S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y I N M I N I N G 2
VO L U M E 1 3 N O. 4
N OV E M B E R 2 0 2 0
Sustainability in mining Risk Management A new age for ESG
The roadmap to rehabilitation
Closing the loop Striving for zero mine waste
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CONTENTS FRONT MATTER Editor’s comment......................................................................................................................2 Foreword.......................................................................................................................................3 ESG Sibanye-Stillwater’s ESG strategy CARES .................................................................6 Sustainability after Covid-19...............................................................................................9 Mining and ESG..........................................................................................................................13
REHABILITATION Producing bricks through ash dump rehabilitation................................................16 Collaborating on post-closure development solutions.......................................17 Rehabilitation rooted in ALS Mining’s activities.......................................................19 LEGAL & FINANCE Environmental legislation and compliance in surface mining............................20 Sustainable mining economy...............................................................................................22
BLASTING & EXPLOSIVES A century of premium blasting solutions....................................................................24 PROJECT Relocating Matla Mine 1........................................................................................................27 Sustaining the flow of quality services in Johannesburg......................................29 TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT Providing skills for a transformed mining and minerals sector........................32
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Mining reimagined for local sector..................................................................................35 Transforming and redefining mining in South Africa............................................36 HEALTH & SAFETY The new height of safety......................................................................................................37
WASTE MANAGEMENT Working towards zero waste............................................................................................40 From landfill to revenue-generating resource..........................................................43 ENVIRONMENT Commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals..........................45 Discover a sustainable, low-carbon future.................................................................48 A global standard for tailings management................................................................50 Creating sustainable water management in mines................................................52
Time to take RESPONSIBILITY
Gone are the days of big mining companies exploiting minerals without acknowledging the potential damage to the environment and surrounding host communities.
ver the years, the mining industry has developed a bad reputation of not taking responsibility for the damage caused to the environment by mining activities. The nature of mining means it has a significant impact on air quality, water and energy consumption – all of which are linked to the environment. Unlike before, we are today seeing an industry that acknowledges the environmental impacts caused by its activities. In so doing, the industry is also taking responsibility for the environmental harm it causes. Where possible, many mine operations are working towards reducing the carbon footprint, water usage as well as energy consumption. In addition, mine companies know that mining has an impact on surrounding and host communities. Therefore, they have a responsibility to ensure that communities are not on the receiving end of companies’ environmental recklessness. Unfortunately, there are still cases where mine companies are guilty of and get away with irresponsible mining practices that are
harmful to not only the environment, but surrounding communities as well. There is no doubt that responsible mining is often challenging, as addressing environmental and social issues can be costly. Credit must be given to those companies that are committed to being responsible miners, regardless of the cost implications and additional challenges. Communities and environmentalists must also be given credit for identifying irresponsible mining practices and holding miners accountable.
Rehabilitation objectives Environmentalists and mining companies have had their fair share of toe-to-toe stand-offs when it comes to addressing environmental issues in the industry. Disagreements concerning such issues are to be expected; however, they should not result in a stalemate. Open, honest and constructive discussions are necessary between all stakeholders – even if the parties hold different views on various issues. Collaboration also comes into play as stakeholders need to work together to ensure that miners operate responsibly. There is no single solution to address environmental and social issues at all mine operations because of the dynamics involved. To adequately address the issues requires collaboration and constructive discussions where challenges for both parties are identified, and possible solutions are presented. Responsible mining will not only be beneficial for mines and communities, but also for future generations once the life of mine comes to an end.
Dineo EDITOR Dineo Phoshoko HEAD OF DESIGN Beren Bauermeister CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Tristan Snijders CONTRIBUTORS Spencer Eckstein, Hector Forster, Ben Kilbey, Toboko Molete, Hermanus Prinsloo, François Ribeiro dos Santos, Mmaphefo Thwala,Tali Tshikhovhokhovho, Marlo van Rensburg, Dustin van Helsdingen, Mongezi Veti, Christine Vivier, Philip Warwick PRODUCTION & CLIENT LIAISON MANAGER AntoisLeigh Nepgen GROUP SALES MANAGER Chilomia Van Wijk PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Jacqueline Modise DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Nomsa Masina
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Novus Holdings is a Level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Contributor, with 125% recognised procurement recognition. View our BBBEE scorecard here: https://novus.holdings/sustainability/transformation ISSN 1999-8872 Inside Mining. © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. All material herein Inside Mining is copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.
