BIODIVERSITY

At PT Agincourt Resources, we strive to operate all our businesses responsibly. We are steadfastly committed to balancing business growth with social well-being and environmental sustainability across all the communities in which we operate. We take action to minimise the impact that our businesses have on biodiversity and to ensure we are doing all we can to promote sustainable practices.

“Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.” Earth Summit 1992

KEY POINTS

The management of impacts on biodiversity associated with the operation of the Martabe Gold Mine is based on the mitigation hierarchy and is aligned to industry leading practices. The loss of habitat is the main project related impact on biodiversity. Unlike most other types of development involving natural ecosystems, this loss will be largely recovered through habitat restoration under the site rehabilitation program.

The Martabe Gold Mine is materially in compliance with the requirements of IFC Performance Standard 6 with the exception of a biodiversity offset. PTAR recognizes the importance of an offset for the site and is currently implementing an offset feasibility study to support this outcome.

Long-term protection of biodiversity in the Batang Toru Ecosystem requires the cooperation of all key stakeholders in the development and implementation of strategic conservation programs and other initiatives. PTAR is seeking to be an active long-term partner in support of this outcome.

REGIONAL CONTEXT

The mine is located to the southwest of the Batang Toru Ecosystem (“BTE”), which covers an area of more than 200,000 hectares (“ha”) and is spread administratively across the three Tapanuli Districts of North Sumatra Province: South Tapanuli, Central Tapanuli and North Tapanuli. The BTE includes a range of land uses, including Protected and Conservation Forest, Logging/Production Forest, agricultural, rural and urban residential, mining and infrastructure.

The BTE incorporates the 170,000 hectares Batang Toru Key Biodiversity Area (“KBA”), an area of critical importance for biodiversity, which includes 128,000 ha of protected forest. PTAR’s official Contract of Work (CoW) concession area is 130,252 ha. Of this, the projected life of mine footprint is 918 ha, of which 341 ha overlap with the BTE (<0.2% of the total size). The current active footprint of the mine and overlap with BTE are 509 ha and 114 ha respectively.

No part of the mine’s current or prospective future area of operations overlaps with the KBA.

MANAGING BIODIVERSITY

Throughout the Martabe Gold Mine Project, PTAR implements industry leading practices to minimize negative and/or unsustainable impacts on biodiversity. Key elements of PTAR’s management of biodiversity are summarized in the following document

BIODIVERSITY POLICY

The PTAR Biodiversity Policy commits the Company to the implementation of industry-leading practices for biodiversity management, the most important of which is the widely recognised mitigation hierarchy. 

BIODIVERSITY ADVISORY PANEL

As a source of independent expert  biodiversity advice to the PTAR Board, a Biodiversity Advisory Panel has been established in 2019 by PTAR comprising four highly regarded Indonesian scientistis with expertise in forest ecosystems and orangutan conservation. The functions and membership of the Panel are documented in its charter.

BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN

The PTAR Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) provides an implementation framework for the PTAR Biodiversity Policy and facilitate Board oversight of biodiversity management performance.  It comprises seven elements: 

  • Management Principles  
  • Goals 
  • Action Plans 
  • Operational Controls  
  • Stakeholder Engagement 
  • Assurance 
  • Review and Improvement 

The scope of the BSAP includes all activities managed by PTAR including operations at the Martabe Gold Mine and its regional exploration program.  It also encompasses biodiversity conservation aspects beyond the direct area of influence of mine operations in recognition of the importance of regional biodiversity conservation.  

Code of Practice Biodiversity Management

Operational controls for biodiversity protection at the Martabe Gold Mine are documented in PTAR Code of Practice Biodiversity Management. These are mandatory requirements for both PTAR and site contractors. The scope of the Code of Practice includes:

  • Key accountabilities across the management team    
  • Avoidance and minimisation of biodiversity impacts in the planning of new projects
  • Minimisation of unnecessary clearing and disturbance of habitat
  • Management of hazardous wastes
  • Protection of animals inhabiting the site
  • Restoration of forest habitat on disturbed areas as part of mine closure
  • Stakeholder engagement

LAND CLEARING MANAGEMENT

All clearing of vegetation must be preceded by “pre-clearance surveys”—whose methodology and inference designed and controlled by BAP—to prudently identify biodiversity risks and subsequently recommend mitigation practices, as per mitigation hierarchy principle.

