How much will it cost you to insure your mining risks? The easiest way to find out is to contact an insurance company and ask them to give you a quote. As always, however, it is best to be well informed when interacting with a salesman. Chubb has a nice 11-page Mining Industry Application form you can download and examine before making the call.

Maybe you should first consult with a mining consultant who specializes in insurance. Brian John Griffin at bgriffin@golder.com is one. Another who may be able to help you (based on a reasonable presentation) is Kenneth L. Sloan of March & McLennan (his email address is ken.l.sloan@marsh.com ).

You can consult resources in the InfoMine library or on the web—although I found little of informative value—plenty of advertising though. Some guidance on finding a broker in so specialized a market is given in an obscure document from the EPA, namely Utilizing Environmental Insurance for Brownfield Redevelopment.

A brochure from JLT Risk Solutions is informative, if not definitive (but beware it takes forever to download.) I copy this list from their website to give you some idea of the types of mining-related risk they insure:

  • Captive management
  • Political Risk
  • Trade Credit Risk
  • Directors and Officers liabilities
  • Warranty and Indemnity exposure
  • Claims consultancy
  • Cargo and marine perils
  • Alternative Risk Transfer solutions

JCH Environmental Risk Solutions provides insurance services to the mining industry. Somebody who is very knowledgeable about the mining industry and whose opinion I respect wrote in response to my question, who is best?: “I noticed two geologists, Herrman and Koval,on the JCH roster on their website. They're probably the ones most knowledgeable about mine insurance.” A discussion of environmental insurance in mining is described in Mining Risks by Michael Hermann, PG.. Generally this type of insurance is taken out to cover the costs of mine closure—but see the paper for specifics.

In Spokane, Washington is Jones & Mitchell Insurance & Risk Management. They have served customers in the Northwest since 1910. Contact them in 2006.

On the basis of personal experience, I know that AIG issues environmental insurance to the mining industry. There is a great deal of useful information on their site about mining and insurance—take a look. Not least is this list of things that you will be happy to be insured against if they happen at your mine—AIG does not pull the punches!

  • If acid drainage is unchecked, water may become corrosive and unable to support many forms of aquatic life. Also, it can become harmful to vegetation growing along streams.
  • Unprocessed mine water can carry toxic, metal-bearing sediment into streams and kill waterborne plant and animal species. Sources include seepage from underground mine workings, runoff from abandoned/inactive mines, and runoff from waste rock and overburden.
  • Acid leaching operations produce large volumes of metal-bearing acid solutions that can and do pollute water.
  • Unlined solution ponds at older copper sites may leak acids and metal release into the soil and surface water.
  • Covering thousands of acres, slurry in unlined tailings impoundments can contaminate the soil and surface water with heavy metals and chemical residue.
  • Fugitive dust from road traffic in the mine pit, rock crushers in pits, and mills and tailings ponds may contain toxins such as arsenic and lead that substantially pollute the air.
  • By producing carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide gas that collects in underground areas, exhaust fumes from diesel engines and blasting agents may be a serious hazard at underground mines.
  • Earth moving vehicles, drill rigs and trucks can leak fuel, lubricants and oil that pollute the soil and groundwater.
  • Other equipment such as conveyers and elevators may leak hydraulic fluid (contains glycol ethers) and battery chemicals (contain sulfuric acid, lead, antimony, and arsenic) that can and do contaminate the soil and groundwater.