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South Africa’s water crisis is a
living reality The water-scarcity situation in South Africa has received increasing attention in recent times, with communities at the receiving end of the crisis. By Mmaphefo Thwala*
he social impacts have been felt at the household level, as water is a basic need for livelihoods (including drinking, cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene). The past decade has been clouded by recurring water-related service disruptions and protests in various municipal jurisdictions. Water shortages in the Ngqushwa, Maluti a Phofung, Mbombela, Greater Giyani, Sol Plaatje, Sekhukhune, Greater Taung and Polokwane municipalities are among many well-known cases. The recent Western Cape drought bore evidence to South Africa’s water reality, receiving worldwide attention given the socio-economic importance of the province. Sadly, other provinces (particularly the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo) have faced persistent drought, with residents living in a silent ‘day zero’ situation, including a constant lack of water as the daily norm. Failed water service delivery projects in Limpopo (Giyani Bulk Water Supply Project) and KwaZulu-Natal (Jozini Bulk Water Supply Project) are key examples of the country’s water governance and implementation challenges, attributed to factors such as mismanagement and capacity constraints within water authorities. Authorities are also faced with making provision for rising water demands
Mmaphefo Thwala started her career in the water industry at the Department of Water and Sanitation, where she worked for 10 years
driven by increasing population and rapid urbanisation. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 saw these disparities heightened and exacerbated. Access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has been emphasised by scientists worldwide and the World Health Organization as the first line of defence against the virus. Campaigns to curb the spread of the virus focus on people regularly washing their hands with both water and soap. The pandemic Water user further exposed South Africa’s inequalities education, in access to water, as many communities awareness and action in are still without running water and are subsequently disadvantaged in terms of the form of water use their defence against Covid-19. efficiency are key In the National Water and Sanitation Master prerequisites for real Plan, launched in 2019 by the Department of behavioural change.” Water and Sanitation (DWS), the challenges to the water sector are attributed to factors such as inadequate investment and maintenance of water infrastructure, inefficient pollution control measures and deteriorating water quality. The situation in South Africa is exacerbated by rainfall and subsequent run-off patterns that are highly variable both geographically and seasonally, while the country receives roughly
FOREWORD half the worldâ€™s mean annual rainfall. Moreover, the frequency and intensity of drought and heat events due to climate change have increased.
Water is also a critical primary input resource for all sectors Water use estimations in South Africa are dominated by agriculture irrigation (61%) and municipal/ domestic water use (27%) respectively. Industry and afforestation account for 3% each, followed by power generation, mining, livestock watering and nature conservation at 2% each. Water is therefore critical for economic growth and sustainability for the country. The mining sector is not exempted from water reliance and has contributed to some of the water challenges
highlighted above, given recent concerns related to acid mine drainage. The challenges of acid mine drainage contributing to poor water quality have been reported due to mining activities in the Witwatersrand area impacting on the Vaal River Catchment, with those in Mpumalanga impacting on the Olifants River Catchment. Diffuse pollution has reportedly been more pronounced in the cases of the Blesbokspruit and Klip rivers. South Africa is deemed to have relatively progressive legal frameworks and policies for water resource management; however, the implementation of these legal tools and guidelines has posed various challenges for the country.
To this end, various implementation measures and initiatives have been explored. It is clear that a holistic approach to solving water issues for the sector will require participation by all stakeholders, with an integration of efforts and bespoke approaches where required. However, in the short to medium term, the sector needs to adopt a solutions-oriented approach that capitalises on targeting low-hanging fruits for a faster turnaround time on efforts invested. Below are some examples of key actions that could have a largescale impact on water security in South Africa.
Water use efficiency The above outlined water use per sector in South Africa gives a clear indication that all stakeholders have an important role to play. Water conservation and water demand management (WC/WDM) initiatives ought to be a continuous effort applied by all water users. Municipalities will need to ensure that they develop, implement and monitor their WC/WDM plans. Various approaches, including community awareness campaigns, industrial and agricultural water conservation and water reuse initiatives, as well as municipal leak detection and repair programmes, can all make a significant difference in this regard. Implementation of initiatives Fully functional catchment management agencies (CMAs) on a localised level will go a long way in implementing key departmental functions, such as information/ data gathering through monitoring programmes, regulatory functions (such as compliance monitoring) and pollution control. Infrastructure investments into critical infrastructure initiatives (such as the maintenance of wastewater treatment plants) are critical for reducing the impacts of effluent discharge into surface water resources. A balance between environmental, social and economic priorities In order to achieve a much-needed balance between water use for economic development and water protection for domestic and environmental needs, the integration of decision-making processes is key to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the governance of South Africaâ€™s most basic need.
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The prospect of nature-based solutions offering a sustainable approach has gained traction in the past few years. In South Africa, the DWS and the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) have nationally taken a leadership role with water ecosystem protection programmes such as Water Resource Classification, Reserve and Resource Quality Objectives Determination studies and initiatives such as River Health, Adopt-a-River and the ‘working for’ programmes. Currently, the National Business Initiative (NBI), alongside the DEFF, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Water Research Commission and Development Bank of Southern Africa are providing targeted support to two catchments in South Africa, focusing on restoring ecological infrastructure for the benefit of water security. This is being done because many of the country’s ecosystems are severely degraded at present, and healthy catchments are essential, not only for ecosystem services, but also for supporting the functioning of engineered water infrastructure.
