At Ero Copper, our commitment to sustainability is fundamental to the Company's growth strategy. We are committed to minimizing the impact, monitoring and caring for the local environment, ensuring the long-term success and sustainable development of our local communities, providing a safe workplace for our employees and contractors, and operating at the highest level of social responsibility to ensure all of our communities and the local environment continue to thrive both during operations and well beyond the life of our mines.
Ero Copper and its subsidiaries, MCSA and NX Gold, continue to make significant investment to ensure the long-term growth and success of our neighboring communities.
- At MCSA and throughout the Curaca Valley, Bahia, these programs include (i) a local goat cheese production program, (ii) a growing entrepreneurship program, (iii) the "Roots" nursery and community garden program and (iv) cultural enrichment programs
- At NX Gold and in Nova Xavantina, Mato Grosso, these programs include contributions to established regional programs such as (i) Project Hope, (ii) Association of Parents and Friends of the Exceptional and (ii) sponsorship of local fairs, rodeos and cultural events and youth sports teams
We are committed to operating across the Company with best-in-class environmental practices. These practices include developing and implementing new innovative ways of reducing fresh water consumption, continuing to reduce our overall operating footprint where possible, reduce reliance on conventional tailings dams, a strong commitment to Company-wide recycling programs, and ongoing rehabilitation effort for areas that are no longer in use, including legacy areas distribed by artisanal mining.
At our largest operation, MCSA, 100% of the mine and mill's electrical power demand is met through renewable hydroelectric, wind and solar energy from the Sobradinho Dam Complex. In addition, our tailings co-disposal methodology, developed by MCSA, has allowed the Company to cease use and begin to revegetate areas of its legacy tailings dam as well as reduce reliance on fresh-water, with up to 70% of the required process water made-up from tailings co-disposal water collection.
At the NX Gold Mine, the Company continues to revegetate and remediate sites that were impacted by artisanal mining, in turn, improving the local flora and fauna helath of the region. Additionally, over the past two years, improved surface and in-mine water collection practices have resulted in a significant reduction in fresh-water used in processing activities.
Health & Safety
The safety, overall health and well-being of our employees and contractors operating at each of our sites is one of the most basic foundational principles from which we operate and make decisions. These initiatives over the past two years include major overhauls of the Company's ventilation and secondary escape-ways, investments in regional health centers and on-site medical facilities as well as providing strong benefit packages to our employees. In 2018, the Company achieved the best safety record in the history of the operations with over 6 million man hours worked.
Employee Development & Diversity
Our strongest asset is our people and their support of the direction of the Company. We aim to earn this support every day through well implemented employee training programs, opportunities for advancement and creating a culture of operational excellence. All of the employees of the Company's subsidiaries are Brazilian nationals. The Company is proud to sponsor local, apprenticeships, internship programs and work-study programs to further advance our employees and local communities. As at the end of 2018, our MCSA operations had 112 apprentice and internship positions filled, primarily with local candidates. In addition, the percentage of women who work at MCSA increased to 9% as at the end of 2018, including in technical and managerial roles.