Committed To Protecting Our Natural Heritage
Pan African Resources recognizes the privilege it has been afforded to operate and mine in some of the oldest and best-preserved deposits of sedimentary and volcanic rock on the planet.
Our mines are fully committed to operating with due respect within our natural environment to extract our high-grade geological gold resources. Furthermore, we take the greatest care to ensure we return the environment to its natural state through our fully funded rehabilitation funds.
Historical mining tailings are often considered to be one of the most significant sources of environmental damage produced by mining operations. The re-mining and consolidation of these tailings assist in reducing their environmental footprint. Our new Elikhulu plant will consolidate the Kinross, Leslie and Winkelhaak TSFs into a single facility, which will reduce the environmental footprint and impact of Evander Mines. BTRP in Barberton also fulfils the same function and is consolidating the Bramber and Harper TSFs through re-mining and re-depositing tailings material.
Elikhulu’s enlarged Kinross TSF extension is lined to prevent and limit underground seepage and pollution and represents our sincere commitment to address the ‘scar tissue’ of tailings that is so often associated with the mining industry. At the same time, the consolidated facility allows us to increase our positive socio-economic contributions, particularly through job creation.
Why Natural Resources Are Material To Us
The business of Pan African Resources depends wholly on the environment and its natural resources; not only those we extract from the ground, but also land, water and air. As such, we are committed to being the best possible stewards of these resources and treating them with the care and responsibility they deserve. We are dedicated to minimising and, where possible, eliminating the negative environmental impacts of our operations.
As an organisation operating in an industry with the potential for significant environmental impact, Pan African Resources places a priority on preserving the environment and protecting vital natural resources like air, water, soil, minerals, fuels, plants and animals.
While it is not possible to operate a mine without impacting the physical environment around the mining site, we make every effort to keep this impact to a minimum. While we cannot completely prevent environmental impact, we work to mitigate the effects through the application of innovative technology, coupled with a group-wide commitment to environmental stewardship and a culture of compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.
By fostering good relations with the regulatory authorities such as the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Mineral Resources, and contributing wherever possible to the development of laws and regulations for our industry, we have established a reputation for environmental awareness, concern and compliance.
|Environmental stewardship is a key part of our business strategy and risk management practices. Our environmental objectives include the following:
|Environmental legal compliance||• Achieving zero penalties for environmental breaches
• Ensuring compliance with water-use licence conditions and the Environmental Management Plan
• Maintaining air pollution levels within legal limits
• Ensuring compliance with water-use licence conditions and the Environmental Management Play.
• Maintaining air pollution levels within legal limits
|Environmental risk management ||• Constantly evaluating environmental risks associated with our activities, products and services
• Taking appropriate action to minimise environmental risks
|Water management ||• Reducing water incidents and incidental overflow to minimise the impact on surrounding communities and the environment
|Energy management ||• Achieving internal environmental targets to reduce our carbon footprint
|Waste management ||• Reducing, reusing and recycling waste to minimise the impact on surrounding communities and the environment
|Biodiversity management ||• Continuously monitoring the tailings and pollution control dams to prevent negative biodiversity impact
Environmental Governance and Legislation
The group monitors adherence to mining-related legislation through a robust SHEQC governance framework that includes comprehensive environmental guidelines relevant to the mining industry.
Comprehensive operational procedures are in place and are updated at least every two years in line with the key elements of environmental legislation specific to regulating the mining industry:
- Mineral and Petroleum Resources Royalty (Administration) Act 29 of 2008
- National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998
- National Water Act 36 of 1998
- National Nuclear Regulatory Act 47 of 1999
- National Environmental Waste Act 59 of 2008
- Air Quality Amendment Act 20 of 2014
- National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004
- National Environmental Management: Air Quality Amendment Act 20 of 2014
- National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003
- National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004
- Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act of 1983
- Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996
- Hazardous Substances Act 15 of 1973
- National Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999 (specific to Barberton operations).
We have implemented a group environmental management system that aligns with ISO14001. Environmental impact assessments are conducted at all operations, with impact and aspect registers maintained for each. These are reviewed annually to ensure legislative compliance. Risk registers are reviewed quarterly, and the results are reported to the group SHEQC manager who escalates any material matters to the SHEQC sub-committee for immediate attention.
The group’s environmental impacts are monitored through a SHEQC dashboard that collates all relevant environmental information required to accurately calculate the group’s carbon emissions. We are fully aware of the dangers of climate change and the importance of doing our part to address and mitigate its impact, as set out in our group SHEQC policy. South Africa’s long-pending carbon tax legislation was promulgated on 27 May 2019.
As a result of these stringent controls, none of the risks outlined previously are deemed to have had a significant financial or environmental impact on the group over the year under review, nor have our operations contributed to, or exacerbated, these risks for the immediate environments in which we operate.
All Pan African Resources operations have approved end-of-mine plans and closure plans are in place. Barberton Mines and Evander Mines’ end-of-mine plans have been approved by the DMR.
Mines depend on steady water supplies for extracting resources and beneficiating mined ore. Pan African Resources is in the favourable position of being able to capture excess discharge water for reuse in our operations. This water reuse is a key enabler of operational and environmental sustainability and ensures our mining operations meet the requirements of water discharge regulations. We contribute to the sustainability of water as a natural resource by increasing the use of recycled water in our mining processes.
At Barberton Mines, underground drilling and blasting activities release groundwater, which is pumped to the surface and recycled for use in mining or metallurgical processes. A highly effective closed-loop water-recycling circuit at Fairview and New Consort reuses the bulk of the released groundwater for other mining processes. Excess water is released into special purpose evaporation ponds, while rainwater is collected in tailings and pollution control dams are incorporated into the mine water system.
Barberton Mines has implemented an approved Water Management and Conservation Plan. Water purified to acceptable quality standards can be reused in mining processes and can safely be released to communities and municipalities for non-potable purposes. Reducing the amount of dirty water produced through the mining process reduces the need for water extraction which, in turn, reduces energy costs from pumping and refining water.
Evander Mines is being equipped to continuously reuse recycled water and reduce the need for freshwater replenishment. This approach reduces environmental and operational costs. Introducing state-of-the-art water treatment systems was a necessary first step.
All our mining operations hold approved water-use licences as issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation. Annual internal and external audits are performed by each mining operation to ensure compliance with their water-use licences.
Tailings storage facilities
The group’s TSFs are located in the Barberton and Evander areas and the majority of our TSFs are in close proximity to residential areas. Pan African Resources has appointed specialist third-party contractors to design, build and operate the TSFs within the group. Tailings dam management is overseen by an appointed competent person at each of our TSF sites to ensure compliance with legislation, DMR requirements and our own internal code of practice. Pan African Resources implements leading practices in our tailings dam management to ensure regulatory compliance. We have provided additional disclosure on our website at www.panafricanresources.com/sheqc/gri-and-sustainability/ related to our tailings storage facilities, as requested by the Church of England Pensions Board and the Swedish Council on Ethics for the AP Funds, and backed by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Refer to page 24 for additional information.
Quarterly inspections and meetings are held between mine operations, third-party TSF operators and competent persons tasked with monitoring and compliance. An independent specialist reviews group facilities and ensures that we comply with the latest legislative requirements.
Environmental awareness and protection will always remain a key focus of Pan African Resources, not just because of our moral obligation to preserve the natural habitats of the regions in which we operate, but also because environmentally friendly processes and behaviours make good business sense. We recognise that the effectiveness of our environmental efforts is amplified through effective partnerships with our stakeholders. We will continue to work to raise awareness among our employees and local community members and make every effort to grow the culture of environmental care and positive behaviour.