Water Stewardship Collaboration among the different spheres of government, the private sector, civil society and communities is critical if we are to overcome South Africa’s current water-related socio-economic challenges. Good examples include the NBI’s Water
Stewardship initiatives alongside key partners, which offer a joint approach where all stakeholders play an active role. These initiatives include the uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership (UWASP), Gauteng Water Alliance, Western Cape Drought Task Force, Annual Water Stewardship Conference and the NBI’s Technical Assistance, Mentorship and Development programme – all of which are undertaken with key partners in the public sector, industry and civil society.
Conclusion At the heart of the initiatives suggested above is the need for change in societal mindsets, attitudes and beliefs towards water resources. It is for this reason that water user education, awareness and action in the form of water use efficiency are key prerequisites for real behavioral change. If the mindset and belief systems of a person can be influenced positively, principles of environmental sustainability will be carried forward with them in their decision-making across the organisations, homes and communities they occupy. Hence, a shared responsibility approach is required for turning the situation around. Together, we can each do our part to ensure future water security for all in South Africa. *Mmaphefo Thwala is a project manager: Water at the National Business Initiative (NBI).
ESG strategy CARES
Sustainability can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. For PGMs and gold producer Sibanye-Stillwater, sustainability means managing operations in a way that allows the company to at least maintain its social licence to operate, in order to generate long-term value for all stakeholders.
s a value-driven company, SibanyeStillwater has adopted a unique ESG strategy that enables the company to carry out its vision: to create superior value for all stakeholders through mining. The CARES values are the essence of the company’s approach to sustainability and are embedded in the overall ESG strategy. CARES is an acronym for commitment, accountability, respect, enabling and safety. Its meaning is illustrated in the umdoni tree, an indigenous South African tree. CARES is symbolic of the roots of the tree, while the trunk represents the employees, the material strength of the company. It is also responsible for the delivery of the fundamentals of safety, health and wellness, cost management, quality production and the volume targets necessary for a profitable and sustainable business. The tree’s leaves on the branches represent all the stakeholders and, finally, the seeds and fruits signify the varying benefits and value that SibanyeStillwater is able to deliver to stakeholders. Speaking to Inside Mining, Kobus de Jager, senior vice president: Organisational Safe Performance & ESG
at Sibanye-Stillwater, explains that the CARES values are the driving force behind the company. He adds that sustainability at Sibanye-Stillwater is measured through ESG metrics, which is a core strategic focus area for the business. “ESG is a concurrent activity, while we are executing our core business,” De Jager says. The company is part of various global institutions such as the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and, more recently, the United Nations Global Compact. De Jager explains that Sibanye-Stillwater uses some of the broad guidelines set out in these institutions to devise the company’s ESG strategy. Some of the environmental guidelines include promoting natural resources, increasing environmental consciousness, identifying alternative energy sources, and improving lives through its economic footprint. De Jager highlights that the international institutions closely monitor how a company deals with ESG issues before allowing them to become members.
ESG’s importance Although ESG is not new to the mining industry, it sometimes gets overlooked and does not receive the attention it requires. According to James Wellsted, senior vice president: Investor Relations, Sibanye Gold was established in 2013, at a time when deep-level gold mining had a bad reputation because of its association with labour disputes, poor safety track records and environmental issues. The company recognised the need to build a sustainable business, which could be achieved through delivering value. Sibanye-Stillwater adopted a vision to deliver superior value to all stakeholders, while much of the industry was renowned for prioritising the bottom line and primarily focusing on shareholder returns. “We were aware, particularly in the South African environment, that you can’t operate like that in order to have a sustainable business – we need to balance the requirements of all stakeholders,” says Wellsted. Doing business any other way is unsustainable in the long run, because the social and environmental pressures would eventually impact a company’s social licence to operate.
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ESG Referring to the CARES values, De Jager says that, as a company, Sibanye-Stillwater believes “in the betterment of society at large”. This includes dealing with communities and engaging with stakeholders, as well as prioritising health, safety and climate change issues. As one the largest PGMs producers in the world, Sibanye-Stillwater has a huge responsibility to prioritise ESG in the industry. Adopting the vision very early on in its establishment not only enabled to the company to ensure that all stakeholders were awarded appropriately, but it also contributed towards Sibanye-Stillwater being a sustainable company and good corporate citizen. “If we are to deliver superior value to all the stakeholders, there’s got to be a huge focus on ESG,” Wellsted adds. In addition, ESG has increasingly become a large focus for investors, customers in the supply chain and all other stakeholders over the past 10 years.