This “pre-clearance survey” shall be carried out at least one year before proposed timing of clearing, even for area already approved as an act of prudence. BAP will confirm its formal approval to PTAR’s land clearing plan as a part of PTAR-BAP annual workshops report.

All clearing of vegetation at the mine is strictly controlled by a Land Disturbance Request procedure (“LADR”), which includes:

  • verification that the area being cleared is approved under the AMDAL parameters and BAP;
  • the carrying out of pre-clearance inspections; and
  • careful recording of all relevant evidence.

If any protected species are found, clearing activities in the vicinity are required to stop immediately and a defined procedure is followed to ensure the protection of the animal(s).

PRE-CLEARING FAUNA INSPECTIONS

The Biodiversity Management Code of Practice requires pre-clearing fauna inspections to be conducted immediately prior to any clearing of vegetation at Martabe Gold Mine, to ensure the protection of critically endangered species such as Tapanuli orangutan. Trained Environment personnel conduct a walk-through inspection of the area to be cleared to check for the presence of target species. In the event of a sighting, all clearing activity must be immediately suspended, and the animals placed under observation. Clearing can only recommence once the animal has moved a safe distance away from the area.

SITE REHABILITATION

At the Martabe Gold Mine, the goal of site rehabilitation is returning the forest habitat of disturbed areas to a similar condition to that existing prior to project development. This specifically includes restoration of habitat for threatened species such as Tapanuli orangutan. PTAR is also committed to the implementation of progressive rehabilitation, meaning that land is rehabilitated as it becomes available. Techniques for the restoration of tropical forest are now well established.  The procedure applied at the Martabe Gold Mine is similar to that seen at many mines. The Company maintains a full-time rehabilitation crew and a site nursery to support ongoing rehabilitation works. 

PROTECTING TAPANULI ORANGUTAN

In 2017, the orangutan population in the Batangtoru Forest was recognized as a new species, named Tapanuli orangutan or Pongo tapanuliensis. With an estimated total population of around 800, Tapanuli orangutan has critically endangered status.

The Martabe mine has been focusing on protecting the surrounding biodiversity since its establishment. Controls for the protection of orangutan have been in place since the commencement of the project and the Company has implemented significant improvements to its management of biodiversity over the last several years, with a particular focus on Tapanuli orangutans.

    Surveys and studies

    A wide range of surveys and other scientific studies have been carried out over the past 18 years. These include several flora and fauna surveys [see Survey Works], a High Conservation Value mapping exercise, a forest disturbance mapping project and offset studies. All these surveys were carried out by reputable consultants, applied established methodology. [see Survey Methodology]

    All past surveys/studies serve as the important basis for:

    • Multi-layered permitting and licensing (Environmental Impact Assessment Study (or AMDAL) process during which active participation of community, academics, and other relevant stakeholders was welcomed and integral part of the process.
    • PTAR to implement industry leading practices to minimise impacts on biodiversity associated with the mine.

    2022 Pre-clearance Survey by Pusat Riset Primata, Universitas Nasional.

    Establishment of a Biodiversity Advisory Panel

    The controls implemented by PTAR include the establishment in 2020 of the Biodiversity Advisory Panel (“BAP”), comprising Dr Rondang Siregar, Dr Sri Suci Utami Atmoko, Dr. Puji Rianti and Dr. Onrizal, each with expertise in the habitat and fauna (especially orangutan), and ecosystem conservation.

    The work of the BAP directly informs the ongoing development of PTAR’s annual Biodiversity Action Plan, which provides a framework for biodiversity management at the mine, as well as a Code of Practice for the implementation of operational controls at the mine to mitigate the impact of the mine on the surrounding environment through the mitigation hierarchy.

    The BAP closely monitors the implementation of the Biodiversity Action Plan, and workshops are held at least twice a year to discuss progress and resolve any issues. The BAP has also trained PTAR employees in conducting these feasibility and impact assessments as well as walk-through inspections which are conducted periodically and which must be conducted immediately prior to any clearing of natural vegetation at the mine. A key part of the training has been to show them how to identify evidence of orangutan activity.

