Lipari’s Braúna mine and infrastructure occupies an area of approximately 110 ha, which represents only 6% of the surface area of the 1,875 hectares of mineral rights held by the Company, and about 40% of the 269 hectares of surface rights owned and maintained by the Company. Prior to the construction of the mine in 2015, the surface rights currently owned by the Company were used primarily for small-scale agriculture or grazing lands for goats and cattle.
Currently, 135 hectares of the 269 hectares maintained by Lipari consists of native “caatinga” vegetation, including 55 hectares which Lipari maintains as a “legal reserve” in accordance with the environmental license issued to Lipari by the state environmental authorities. Lipari’s environmental team is working to expand the area covered by native caatinga vegetation and is currently planting seedlings in a 24-hectare area which is undergoing the process of environmental recovery. Lipari maintains a greenhouse at the mine which has over 4,000 seedlings, comprised of more than 30 different species. These seedlings are being used for planting in areas undergoing environmental recovery.
Conserving Our Water Resources
Lipari’s Braúna mine is situated in the interior of Bahia state, an area which is dominated by a semi-arid climate. Annual rainfall in the region is in the order of only 500 millimetres. Water is therefore a valuable resource in this region, and this requires that everyone work to conserve this valuable resource. With this knowledge, Lipari worked with the ADP Group in South Africa to design a processing plant which recycled the water that is required to process the kimberlite ore. Lipari’s processing plant at the Braúna mine recycles 98% of the water used to process the ore.
This is done by dewatering the plant “tailings”, which is the waste produced that is produced during the crushing, screening and concentration of the ore, by passing this fine waste material through a rotary centrifuge which spins the material at a high velocity to remove the water. This clean water is then recycled back to the processing circuit. During 2021, our processing plant required only 0.21 m³ of water for each tonne of ore that was processed. In addition to water conservation, another important benefit of Lipari’s water recovery system is that the mine does not have a traditional “tailings pond”, or a wet storage system for the processing plant waste. Traditional tailings ponds can be a long-term environmental liability for mining companies and the communities in which they operate. We are extremely proud of the fact that we recycle over 98% of the water used by our processing plant. Lipari is the only diamond producer in the world to use this tailings dewatering system. This new technology has been studied by other diamond producers, who are now considering copying Lipari’s technology in their processing plants.
Energy Sources and Consumption – Our Energy Matrix
Lipari’s operations rely on two main sources of energy. The Company requires i) electrical energy to support its mine facilities, processing plant and head office, and ii) diesel oil to fuel its mining equipment. Approximately 87% of the electrical energy produced in Brazil is generated from renewable energy sources, hydroelectrical, wind and solar¹. Electrical energy consumption represents 24% of Lipari’s energy matrix, while diesel fuel consumed by the mining equipment represents 76% of the Company’s energy matrix. Electrical energy consumption increased by 10% since the start of commercial production in 2016, due to the addition of equipment in the processing plant. Conversely diesel fuel consumption decreased over the same period, from approximately 84% to the current consumption rate of 76%. This reduction mirrors a decline in volumes mined since the start of operations, as the amount of waste rock mined decreases as the depth of the open pit mine increases.
Monitoring Our Environment
Lipari has conducted, since before the construction of the Braúna mine, a series of environmental monitoring programs in the area surrounding the mine. These programs, which run continually throughout the year, document the quality of surface and underground water, air quality, ambient noise levels, as well as the monitoring and study of terrestrial and aquatic fauna, and native flora. The objective of these monitoring programs is to track and evaluate the impact that our mine has on the local environment and ensure that the results fall within the regulations defined by the responsible government entities. We are extremely proud of the fact that historically, all of the results from our studies are within the legal limits defined by the government.
The recovery of Lipari’s natural diamonds from the kimberlite ore is also conducted in an environmentally- friendly manner. Unlike gold or base metal mines, our processing plant does not use any chemicals to process the ore. The natural diamonds produced at our plant are liberated by the crushing and screening of the ore, and separation of the diamonds by concentration and separation of the light minerals (non-diamond) from the heavy minerals (diamond). This means that there is no risk of chemical contamination of local sources of water. Because of our state-of-the-art water recovery system, which recovers 98% of our process water, we only need to pump 12 m³ per hour of new water to meet the requirements of the plant. This new water is pumped from the Itapicuru river, located just 4 kilometres to the south of the mine. As a result of the low demand for water, our mine has a minimal impact on local water supplies.
Lipari’s commitment to water conservation and the environment was recognized by FIEB – Federation of Industries of the State of Bahia in 2018, when Lipari was awarded FIEB’s 12th Sustainable Bahia Industry Award.
¹ Source: National Electric Energy Agency – ANEEL