Implementing ESG at the operations With operations in the US and South Africa, there are slight differences when it comes to implementing ESG strategies across Sibanye-Stillwater’s operations because these are structured differently and have varying environmental and operating characteristics. De Jager explains that, although strategically the company looks at the same ESG issues, each operation has a strategy that addresses specific needs – If we are to deliver especially in South Africa. superior value to all the A practical example of this effective ESG strategy was stakeholders, there’s evident after the company got to be a huge focus acquired the Marikana operations. Marikana’s tragic on ESG.” history and legacy placed additional pressure and responsibility on SibanyeStillwater as the new owners. The company made a commitment to do things differently and, in so doing, redress mistakes made in the past. The company started making changes to its approach in terms of community engagement by introducing inclusive engagement structures that are more representative of the community. In addition, the company has committed to building and completing houses for the Marikana widows who lost their partners in the 2012 tragedy. Sibanye-Stillwater was looking to complete the houses by the end of 2020 but this was marginally delayed by the Covid-19 lockdown. The various changes at Marikana caused
some uncertainty for employees, the unions and communities; however, Wellsted maintains that the general feedback has been positive. “I think, overall, the feedback that we are getting is that we are doing the right things, which are not necessarily the easy ones.” In 2020, Sibanye-Stillwater hosted the inaugural Marikana Memorial lecture to honour the 44 mine employees who lost their lives in 2012. Wellsted highlights the fact that Sibanye-Stillwater decided to keep the Marikana name, despite the tragic legacy associated with it. “Marikana itself was a tragedy, but it should be recognised and it must never happen again. We can’t sweep it under the carpet by changing the name and thinking that people are going to forget about it,” Wellsted adds. The memorial is just one of the many ways Sibanye-Stillwater is honouring the events of 2012.
Responding to Covid-19 ESG at Sibanye-Stillwater was again put to the test when the novel coronavirus reached South Africa. The miner was faced with the mammoth task of minimising the impact of Covid-19 on all stakeholders – especially the most vulnerable. To achieve this, the company: • financially supported non-working employeesthroughout the lockdown • offered counselling and psychological support to employees and their families • made financial contributions to various South African relief funds • collaborated with partners in distributing Covid-19 supplies such as masks, sanitisers, food parcels and water tanks. De Jager believes the mining industry must adapt to a new normal and explains that Sibanye-Stillwater understood the need to come to terms with working with Covid-19. The company put the required measures in place to ensure that the health and safety of employees was not compromised. These measures were in line with Covid-19 regulations as well as standard operating procedures set out for the mining industry. The mining industry was one of the first industries to reopen following the hard lockdown, which Wellsted attributes to the trust and support from the South African government, as well as Minister Gwede Mantashe. “A lot of faith and trust was put in the mining industry to do it properly, despite it being suspected to be a potential epicentre due the nature of operations, and we did do it properly. We were the example that showed that the industry could be restarted without causing an unmanageable increase in infections,” he concludes.
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ESG and mining: SUSTAINABILITY after Covid-19
or the mining sector, ESG was undoubtedly a business buzzword in 2019, but its main thrust was the environmental pillar. The spread of coronavirus and the impact on societies across the world appears to have refocused the interpretation of ESG on all three components, pointing to a more holistic approach than that taken previously.
Wake-up call in 2019 The Vale mining disaster in early 2019 drew international attention, making ESG hard to ignore for the mining industry. The Córrego do Feijão mine’s No. 1 tailings dam in Brazil suffered a catastrophic failure on 25 January 2019, leaving 259 confirmed dead and 11 others reported as missing, whose bodies have never been recovered. The news sent shockwaves through the mining industry, as iron ore giant Vale admitted liability for failings around the storage of slurry. Earlier in 2020, Brazil’s National Mining Agency ordered the immediate closure of 47 iron ore tailings dams for which stability was not certified, with more than half of them owned by Vale and its affiliates. One positive development to come out of the catastrophes has been the creation of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. According to the International Council on Mining and Metals
As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic fallout, the debate about environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns has been far from drowned out by the global health crisis, even taking on new meaning as companies’ responsibilities toward worker and community health came to the fore. By Ben Kilbey, Hector Forster and Philip Warwick (ICMM), to be compliant with the new standard, mine operators must use specified measures to prevent the “catastrophic failure of tailings facilities and to implement best practices in planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance, monitoring, closure and post-closure activities.” ICMM added that the standard “embodies a stepchange in terms of transparency, accountability and safeguarding the rights of project-affected people.” On the subject of the current pandemic and its impact
ESG on ESG, Adam Matthews, a director on the investment team of the Church of England (CoE) Pensions Board, said society “shouldn’t drop the ball” and had to continue to address the most pressing issues to create a sustainable future. Matthews was one of the main leads on the creation of the tailings standards. “We are all part of society… [and] must acknowledge [our] connection to the financial [investments we make],” he stressed, underling that everyone has a responsibility to act. Meanwhile, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), working with the International Council on Mining and Metals and the UN Environment Programme, share a common commitment to the adoption of global best practices on tailings storage facilities.