    2022 Biodiversity Action Plan

    2021 Biodiversity Workshop, Bogor, Indonesia

    2022 Pre-clearing Fauna Inspections

    Industry-leading practices and procedures

    PTAR has adopted industry-leading practices and procedures to minimize the impacts on biodiversity associated with the mine, and has implemented a range of controls in accordance with an internationally-recognised mitigation hierarchy [see Mitigation Hierarchy Controls]. The mitigation hierarchy is a widely recognized framework for mitigating project-related biodiversity impacts, referenced by the Equator Principles and IFC Performance standard 6 (Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources).

    Land clearing management

    All clearing of vegetation must be preceded by “pre-clearance surveys”—whose methodology and inference designed and controlled by BAP—to prudently identify biodiversity risks and subsequently recommend mitigation practices, as per mitigation hierarchy principle.

    This “pre-clearance survey” shall be carried out at least one year before proposed timing of clearing, even for an area already approved, as an act of prudence. BAP will confirm its formal approval to PTAR’s land clearing plan as a part of PTAR-BAP annual workshops report.

    1. Verifying that the clearance area is approved under the AMDAL/AMDAL Addendums;
    2. Verifying that the area is no larger than that required for the activity covered by the LADR;
    3. Ensuring that pre-clearing inspections take place;
    4. Unapproved clearing activity is subject to disciplinary sanction;
    5. Within 24 hours before any clearing of native vegetation at the site, a team of four mine personnel are required to conduct a walk-through inspection of the area to check for the presence of species classified as critically endangered (orangutan, tiger, pangolin and hornbill);
    6. The team records their findings and takes photographs to support their conclusions;
    7. If individuals of these species are recorded, clearing activities in the vicinity must be immediately halted and adefined procedure must be followed to ensure the animal is protected.

    BAP-led preclearance survey team led By Dr. Sri Suci Utama Atmoko

    Land rehabilitation

    The BAP has also been advising the team on improving the effectiveness of its mine rehabilitation approach. Through the end of 2021, PTAR had rehabilitated 32.5 hectares of land and intends to accelerate the pace of rehabilitation.

    Rehabilitated area in the Martabe mine

    Conservation efforts

    PTAR is aware of Population and Habitat Viability Analysis (PHVA) published in 2016 as a public-domain document with the most comprehensive assessment of orangutans, including recommended strategies and action to support its long-term viability.

    With confidence, PTAR could confirm that it has been in compliance with all recommended mitigation strategies documented for mining-related sector, including:

    • Compliance to all applicable law, especially in relation with land-use, environmental protection, and biodiversity protection laws and regulations.
    • not expanding the mining activity into area classified as “forest” in accordance with the Indonesian Law. We are operating only within “Area Penggunaan Lain — Other Use” (APL).
    • Implementation of Better Management Practices (BMP) through implementation of internationally-recognized standards in mining practices, including IFC PS-6.
    • Implementation of effective replanting policies, reclamations, and reforestation. PTAR is active in mandatory land reclamation and seeking ways to accelerate both quantity and quality of rehabilitation programs.
    • PTAR has been active in the identification, maintenance, and improvement of internal corridors, including the one which was identified in 2014 HCV study.
    • With BAP and reputable international consultants, PTAR is also working on an offset program to identify and manage protection/conservation sites outside our mine area including an opportunity to build a wildlife corridor. An early report will be available early next year.

    However, we realize that it takes more than just PTAR to effectively contribute to Tapanuli orangutan long-term viability. PTAR has also carried out considerable work in conservation initiatives beyond what’s required for mining sector, including existing and future collaborative works with key regional stakeholders in protecting larger area of ecosystem and working on potential offsets program for residual impacts which cannot be avoided or mitigated.  The initiatives include:

    Regular trainings in pre-clearing fauna inspections and phenology to increase awareness, knowledge and skill of its staff.

    2022 Phenology Field Training

    2022 Phenology Field Training

    PTAR has been conducting regular trainings in pre-clearing fauna inspections and phenology to increase awareness, knowledge, and skill of its staff.

    Improved Zonal Protection

    Biodiversity warning signs to reduce human-orangutans conflicts

    PTAR has improved its zonal protection through implementation wildlife warning signs and routine patrol aimed at reducing wildlife-human conflicts and eradicating illegal access which may lead to degradation of ecosystem due to illegal activities (hunting and farming).

