Lundin Mining – SDG 15

Lundin Mining


Industry: Mining

Primary SDG Focus

Secondary SDG Focus

SDG 13 Joint Climate Action

How was your primary SDG focus identified and prioritized in the company’s value chain?

Neves-Corvo is located within two Natura 2000 sites: the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive. In consideration of the potential impact of mining on these areas, Somincor has initiated and maintained programs focused on SDG15, Life on Land. These programs have not only focused on minimizing and mitigating potential impacts, but also to identify opportunities for habitat and species’ enhancement.

As Neves-Corvo is an active member of local communities, the operation includes consideration of the surrounding land use and the integration of the community activities and biodiversity in all its programs. Opportunities to integrate SDG 15, and other relevant SDGs into programs and initiatives are identified and carried out through extensive and ongoing engagement, some of which are detailed below.

The first biodiversity study in the region was conducted by Neves-Corvo in 1982. The Company has maintained, since 1990, a biodiversity monitoring program with annual work carried out by internal staff, in collaboration with teams of biologists from the Universities of Coimbra and Lisbon.

SDG15 is considered in Somincor’s activities at different levels:

  • Activity impact;
  • Support local conservation of biodiversity and habitats third-party projects;
  • Project development to minimize impacts;
  • Continuous monitoring of biodiversity/habitats;
  • Collection of species, habitat and landscape photographs since 2000.

All these activities are carried out involving local organizations, administration and, if specific knowledge and skills are needed, nationally- and internationally-recognized organizations.

In 2018, Neves-Corvo brought together local government officials, national tourism regulators, entrepreneurs and nature protection associations to discuss best practices, opportunities and generate ideas for future development. Nature tourism is an opportunity for advancing development, leveraging Portugal’s position as a top-trending global destination for vacationers.

How was your primary SDG integrated and anchored throughout your business?

SDG 15 has always been a top priority for Lundin Mining’s Neves-Corvo mine. It is deeply integrated throughout the business via ongoing programs and partnerships, and in Neves-Corvo’s Biodiversity Management Plan. Examples of activities undertaken in 2018 include the following:

  • Local impacts: To mitigate potential impacts from our activities, Neves-Corvo has committed to conducting site discharges during times of optimal flow, avoiding periods of low flow, and maximizing water re-use.;
  • Assessment of passive water treatment options, including engineered wetlands, to treat/improve water quality, while providing ecological enhancements, during operational/post-operational periods;
  • Collaborative geochemistry assessment programs with the Lisbon Science Faculty;
  • Planting of 400 holm oaks in a regional forest and projected 1,300 in 2020;
  • Bivalve Conservation projects with the Évora University;
  • Update of the Mine Closure Plan, delivered to authorities in 2016, to consider the potential use of existing mine shafts as bat habitat during post-closure period.

The mine also conducts routine monitoring of flora/fauna, air/water quality, at various locations, and interacts with local farmers routinely. Moreover, in partnership with the University of Lisbon and Coimbra University, soil remediation and biomonitoring initiatives are undertaken, including aquatic macroinvertebrates, fish and shellfish. The mine has worked with Evora University and PVNG to develop/implement an Emergency Response Plan to safeguard the Red-Listed mollusc species, Unio tumidiformis, in the Oeiras River. This species is at risk due to regional drought. Neves-Corvo also works with the League for the Protection of Nature for the conservation of three endangered species of birds, prioritized by the European Union. Ongoing work with the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity supports several projects for the Guadiana Valley.

Did you employ any innovative approaches in your efforts to implement the goal?


Several innovative approaches for implementing SDG 15 within Neves-Corvo’s area of influence have been employed: Since 2008, Neves-Corvo has shared a protocol with the Institute of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (ICNB) with the objective of reducing potential biodiversity losses and enhancing habitat. In 2011, a report that synthesized all of Neves-Corvo’s activities related to SDG 15, entitled “Biodiversity in the area of Influence of Neves-Corvo Mine, 1982 -2010”, was published. The “Field Guide of the Neves-Corvo Region – A Mine of Biodiversity” was published in June 2013 by the Universities of Coimbra and Lisbon, a collaborative effort with sponsorship from Neves-Corvo. Further, the film “O Cante da Terra”, produced by Daniel Pinheiro and sponsored by Neves-Corvo, was aired on the Portuguese television channel, SIC.

Were any partnerships leveraged or created?

The Company has maintained, since 1990, an asset biodiversity monitoring program with annual work carried out by teams of biologists from the University of Lisbon and Coimbra University. The researchers from the Centre of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Sciences have been supporting Neves-Corvo in the area of environmental studies since 1992. Other partnerships to carry out work for implementing SDG 15 have been leveraged such as:

  • Participation in the Project Life Estepárias providing financial, logistic and technical support. The main goal of this Project is to promote the conservation of Great Bustard, Little Bustard and Lesser Kestrel in their main Portuguese distribution area, from a long-term conservation perspective;
  • Participation in the Project Life Saramugo providing financial, logistic and technical support. Saramugo (Anaecypris hispanica) is one of the most threatened freshwater fish species in Portugal and in the Iberian Peninsula. It’s classified as Endangered and as Critically Endangered at global and at nation wide scale respectively. In Portugal, saramugo shares the same conservation status as the iberian imperial eagle, and the iberian lynx;
  • Work with Evora University to conserve the Red-Listed mollusc, Unio tumidiformis.