Investor pressure mounting It is impossible to ignore the fact that investors are turning up the heat on how companies operate. The financial press is awash with stories of investor activism, and as those headlines multiply, so As global governments pour the need for unprecedented levels of fiscal companies to react grows stimulus into markets to support ever stronger. people who have had their Global diversified natural livelihoods devastated, there is a resources firm degree of fear that sustainability Glencore has faced pressure could be sidelined as the world over the adapts to the new normality reappointment of ex-BP CEO Tony Hayward, owing to his handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion a decade ago. At the company’s annual general meeting in May, Hayward was re-elected with under 4% of votes opposing the resolution, but the attempt to mobilise against him appears to reflect a growing trend. One of the biggest results of investors’ pressure was seen earlier this year, when mining major Rio Tinto said its chief executive JS Jacques would leave in response to the destruction of sacred indigenous caves, Juukan Gorge rock shelters, at its Western Australian operations. On the subject of what the mining sector is doing to comply with increasing ESG mandates from investors, Fiona Reynolds, CEO of ESG body PRI, said that market engagement had been “mixed” and the business still had some way to go. She said that, from her experience, it is investors who are driving natural resource companies to change their practices.
“I think without the shareholder pressure, miners would have come kicking and screaming,” Reynolds added. While investors have a strategic role to play in ESG matters, so does business, and both need to collaborate for success, she added. This was echoed by CoE’s Matthews, who said that the “sweet spot” in ESG progression was when investors and business collaborated, creating potentially “powerful partnerships”. Many ESG initiatives in mining require “much tougher policing” and the mandatory introduction of recognised standards, according to Eric Rasmussen, natural resources director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The mining sector needs to move away from the current situation where ESG is practised largely on a voluntary basis, Rasmussen said during a Natural Resources Forum webinar on ESG. To ensure a more consistent uptake of ESG, a certification standard such as CERA’s Certification of Raw Materials system could be used, Rasmussen said. The EBRD supports this system, funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Raw Materials under the EU’s Horizon 2020 initiative, and which is also supported by various companies active in the mining sector.
Economic pressure vs ESG As global governments pour unprecedented levels of fiscal stimulus into markets to support people who have had their livelihoods devastated, there is a degree of fear that sustainability could be sidelined as the world adapts to the new normality. A global recession is unfolding, one that is predicted to be deeper than the Great Depression, albeit far shorter. S&P Global Platts Analytics projects global GDP to contract 4.2% over the course of 2020, but to grow by 5.3% in 2021. Indigo Ellis, senior analyst and head of African research at Verisk Maplecroft, told Platts that the sheer volume of fiscal stimulus raises alarm bells of deeper issues further down the line, as sovereign debt balloons. “Across the world, debt issuance is astonishing,” the analyst said. She is worried that in developing nations the attention on ESG will be postponed, as countries look for increased investment and easier ways to facilitate that. Ellis stressed that environmental matters could see “short-term erosion” but that, further out, the sustained focus on ESG issues wouldn’t change. The bigger fear was how long environmental issues were sidelined, and the resulting damage. “Short term could become longer term as the pandemic rolls on,” she told Platts. Still, Ellis, like the others, believes that, further out, ESG remains critical to investors and the
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ESG way they deploy cash. “S will be the most pertinent for Africa, and will drive the E and G.” But Ellis is concerned that as developed countries push ahead with ESG plans post-pandemic, the lag in Africa’s response as it deals with humanitarian issues could muddy supply chains. With the bulk of the world’s cobalt, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries, coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the risk of child labour slipping into the European supply chain is potentially amplified. Nevertheless, there are some signs that major actors are taking this type of risk seriously. In late 2019, the London Metal Exchange (LME) announced a set of requirements it hopes will set a level playing field for small-scale and largetier miners. The LME’s requirements, which will apply to all its listed brands, are based on four core principles: the combination of transparency and standards; nondiscrimination between large-scale mining and artisanal/smallscale mining; adherence to well-established work in the sector; and a pragmatic and clear process. The responsible sourcing requirements were formulated following a formal marketwide consultation on proposals underpinned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Due Diligence Guidance. The LME concluded from its research that artisanal miners should not be cut out of the equation, as this would simply undermine the importance of well-governed small-scale mining to growing economies, notably in Africa.