    Major Partner for Key Regional Stakeholders

    PTAR has been a major partner for key regional stakeholders: Barumun Nagari Wildlife Sanctuary (BNWS) which provides tigers, tapir, and elephants sanctuary services; and Scorpion Foundation, a key NGO carries out regional protection and conservation activities of the environment and wildlife, including community-based patrol, particularly in the area of Batangtoru Forest and PTAR mining.

    Promoting alternative economic livelihoods

    • PTAR has been one of the most significant economic drivers to the local community by providing employment opportunities and purchasing goods/services.

    PTAR economic contribution to the local community, excluding $80-100 m in various taxes, royalties, dividends to regional and central government.

    • PTAR has also been active in various capacity-building programs for local community: improving education and healthcare infrastructure as well as supporting projects in sustainable farming and home industries which in turn helped to reduce illegal mining, farming, and logging activities.

    PTAR public contribution

    Local Rice Seed Product

    Local Product Development

    Irigation Development

    South Tapanuli Batik Product

    Chili Farmer Product

    Improving spatial planning for orangutans (protection of critical conservation areas, reduced fragmentation from roads, effective corridors, settlements with reduced chance of human-orangutan conflict)

    • PTAR has been active in identification, maintenance and improvement of internal corridor, including the one which was identified in 2014 HCV study.
    • With BAP and reputable international consultants, PTAR is also working on offset program to identify and manage protection / conservation sites outside our mine area including opportunity to build a wildlife corridor. An early report will be available early next year.
    • PTAR has been in close communication with key regional NGO, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL), to establish joint programs specifically designed for orangutans conservation.

    Encouraging local community planting schemes on their lands, for community/personal use (e.g. house refurbishment), to avoid the community to return to the site and destroy the habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan.

    PTAR has been working in identification and management of “Lubuk Larangan” sites as a part of rejuvenation of local wishdom to protect some part of water system and related landscape as “not-for-human exploitation zone”, promoting sustainable fishery practices.

    2022 Lubuk Larangan Project

    Conducting habitat enrichment with forage plants in the peripheral BTE area as a natural barrier for orangutans, to be supported under the North Sumatra Government, which can help to facilitate the cultivation of plants that are not a source of orangutan food on community lands

    • The BAP has been advising the PTAR team on improving effectiveness of mine rehabilitation including implementation of mykorrhiza symbiose techniques.
    • Using state-of-the-art molecular and genetic tools, coupled to high-throughput sequencing and advanced microscopy, mykorrhiza symbionts can be identified and applied to improve the nutrient status of their host plants, influencing mineral nutrition, water absorption, growth and disease resistance, thus improve the success rate and speed of mine rehabilitation programme.
    • The target is to include as many local food/forage plants in BTE parameters.

    2022 Mychoriza Program with Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB)

    PARTNERSHIPS

    PTAR understands that collaboration between key stakeholders is critical to ensuring the sustainable conservation of biodiversity in the Batang Toru Ecosystem. The Company supports this outcome through various means.

    Since 2020, we have been helping the Bodhicitta Mandala Medan Association Foundation (YPBMM) and the North Sumatra Natural Resources Conservation Center (BBKSDA) to release three Sumatran tigers. The Sumatran tiger is one of the protected and endangered wildlife species with the status of Critically Endangered.

    Partnerships with universities and other research institutions in the implementation of biodiversity surveys and field trials at the Martabe Gold Mine.

    Providing university students and graduates with site biodiversity survey experience.

    Supporting independent assessment of the quality of site water discharge by means of an Integrated Monitoring Team comprising representatives from local government, local communities and the University of North Sumatra.

    Participation in workshops, forums and other events held in support of biodiversity conservation  in the Batangtoru Forest.

    Ongoing financial support for local conservation NGOs including the Scorpion Foundation and the Medan Bodhicitta Mandala Association, that operates the Barumun Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary.

