Pan African Resources is committed to monitoring, measuring and managing our environmental impact – a responsibility of the extractive industry
Environmental governance and legislation
The group monitors adherence to mining-related legislation (see below) 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 taxation 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 will ensure compliance with any new tailings activities. The group is 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. None of these risks are deemed to have a significant financial or environmental impact on the group due to the controls in place. Key environmental legislation regulating the mining industry:
• Mineral and Petroleum Resources Royalty (Administration) Act, 2008
• National Environmental Management Act, 1998
• National Water Act, 1998
• National Nuclear Regulator Act, 1999
• National Environmental Waste Act, 59 of 2008
• Air Quality Amendment Act, 20 of 2014.
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 decommissioned 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 ISO14001. 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 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 spillages.
All operations hold approved water-use licences issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation Affairs. Contamination of water sources is our most significant risk in terms of negatively impacting on 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. 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.
Environmental legislation: Fines and incidents
No environmental fines were issued. Two environmental incidents were reported at Barberton Mines and five environmental incidents were reported at Evander Mines during the year under review.Barberton Mines’ amended Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was approved by the DMR in August 2017. The DMR approved Evander Mines’ amended EMP in September 2013 and its water-use licence (including Elikhulu) in August 2017.
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 will focus on reinforcing an employee culture shift towards environmental awareness and accountability.
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 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and includes promoting energy efficiencies at the group’s operations. 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.
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. There were no significant spills at any of the operations during the year.