Additionally, the Nature Tourism workshop, held in 2018, included the participation of mayors from local municipalities and tourism experts, with a focus on opportunity development. Neves-Corvo frequently works in partnership with local communities, farmers, these government representatives in addition to universities in Portugal.

What communications strategy did you employ to share the initiative with your stakeholders?

These initiatives outlined demonstrate Neves-Corvo’s commitment to their sustainability objectives and performance and effective communications with our stakeholders is a critical component of these efforts. Each program is monitored and reported on to internal stakeholders to track progress and ensure successful delivery. Stakeholders also contribute ideas for consideration in the sustainability programs and, in the case of local Universities, their participation and collaboration are important to the success of the programs, as are opportunities to provide training and technical knowledge beyond the mine’s footprint. Related activities are shared publicly through Lundin Mining’s annual, award-winning Sustainability Report, where readers can access detailed information on implementation efforts at Neves-Corvo.

Other methods for communicating initiatives are often community-engaged and in partnership with stakeholders such as governments/municipalities and universities. A great example of this type of engagement is the 2018-organized event, “Walking for Biodiversity”. The event included approximately 120 participants, who toured the mine facilities, attended a workshop on local flora and fauna, and enjoyed a group lunch.

Another strategy is through the website “A Mine of Biodiversity”, created by the Neves-Corvo Environmental department in collaboration with local Portuguese universities and environmental sciences groups. The content is based on information from environmental reports developed by several organizations which have worked with the Company since 1982. Various studies completed over several decades generated the necessary material to produce a site covering a wide range of species: trees, shrubs, herbs/grasses, bryophytes, fungi, lichens, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. All information is accessible by the public.

How were KPIs and the levels of success outlined and defined?

Some examples of KPIs defined for Neves-Corvo’s activities for implementing SDG 15 include:

  • Employ Best Practices and leverage partnerships for the conservation and protection of biodiversity in Neves-Corvo’s area of influence;
  • Document existing biodiversity conditions to identify areas where activities and intervention could improve them;
  • Monitor biodiversity management programs and promotion of sustainable conditions in an ongoing manner;
  • Number of community members involved in the projects and in the Walking for Biodiversity;
  • Number of partnerships created with the common objective of Biodiversity care and conservation;
  • Increase in the interaction between the Company and Communities measured through feedback on social media and during events.

How were reporting and monitoring conceptualized and undertaken?

Neves-Corvo’s efforts to implement SDG 15 and the programs associated are closely tracked, monitored and reported on. These are initiatives that lie at the core of the mine’s sustainability objectives and performance, and are important to local stakeholders at all levels. Each program is monitored and reported on internally to track progress and ensure successful delivery. Results of priority activities are reported on through monthly and quarterly internal reports, reviewed quarterly by Lundin Mining’s HSEC Committee of the Board. As well, these activities are reported on annually in Lundin Mining’s Sustainability Report. Related regulatory reports are also submitted by the mine, in accordance with relevant permits and approvals.

Other initiatives for communicating initiatives are often community-engaged and in partnership with stakeholders such as governments/municipalities and universities. A great example of this type of engagement is their 2018-organized event, “Walking for Biodiversity”. The event included approximately 120 participants, who toured the mine facilities, attended a workshop on local flora and fauna, and enjoyed a group lunch. Local and regional communications of various activities are coordinated by Neves-Corvo’s community relations’ team.


What were some key lessons learned?


Community and stakeholder participation and collaboration is of vital importance to the long-term success of Neves-Corvo’s sustainability activities, specifically in the case of SDG15. Effective communications, accessible outreach, and technically-excellent programs are critical components in the achievement of successful results. Identifying the framework within which a community is functioning can help a company to develop an approach to a community-wide and focused vision, build trust, foster collaboration and establish priorities to support sustainability. Biodiversity initiatives at Neves-Corvo are also dependent on the enthusiasm and participation of the mine’s employees, as demonstrated by the many public ecological events, and as supported by both mine site and corporate management.

Based on the results to date and the ongoing projects, Neves-Corvo has demonstrated that mining, if carried out in a responsible manner, can effectively support and enhance the conservation status of species and habitats in the region.

What were the key impacts and results?

There are numerous impacts and results that are due to the successful and proactive management of biodiversity initiatives at Neves-Corvo. In 2007, Neves-Corvo signed an agreement with the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity (ICNB) to contribute to the European target of halting biodiversity loss. Neves-Corvo maintained support for this program beyond the expiry of the agreement, voluntarily continuing their biodiversity-related initiatives, including:

  • biodiversity studies;
  • review of best available techniques in industrial effluent management and treatment;
  • stewardship of the Oeiras River;
  • conservation of aquatic communities; and
  • following of the Management Plan of the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley.

Partnerships are important to the success of Neves-Corvo’s initiatives, including the Animal Neutering and Cat Rescue program, the Oeiras River biomonitoring program, a soil remediation program with the University of Lisbon, and the Coimbra University aquatic biodiversity partnership. Additional bird conservation programs have also been developed jointly with the League for the Protection of Nature (LPN).

Supporting Links:  

2017 Sustainability Report

2018 Sustainability Report

Public media and communications