At SilverWillow, we seek to balance the need for energy development with the needs of communities and stakeholders. We must concurrently build shareholder value while respecting the environment, addressing the concerns of our neighbours and providing for future needs. We support the principle of sustainable development through adaptive management, integration of environmental planning and accountability at all levels of operations and management. Among the tools we will use to achieve these goals are technological innovation, community consultation, impact mitigation and regional participation.
Responsible Resource Development
SilverWillow recognizes that environmental and health and safety standards continue to become increasingly stringent. We further recognize that responsible resource development must plan for addressing these expectations throughout the life cycle of any resource development project. As a result, we are using minimum disturbance winter exploration methods and progressive reclamation to minimize our exploration footprint. We also are seeking reclamation certificates and approvals for all of our exploration programs as we go. Our in situ projects will be developed with the most recent technology for bitumen extraction taking advantage of the learnings obtained from other developers in the region.
Although the oil sands are clearly a significant contributor to global energy needs and Canada’s economy, these two elements must be balanced with maintaining a healthy environment. The oil sands industry has made tremendous progress over the years in reducing the environmental impact of oil sands operations, and we recognize that there remains more to be done.
The oil sands are often mistakenly labelled as being Canada’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, while the industry in fact accounts for less than five per cent of Canada’s emissions, and only 0.1 per cent of global emissions. Energy companies are working to lower that number. The chart below compares the emissions of Canada’s largest industries.
Health and Safety
We are committed to protecting the health and safety of communities, employees and contractors, and to implementing procedures and systems that promote health and safety in the workplace. Our health and safety management system involves education, prevention and commitment and goes beyond our operations and into the communities in which we are involved.
We are committed to establishing and maintaining a constructive dialogue with stakeholders to ensure that we understand and address stakeholder concerns. We will strive to earn and retain stakeholder respect for our activities.
We will also conduct our activities with professional integrity, seeking to balance the need for increasing energy supply with environmental sustainability, stakeholder expectations and financial accountability to shareholders. We are currently developing policies and strategies toward achieving this balance in a pragmatic and proactive way.
Procurement policies and procedures will be designed to balance and facilitate broad-based competition, fair and equal treatment of the business community, innovative solutions and direct and indirect economic benefits for local communities, Alberta and Canada.
Opportunities, where practical and feasible, will be established specifically for Aboriginal and/or local companies that provide fair and reasonable goods and services required for our oil sands projects.
All of our programs are sensitive to constraints on communities and stakeholders. Recognizing protocols and culture, our community engagement includes a tailored approach to meeting with Aboriginal peoples.
Recent Community Efforts
The relationships that we built as UTS, and carried through to SilverBirch in partnership with Teck with the communities located near our activity areas will continue with SilverWillow. Our actions are guided by respect for our neighbours. We seek to understand their priorities and to learn from each other in order to create a transparent, constructive association and identify ways in which we can work together and support each other’s goals and objectives.
As our predecessor companies, we have worked with local communities to supply firewood from our exploration projects, provided drilling tours of our exploration operations, conducted book drives and provided computers for the Athabasca Delta Regional School in Fort Chipewyan. We provided a tour for Fort McKay residents, including members of the Fort McKay First Nation and McKay Métis Nation, of the Fort McKay Pilot Plant for the Frontier Project and a discussion on the processes involved with extraction, tailings and froth treatment. We also partnered with Alberta Energy, Culture and Community Spirit and Fort McKay Metis and Fort Chipewyan Metis to help with the process of developing community strategic plans
Through our ongoing consultation with the communities in the area, in particular the Aboriginal communities, SilverWillow is aware of the many traditional land use, socio-economic and environmental concerns related to the development of the oil sands area. We are committed to understanding community issues through open houses, tours and other community initiatives, Together, SilverWillow and the local communities can identify and pursue economic opportunities and provide social benefits.