Pan African Resources is committed to monitoring, measuring and managing our environmental impact, since the environment gives us resources to conduct our business.
Environmental stewardship forms part of our strategy and risk management practices and we are committed to reducing our environmental impact. Our environmental objectives include the following:
- Environmental legal compliance – achieving zero penalties for environmental breaches, ensuring compliance with water-use licence conditions and environmental management plans and that air quality remains within legal limits
- Environmental risk management – evaluating environmental risks associated with activities, products and services, and taking appropriate action to minimise potential risks
- Water management – reducing water incidents and incidental overflow to minimise the impact on surrounding communities and the environment
- Energy management – achieving our internal environmental targets to reduce the group’s carbon footprint
- Waste management – reducing, reusing and recycling waste to minimise the impact on surrounding communities and the environment
- Biodiversity management – ensuring that the tailings and pollution control dams are continuously monitored to avert potential negative biodiversity impacts
Environmental governance and legislation
The group monitors adherence to mining-related legislation through a robust SHEQC governance framework, which contains specific environmental guidelines. All operations have closure plans in place.
We are aware of the pending carbon tax legislation and have taken steps to enhance environmental monitoring through the SHEQC dashboard. This dashboard collates environmental information to calculate the group’s carbon emissions.
The Waste Management Act, promulgated in November 2015, requires mines to line new tailings dams. We are aware of these requirements and will ensure compliance with any new tailings activities.
The group is also mindful of climate change, as set out in the group SHEQC policy. All indicators impacted by climate change are regularly monitored. Waste dump design and management, and the pumping of underground water, are part of the day-to-day activities of the mines.
Neither of these risks is deemed to have a significant financial or environmental impact on the group due to controls in place.
The group’s operations have been assessed and classified as low risk due to the low levels of radiological exposure, with radiation levels monitored quarterly by a radiation protection officer. Radiological clearances are conducted at decommission sites to ensure the future classification of these areas. Evander Mines is the holder of a Certificate of Registration (COR 046) issued by the National Nuclear Regulator.
The group’s operations have implemented a group environmental management system, which aligns to ISO 14001. Environmental impact assessments are conducted at all operations with impact and aspect registers available for each operation. These are reviewed annually to ensure legislative compliance. Risk registers are reviewed quarterly and reported to the group SHEQC manager, who elevates any material issues to the SHEQC board sub-committee.
All operations have assessed the environmental risk associated with the transport of goods and materials and found no significant environmental impact. Any cyanide transported to Barberton Mines and Evander Mines is delivered by a supplier-approved transporter. Emergency response trailers are stationed on-site at Barberton Mines, BTRP and Evander Mines to deal with potential spillages.
Emissions at all operations are closely monitored and tracked. The group applied the GHG Protocol and emissions factors published by Eskom to establish direct and indirect emissions.
All operations hold approved water-use licences issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation Affairs. Contamination of water sources is a significant risk in terms of negatively impacting local communities. Drilling and blasting underground releases groundwater, which is pumped to the surface where it is recycled for use in the mining or metallurgical processes in a closed circuit. Any excess water evaporates in approved ponds. Rainwater collected on tailings dams and in pollution control dams is part of the mine water system.
Training and awareness
Environmental awareness training is conducted at group operations during induction, and refresher training is provided when employees return from leave. In addition, monthly awareness training focuses on specific environmental topics.
Due to behaviour and culture challenges experienced across operations, the group focuses on reinforcing an employee culture shift towards environmental awareness and accountability.
Water quality in the areas surrounding operations is monitored and managed rigorously. Surrounding surface and groundwater are monitored to prevent polluted water being discharged. The discharge of water by our operations, through controlled releases into the environment, is predetermined through regulatory requirements and is in line with our water-use licences.
Energy and GHG emissions management
Energy management is based on energy efficiency and climate change, which aligns to the group SHEQC policy. This is driven by the need to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions and includes promoting energy efficiencies at the group’s operations.
Waste at operations is managed in line with the group SHEQC policy and the legal requirements of the National Environmental Waste Act 59 of 2008 and the National Waste Management Strategy. All operations apply the 3Rs principle – reduce, reuse and recycle – to minimise the impact of waste production on community health and the environment.
Internal audits ensure compliance with internal procedures. All waste is disposed of responsibly and sent for recycling where applicable.
Waste disposal suppliers are appropriately certified. Operational waste includes mineral and non-mineral waste. Mineral waste, e.g. waste rock, is mostly waste generated from gold production, while non-mineral waste is generated from processing operations and produced in smaller volumes than mineral waste. This non-mineral waste, e.g. plastics, steel, paper and timber, is managed by recycling, reuse, offsite treatments, and disposal or on-site landfills. The group’s operations ensure responsible storage, treatments and disposal of non-mineral waste in an environmentally responsible way.
The group uses material safety data sheets to identify and manage potentially hazardous materials and waste.