Managing our outputs

The activities and outputs of our activities can have a significant and lasting impact on the natural environment surrounding each of our mines. Waste management, protecting biodiversity and reclamation are important activities at our mines and were highlighted in our 2015 materiality analysis as important environmental aspects. In this section, we summarize our management approach and 2015 performance, and highlight some example case studies of broader initiatives being undertaken at our sites to limit any negative impacts from our activities.

Waste Management

Different forms of waste are generated through our mining activities, including overburden, waste rock, tailings, slag, mine water, sludge and refuse. Across all our sites, waste rock is the primary form of waste generated, which has been extracted from the mining areas in order to access ore. Waste rock contains no economically valuable material.

Waste generated at our operations is sorted and classified as hazardous or non-hazardous waste, in line with regulations. All types of waste, including hazardous waste, are stored and disposed of with consideration for their potential environmental impacts. Management programs are developed and implemented on a site-by-site basis, depending on the characteristics of the waste being generated. For example, at Efem├žukuru, where waste rock has acid rock drainage potential, storage areas are lined and seepage is collected and treated before disposal. Where waste rock does not pose any toxicity risk, such as at White Mountain, it is partially reused for mine backfill.

Waste management activities and objectives represent significant elements of our ISO 14001 environmental management systems. As per local regulations in each of our operating jurisdictions, all disposed waste types and quantities are recorded in legal disposal documents that are periodically submitted to host governments. We conduct due diligence on our waste disposal contractors, and periodically visit disposal and recycling contractors to evaluate their environmental practices.

Dust Control and Management

The creation of dust is one of our impacts that we manage closely and actively. Major sources of dust emissions include:

  • Blasting operations in the open pit area
  • Loading, haulage and offloading of ore and waste rock
  • Operation of crushing units
  • Traffic on roads that are in general use

Where our operations have the potential to create significant dust, we ensure that water tank trucks continuously perform on-site watering activities to suppress dust. In dry seasons, materials are dampened before we conduct blasting operations. Water spraying and closed dust collecting systems are provided around our operations, and particularly at the primary crusher and the fine ore stockpile areas. Water sprayers are also used on conveyor belts at certain intervals. With a view to measuring the results of these mitigation activities, regular dust measurements are taken around our operations and in neighbouring villages on daily and monthly bases.

Spotlight: Managing our Tailings

Details 03/27/2015