2020 – the year that wasn’t Going into 2020, the energy transition seemed to be gaining momentum, with falling renewables costs, EV sales rising rapidly, and energy and extractive industries making new and sweeping pledges on emissions reduction.
Then, almost overnight, the coronavirus pandemic closed down society and upended normal life for a large proportion of the globe. The question is whether the interpretation of ESG has now changed, and how society will push it forward for
ESG has put the spotlight on environmental issues in mines across the world
a more sustainable future. Mark Bristow, CEO of gold major Barrick, said that for him ESG simply means sustainability. “ESG is, and always has been, a core part of our business. Recognising our broader stakeholder base, not just shareholders – but employees, business partners, host governments and local communities as well – has always been at the heart of all our activities,” he said. Bristow has been a longstanding advocate of what is now termed ESG, but feels that environmental concerns are sometimes Artisanal miners should not be overemphasised. cut out of the equation, as “Sustainability is equally, if not more, important. this would simply undermine the You can’t fight climate importance of well-governed change if you don’t address small-scale mining to growing the problem of poverty and the need for business economies, notably to support economic in Africa development in its host countries and communities,” Bristow added. The impact of the pandemic on the social aspect of ESG has been underscored in recent months. He stressed the importance of the ‘social’ pillar in ESG: “It’s important that people are not left behind in society. Poverty is as bad for the environment as anything else. We need to wake up to a global vision.” This is echoed by Deshnee Naidoo, former CEO of Vedanta Zinc International, who said that the crisis does not change that path that the industry is on.
“Without the S [for ‘social’], we won’t actually have a business that will be sustainable enough to worry about compliance with the other two [elements, environment and governance].” Still, without good governance, and ultimately leadership, the social and the environmental components could fail to be correctly communicated and therefore implemented. Beth Burks, associate director: Sustainable Finance at S&P Global Ratings, said that governance is just as important a pillar of ESG, even though the focus is often on the other two elements. Burks and the Ratings team use governance as one of the main gauges for their analysis of ESG. “In our view, strong ESG performers with stakeholder-focused and adaptive-governance structures are likely to remain resilient amid the rapidly changing dynamics caused by the outbreak.” Burks highlighted that the pandemic would likely act as a catalyst for companies to dig deeper into the requirements of ESG, and associated compliance, rather than shying away. However, the analyst did say that near-term capital requirements, due to the recession brought on by the global shutdown, could act as a distraction. The current crisis presents an ideal opportunity to take stock and re-evaluate current practices. Whether it spurs an acceleration of ESG milestones, or generates more talk than action, remains to be seen. Source: S&P Global Platts ©2020. This article was previously published in S&P Global Platts Insight.
In September 2020, the four major accounting firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – submitted a paper to the World Economic Forum in Davos to set out metrics that would enable companies to measure their environment, sustainability and governance (ESG) performance. By Dr Christine Vivier and Spencer Eckstein*
he metrics formulated were based on consultation and input from the 200-plus members of the International Business Council, as well as some 120 CEOs. The metrics were developed to help measure and monitor ‘stakeholder capitalism’ and are also aligned to the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals. There are 21 core metrics (and 34 expanded metrics and disclosures) and they fall into four main categories. The categories based on four pillars: governance, people, planet and prosperity. The particular metrics were selected because they are capable of verification and risk assurance. They enhance transparency and alignment among companies, investors and relevant stakeholders, and are capable of forming part of triple-bottom-line reporting, regardless of the specifics of the sector or industry. Although the metrics may be generic, it is patently clear they are easily applicable to the mining sector. There is no doubt that further debate regarding the actual framing of these metrics and their implementation can be expected. What is clear is that more and more capital and investment decisions will be made based on how and when mining companies implement their ESG systems and processes.
*Dr Christine Vivier is the head: Sustainable Mining Practice and Spencer Eckstein is the director: Business Development at Ukwazi.
FOLLOW THE LINK Access the white paper here: http://www3. weforum.org/docs/WEF_IBC_Measuring_ Stakeholder_Capitalism_Report_2020.pdf
Environmentally and socially we are at the heart of mining We are mining solutions architects with a specialist capability in environmental management, mine closure planning and execution.
Because at Afrimat, we care RECYCLING OF WATER
RESPONSIBLE PRACTICES TO ENSURE SUSTAINABLE FUTURES
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Afrimat Limited is a leading black empowered open pit mining company supplying a broad range of construction materials, industrial minerals, bulk commodities and contracting services to an assortment of industries across southern Africa. JSE-listed since 2006, Afrimat has established a strong foothold in the construction industry, providing services ranging from major infrastructure and construction projects for the public sector to smaller private sector contracts. Afrimat guarantees superior quality, durability and a consistently high level of service.
