Gold team has identified that further improvements in the mine’s cyanide management were needed, to meet the requirements of the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMI) – recognised as the highest standard in terms of cyanide management.
Cyanide is potentially lethal and needs to be safely stored, in a cool and dry place, and alone, with no risk of interacting with other substances. Thus, in La Providencia, it was important to separate the laboratory from the cyanide storage area.
- Remodelling and improvement of the cyanide storage facilities
- Relocation of the cyanide laboratory to a safer place
- Installation of elements for a safer use of cyanide, e.g. signage
- Acquisition of personal protective equipment
A similar project was successfully implemented in Trompetero (Colombia) also with the support of technical assistance funds of the Swiss Better Gold.
- To ensure the safety and health of employees and reduce negative impacts on the environment.
- To comply with the standards of the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMI).
- To advance with the Swiss Better Gold continuous improvement plan in order to be accredited as a Swiss Better Gold producer.
The Swiss Better Gold contribution for this project amounts to USD 1’674 from the Technical Assistance Fund.
Once all facilities and equipment’s acquired and installed, the mine ensures the implementation, maintenance and operating costs.
- Social: the health and safety of the workers is improved, thanks to a proper management and handling of cyanide, appropriate facilities and personal protective equipment.
- Environmental: the storage of cyanide in adequate facilities avoids any evaporation or any reaction with other substances and reduces the negative impacts on the environment.