In 2012, we continued to form partnerships with communities, Indigenous Peoples, organizations and institutions around the world to facilitate our efforts related to water stewardship, environmental management and health care.
One such example is our partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium and our investment in 2012 of $12.5 million to support expansion of their facility and research, conservation and education programs related to water and aquatic life. This partnership — a component of our company-wide water strategy — will facilitate the exchange of information and best practices between the experts and research programs of our two organizations.
We will also be collaborating on research of mutual interest and supporting community initiatives related to water conservation near our operations. One of these opportunities is to establish a research network with the Aquarium, our respective partner institutions and Teck.
In May, we invested $2 million as part of a partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Along with contributions from other partners, this led to the conservation of Lot 48 on Columbia Lake in southeast B.C. Lot 48 is a 127-hectare parcel of land of cultural significance to the Ktunaxa First Nation that also represents key habitat for bighorn sheep, elk and a number of rare and endangered species.
The land is situated in the headwaters of the Columbia River, near the Columbia Wetlands, which form part of the longest uninterrupted wetland in North America. One of the species living in these wetlands is the northern leopard frog.
The Vancouver Aquarium is currently working to reproduce these frogs at its facility and conserving Lot 48 will protect the crucial headwaters of this potential future frog release site. This is just one example of how we are leveraging synergies from two important partnerships — with the Vancouver Aquarium and the NCC — to advance our sustainability efforts related to water at or near our operations.