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Our approach to sustainability is focused on generating a net positive impact: minimizing environmental impact, maximizing socio-economic value, nurturing trusted stakeholder relationships and building sustainable livelihoods to ensure local communities thrive well beyond the life of our operations.

Sustainability performance highlights

Supporting local entrepreneurship in Bulgaria

Our approach to climate change

Biodiversity and habitat conservation in Bulgaria

Adding value through innovation

Building resilience in our communities in Tsumeb, Namibia

Electrifying our mines

Supporting reforestation in Ecuador

Supporting the next generation of women in mining

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Sustainability performance highlights

Achieving outstanding sustainability performance has always been a key focus for DPM as we strive to achieve our strategic objective of generating a net positive impact from our operations. During 2022, we delivered meaningful benefits to our stakeholders, made significant advances in our environmental and social performance, and made progress towards achieving our climate change targets, which we announced in May 2022.

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Supporting local entrepreneurship in Bulgaria

We have a long track record of working collaboratively with local municipalities and communities to encourage sustainable business practices and opportunities beyond the mining sector. One of the ways we demonstrate support for our communities is by helping to build economic capacity and create jobs that are not directly associated with our mining activities.

Our small and medium enterprise (SME) fund, established in 2019 in Krumovgrad where our Ada Tepe mine is located, and in 2021, the communities of Chelopech, Chavdar and Zlatitsa, is operating at maximum capacity and drawing increased interest. The SME fund provides seed funding for start-ups, helps to sustain the growth of small businesses, and ultimately fosters a spirit of entrepreneurism in the community as people are inspired to start or expand their own businesses and apply for monetary support.

In Krumovgrad, we committed a total of $5 million USD to support local entrepreneurs over the life of the mine. In order to sustain commercial viability, DPM grant amounts from the fund are matched with a business loan by our partner bank. To receive the funding, companies must agree to be registered in Krumovgrad and commit to stay in the region for the long-term, creating jobs that will be maintained for at least 5 years.

Since 2019 the SME fund in Krumovgrad has managed to provide funding for 47 projects worth almost $3 million USD, which led to the creation of 118 new jobs. We monitor funded projects to ensure the monies allocated are implemented appropriately and that the businesses remain viable and contribute to the economic development of the community.

We see that each year, the people from both regions become more confident to make decisions about their life, their work and the community they are part of. Seeing businesses grow is a signal to DPM management, the Boards of the funds, the partner bank and the consultants that the initiative is achieving its objectives to create a better and a more stable future for the local community and the regions where DPM operates.

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Our approach to climate change

In May 2022, DPM announce its inaugural greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Follow our climate journey, from our establishing our first carbon management plan to our commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.

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Biodiversity and habitat conservation in Bulgaria

Two tortoise species – the Greek tortoise and the Hermann’s tortoise, which are both listed as globally endangered in the Bulgarian Red Book of Endangered Species – were identified on the territory of the Ada Tepe mine as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment completed in 2011. With a goal of protecting and preserving their populations, the company determined that they needed to be moved to another location, which would best suit their needs.

In the past 8 years we have managed to mark 2,456 tortoises from both species. Monitoring of the whole mining area has demonstrated the successful adaptation of the tortoises to their new surroundings. This project has been highlighted by the European Commission as a Best Practice in biodiversity manage. It is also an example of how DPM demonstrates care towards the environment and its biological diversity.

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Adding value through innovation

Innovation is a hallmark of DPM. We encourage creative thinking and problem-solving – whether through new technology or simply smarter processes, we are always looking for better ways to work.

DPM has a strong track record of unlocking value through innovation, including achieving improvements in safety, lowering mining costs, and reducing our environmental impact.

For a number of years, we have also established a reputation as an innovative mining company for our work in applying new technologies to drive value in our business, such as our work with Exyn to deploy autonomous survey drones in our underground operations at Chelopech, which has increased safety and efficiency.

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Building resilience in our communities in Tsumeb, Namibia

Although our smelter operations are not subject to life of mine considerations, given that Tsumeb is a longer-term asset, we still see value in building resiliency in the economic and social systems of the local community to reduce its dependency on the smelter.

To that end, we established the Tsumeb Community Trust which is an autonomous entity governed by independent trustees selected from various fields of expertise and professions within the community.

The Trust Deed, which regulates activities of the Trust, allows for the flexibility to create projects and programs that can sustain its activities and economic activity beyond the existence of DPM.

In 2022, DPM reinforced one of its core values, we partner with our communities, and officially signed a US$167,000 3-year community investment agreement with the Oshikoto Regional Council and Tsumeb Municipality.

The investment will amount to 1 million Namibian Dollars per year for a period of 3 years and will primarily focus on agricultural projects, while not excluding other projects that address sustainable livelihoods within the community.

Since smallholder agriculture is the backbone of urban economies in developing countries like Namibia, partnerships for sustainable agriculture are of crucial importance to tackling Signing of the 3-year community investment agreement with the Oshikoto Regional food insecurity and unemployment.

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Electrifying our mines

A new pilot project at Chelopech and Ada Tepe is helping to pave the way for the electrification of our mines. In 2022, we collaborated with Sandvik, a Swedish multinational engineering company specializing in products and services for the mining sector, to pilot electrified heavy vehicles at our mines in Bulgaria.

We purchased three electrified heavy-duty vehicles – a Solo drill, a loader, and a truck -- for our two mining operations. One of the machines is already operating on site, while the other two are expected later in 2023.

By replacing some of our corresponding diesel equipment we expect to reduce GHG emissions by approximately 1,600 tCO2e per year.

The pilot is a big step in achieving our Scope 1 and 2 decarbonization targets, and will help build valuable experience that will be transferred to other existing and new sites.

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Supporting reforestation in Ecuador

We are applying the extensive learnings and successful practices in biodiversity monitoring and management developed at Ada Tepe at our Loma Larga development project in Ecuador. The protection and maintenance of biodiversity is a key priority for the project.

We have established a large agroforestry nursery center in Ecuador, “Las Quinoas”, with the vision of creating an experimental hub for environmental research. Located in the San Gerardo parish, the property was once damaged by a forest fire, but now boasts a production capacity of over 100,000 plants. These plants are intended to be used for reforestation purposes following closure of the mine. In addition, we donate a significant number of plants to reforest areas affected by fires and engage in various research projects with educational institutions including the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of Cuenca and the School of Biology at the University of Azuay.

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Supporting the next generation of women in mining

At the annual Mining for Diversity event hosted by Women in Mining (WIM) Canada at the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference, the Student Trailblazer Award and Scholarship, sponsored by Wheaton Precious Metals, was awarded to Kathryn Cheng. A fourth-year student pursuing a career in mining, Kathryn was recognized for her outstanding achievements and commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry. She was recently accepted into the Earth Sciences PhD program at Columbia University, highlighting her dedication to furthering her knowledge and expertise in the field.

This was DPM’s second year sponsoring the Student Trailblazer award and scholarship, which serves as a valuable tool to support and encourage the next generation of diverse and talented leaders in the mining industry and represents DPM's dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion in the sector.