    BIODIVERSITY STANDARDS, CODES AND GUIDANCE

    The approach to the management of biodiversity at the Martabe Gold Mine has been developed with reference to a range of widely recognized industry guidance, including :

    • IFC Performance Standard 6 Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources (IFC 2012)
    • Standard on Biodiversity Offsets (BBOP 2012)
    • Good Practice Guidance for Mining and Biodiversity (ICMM 2006)

    MITIGATION HIERARCHY

    Management of biodiversity at the Martabe Gold Mine is based on the mitigation hierarchy, widely recognized  as best practice for mitigating project related biodiversity impacts.

    Examples Martabe Gold Mine

    Z

    Offset project (under development)

    Z

    Restoration of forest habitat under the site rehabilitation program

    Z

    Land Clearing Management

    Z

    Pre-clearing fauna inspections

    Z

    Avoidance of mine development in Protected Forest

    Z

    Site selection tailing storage facility

    Avoidance

    The first and potentially most important step in the mitigation hierarchy is avoidance of impacts by means of decisions made early in the project planning stage. The most likely opportunities for avoidance involve site selection, project design and project scheduling.

    Minimization

    Minimisation involves reducing “as low as reasonably practicable” biodiversity loss due to impacts that are unavoidable if the project is implemented. There are three classes of controls for minimising project related environmental impacts: physical controls related to the design of infrastructure, operational controls such as rules and procedures, and abatement controls on pollution.

    Restoration

    Restoration involves measures taken to recover biodiversity loss that has not been addressed through avoidance and/or minimization. The common example in mining is site rehabilitation involving the establishment of habitat similar to that originally cleared. Restoration of habitat is the most important control on biodiversity loss at the Martabe Gold Mine.

    Offsets

    Biodiversity offsets are measurable conservation outcomes resulting from actions designed to compensate for significant residual adverse biodiversity impacts arising from project development and persisting after appropriate avoidance, minimization and restoration measures have been taken. (IFC Performance Standard 6)

    TECHNICAL STUDIES IN SUPPORT OF BIODIVERSITY

    Since project commencement, PTAR has implemented a range of technical studies to support development of controls for mitigating biodiversity impacts associated with the Martabe Gold Mine.

    FLORA AND FAUNA SURVEYS

    The first fauna and flora survey at the Martabe site was conducted in 2003. Since that time, seven additional surveys have been conducted in support of environmental impact assessments and also to meet more specialized needs. The data provided by these surveys is important for development of the site rehabilitation program and the design of a biodiversity offset. All fauna and flora surveys have been conducted by experienced consultant ecologists using standardized methods for data collection and analysis.

    ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

    Planning for sustainable development at the Martabe Gold Mine commenced before the construction of the project with the implementation of 38 environmental and social studies in support of the project’s environmental and social impact assessment, known as AMDAL.  The AMDAL contains a large number of requirements for the control of impacts over the life of the mine. Impacts on biodiversity are evaluated as part of the Amdal assessment process.

    HABITAT MAPPING STUDIES

    Two habitat mapping studies have been implemented at the Martabe Gold Mine. Study outcomes included:

    • Evaluation and mapping of land cover and habitat types over the project area.
    • Evaluation of impacts on habitat associated with the project.
    • Recommendations for improving biodiversity management at the site.

    Specifically, the results of these studies are important for the design of a biodiversity offset for the site.

    Dr. Rondang Siregar is a Senior Biodiversity and Conservation Planning Consultant at the Daemeter Consulting. Dr Rondang has been working in Biodiversity and Conservation issues over 20 years, focusing on primate and habitat conservation, orangutan rehabilitation/ reintroduction, human and orangutan conflict resolution, wildlife/orangutan trade, protected area, ecotourism, mining and biodiversity and climate change.

    Dr. Suci Utami Atmoko is a Professor at the National University (UNAS) in Indonesia. She has studied orangutans for nearly 30 years and made a significant contribution to several internal scientific literatures on orangutans. She is a member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group.

    Dr. Puji Rianti is a Lecturer and Researcher at the Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia. Dr Puji has been working in Biodiversity and Conservation issues for close to 15 years, focusing on primate and habitat conservation, orangutan rehabilitation/ reintroduction, human and orangutan conflict resolution, wildlife/orangutan trade and ecotourism.

    Dr. Onrizal is an Associate Professor at the University of North Sumatra (UNSU) in Indonesia. He has extensive experience (>25 years) in tropical forest ecology and biodiversity conservation.