Mining has a direct impact on the environment because of the need to access and use land and water resources. Indirect impacts also result from the construction of roads and other infrastructure and the access they provide. We also share scarce resources with the communities in which we operate. We are committed to responsible stewardship by monitoring, managing and minimising our impact on the environment.
Our commitments are reflected in our company values. We undertake to regularly improve our processes to prevent pollution, minimise waste, increase our carbon efficiency and make efficient use of natural resources.
Changing societal expectations and economic and climatic conditions challenge us to develop innovative solutions.
Mining and gold recovery processes require considerable water to
function. In recognising that water is a
vital resource for sustaining ecosystems and people, it is a key priority for
us to minimise our impact on the water environment. Our water management standard
is designed to ensure that our operations manage water resources efficiently
and responsibly while being responsive to local and regional pressures on
surface and ground water resources.
Air Quality Management
Mining,power generation, transportation and ore processing activities can result in air quality impacts in and around production
facilities. There is also a possibility these impacts could extend beyond the operation’s fence-line, affecting habitats and
communities. There are mainly two types of air quality impacts: airborne particulates or gases from point sources such as smelthouse
and power generation stacks; or from dispersed fugitive sources such as unsealed access roads and tailings storage facilities.
Land and Biodiversity
Biodiversity refers to the variability among living organisms including, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological
complexes of which they are part. Mining, when strategically planned and carefully implemented, need not have a negative impact on biodiversity.
Biodiversity management is a prominent part of our land management approach and we plan our site infrastructure development to minimise impacts.
The main waste we generate is waste rock and tailings. During mining, waste rock is generated as the ore body is exposed. Tailings are the fine
process effluents that are deposited in the form of slurry in large storage facilities known as tailings storage facilities (TSFs) that have been
specifically designed for this purpose. Low-grade deposits are sometimes processed on heap leach pads. In this process, ore is crushed and heaped
on an impervious or lined pad. A low strength cyanide solution is then irrigated over the heaped pad and the solution now containing gold gradually leaches.
Mining is an energy-intensive sector. We require a significant amount of energy for the transportation of employees, equipment, water, ore and waste; ventilation and refrigeration for underground mines; power drilling; the running of plants; and for administrative and domestic use at our operations.
Climate change increases the potential risks to our operations, including changes in rainfall patterns or reduced water availability, rising sea levels, higher temperatures and extreme weather events. Events or conditions such as flooding or inadequate water supplies could disrupt mining, mineral processing, transport operations and rehabilitation efforts. Climate risks also impact our employees and the communities in which we operate and potentially affect issues such as food security, water scarcity and prevalence of disease.
Integrated Closure Planning
All mines are based on the extraction of a non-renewable resource and will eventually close. Mine closure may also occur for other reasons, such as changes in economic or physical conditions where the operation cannot fulfil commitments to shareholders and other stakeholders relating to safe, reliable or profitable operations. We operate in accordance with our Closure Planning Standard.