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SUSTAINABILITY AT AFRIMAT Open cast mining operations essentially consists of stripping the overburden to get access to the ore body of the mineral required, followed by drilling, blasting, loading, hauling and crushing of the of the mineral. Selling and despatching of
OUR ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT
the processed mineral is the final step. The positive impacts of mining operations are
The group manages its environmental footprint
development and local infrastructure
Programmes (“EMPs”) in line with local and
development. However, there are some
international regulations and best practice. The
EMPs focus on responsible mining, reducing
biodiversity of the effected area. If
emissions through upgrades to diesel-driven
managed correctly, the negative impact
equipment, decreasing noise pollution, recycling
can be minimised.
products where viable and maintaining all plants at optimum working levels and efficiency. Active programmes to reduce the group’s carbon footprint have also recently been introduced.
Complying with legislation automatically supports us to be more sustainable. The application of focused environmental management, by recycling of water and the reduction in energy consumption help
OUR COMMITMENT Afrimat’s commitment to continually upgrading and improving its EMPs are well recognised in
to reduce the cost of doing business. Good mine planning from the start and concurrent rehabilitation also assists in being more sustainable.
the industry. Third-party audits by ASPASA and external consultants further acknowledge
Our water consumption and carbon
this commitment, supporting our environmental
footprint continue to be aspects that we
conservation and protection efforts and providing
monitor closely to reduce and manage.
added opportunity for refinement of our EMPs.
Relations with the local communities and
OUR RESPONSIBILITY Environmental progress reports are submitted annually to the Department of Mineral Resources.
the surrounding environment in the areas we operate in are managed and nurtured. Marlo van Rensburg General Manager Sustainability
In addition, mine rehabilitation assessments are conducted by external consultants and provisions are raised to meet these future obligations.
Tel +27 21 917 8840 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rehabilitation efforts on the West Dump, September 2020
(Credit: Andrew Crausaz)
through ash dump Listed on the JSE since 2006, Afrimat is a leading company servicing open-pit mining operations. By Marlo van Rensburg and Tali Tshikhovhokhovho*
frimat supplies an array of materials ranging from aggregates and concrete products to readymix, as well as industrial minerals and iron ore. The group has also established a strong foothold in contracting services – comprising mobile crushing, screening, drilling and blasting – and offers flexibility even beyond its fixed areas of operation. The group manages its environmental footprint through formal environmental management programmes (EMPs) in line with local and international regulations and best practice. The EMPs focus on responsible mining, reducing emissions through upgrades to diesel-driven equipment, decreasing noise pollution, recycling products where viable, and maintaining all plants at optimum working levels. Active programmes to reduce the group’s carbon footprint have also recently been introduced. Environmental progress reports are submitted annually to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in terms of mining rights requirements. In addition, mine rehabilitation assessments are conducted by external consultants and provisions are raised to meet these future obligations.
Vaal Clinker rehabilitation project Clinker Supplies, a subsidiary of Afrimat, specialises in recovering and processing ash dumps to produce bricks and blocks in Gauteng’s Vaal area. Clinker Supplies has an agreement with Eskom to recover clinker product from the old Vaal ash dump. The clinker product is then used to manufacture bricks. Not only does this project add value, but it is in line with government’s Polokwane Declaration on Waste Minimisation. The rehabilitation is being conducted as per the approved environmental management plan, in accordance with
applicable environmental and water-related acts and regulations.
Rehabilitation objectives The primary objective of the rehabilitation plan is to recreate or attempt to restore the site to its natural state as far as possible. Thus, rehabilitation procedures aim to restore the disturbed land to its previous form, which is a moderatepotential grazing land. The objectives include, but are not limited to: • preparing the site to be amenable to support vegetation • removing any contaminated soils • ensuring physical stabilisation of the soils • accelerating ground stability, especially on steep slope areas • ensuring that final drainage of the site does not adversely affect neighbouring property or the innate environment, especially the riparian area. While limiting aspects on rehabilitation exist, mitigation measures have been implemented to reduce negative feedback on the rehabilitation progress. The limitations include rainfall, which is essential to establish vegetation. The success of re-vegetation activities will be heavily reliant on successful rainfall in the subsequent wet season. Moreover, avoiding wild fire in the years that follow will also be critical to ensuring the long-term success of the re-vegetation. The guiding principle of rehabilitation is to mimic the surrounding topographic features, characters and appearance. Landscaped dumps must blend in with the surrounding topography. In addition, it is important to ensure that the landscaped area is free of draining. The drainage is shaped to protect surface water from being concentrated. Energy dissipaters and stormwater control measures are also implemented. Thanks to the dedicated Clinker Supplies team and other stakeholders, this rehabilitation project is 90% complete and is expected to be completed within the next year. *Marlo van Rensburg is the GM: Sustainability and Tali Tshikhovhokhovho is an environmental specialist: Sustainability at Afrimat.
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Collaborating on POST-CLOSURE
development solutions Zutari is further refining its asset-to-asset approach on various post-closure development (PCD) projects in the mining industry.
e are collaborating with various companies that all have different mandates, perspectives and business models to actually eradicate the problems that traditionally materialise through the unsustainable closure of mines,” states Pieter Scholtz, technical director, Zutari. Mine development invariably attracts communities that flock to the area from the outset. If that nucleus is not replaced by the time the mine closes, it creates a socio-economic vacuum. Scholtz argues that legislation has never really supported one of the primary issues associated with mine closure, which is the inevitable socio-economic decline. On the other hand, the environmental impact is well documented, with an array of innovative solutions to be deployed on this front. The new NEMA Financial
Provisioning Regulations will, however, go a long way to ensure that mine closure processes both consider environmental and socio-economic issues to ensure the sustainability of both.
Creating a new environment “When we talk about PCD, we want to replace the economy that was created in the area by not only providing new jobs, but also enterprises that those community members can take ownership of, in order to secure their own future,” points out Scholtz. Hence, PCD is a phase in the life-of-mine that is quite distinct from mine rehabilitation, although the two can be linked effectively if closure planning is not done in silos, but in an integrated manner. Creating an entirely new socio-economic environment requires not only a different skill set, but a different way of thinking. Traditionally, such out-of-
Pieter Scholtz is the technical director at Zutari
The narrative of the-box thinking has not been a development (ABCD) as one engagement is strength of mining companies, of its cornerstone processes. which then rely on experts like immediately changed from The ABCD process operates Zutari to co-create appropriate from the premise that “nobody mistrust to authentic solutions in this regard. has nothing, everybody has collaboration and the An example of a sustainability something”. Thereby, it empowers co-creation of solutions.” initiative for the mining local communities to reduce industry that Zutari their dependency on external is currently involved with is Impact entities for their survival and development. It also Catalyst. Founded by Anglo American, enables them to develop networks and identify the CSIR, Exxaro, the Office of assets to start small- and large-scale initiatives for the Premier in Limpopo, World the benefit of all – with a view to sustainable longVision South Africa and Zutari, term empowerment. Impact Catalyst plays a major “When we began working on these types of role in nurturing the largeprojects, we soon realised we needed something scale projects necessary for completely different – which resulted in us sustainable PCD while the embracing the ABCD process,” explains Scholtz. This mines are still operational. has since become a key pillar of Zutari’s co-created asset-to-asset approach across a range of industry Ensuring support sectors – from mining to infrastructure. Traditionally, In order to ensure that PCD a consultant approaches a community with a projects are supported by predetermined ‘solution’, without authenticity and all stakeholders, Zutari without transparency. “That immediately creates uses asset-based mistrust and distance, and it specifically does not community result in collaboration.” Co-creating initiatives In contrast, the ABCD process starts by creating an awareness in the communities of the assets they already have. Once they realise that they actually have a lot to offer and to capitalise on, they become enthused and entrenched in the process. From there, PCD initiatives can be co-created with the communities, government, funders, financiers and lenders, and other stakeholders by building on the assets already available in the communities and the area. “The narrative of engagement is immediately changed from mistrust to authentic collaboration and the co-creation of solutions,” explains Scholtz. These cocreated PCD initiatives and enterprises are much more likely to be sustainable in the long term because everybody involved has a sense of ownership. Scholtz concludes, “The way we execute these PCD projects gives local communities hope and inculcates self-reliance. That is why Zutari is so passionate about it. The more we get this right, the more we change the prevailing narrative in the country and hopefully on the continent by delivering the message: if we co-create, we can make it work.”
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Rehabilitation rooted in ALS Mining’s activities
The mining sector is intertwined with the historical and future development of South Africa. This sector impacts the social sustainability of South Africa.
eyond social sustainability, mining also impacts the environment. Responsible mining practices include the rehabilitation of the environment once mining operations cease in specific areas, or when mining operations stop completely. Gert Maritz, director: Mining Division, ALS Group, states that rehabilitation can be viewed from two perspectives. The first perspective is directly related to the mining industry and implies returning the environment impacted by the mining activities back to a sustainable and usable condition. The ALS Group’s perspective is to incorporate key factors during the mining preparation phase to achieve important outcomes such as: • minimising the affected development area • minimising the potential contact of toxic or polluting materials with the environment in the future • optimising storage and maximising the recovery of mining profile materials that will be utilised during the rehabilitation process, once the mining activities are completed. The ALS Group Mining Division is capable of moving more than 500 000 bank cubic metres (BCM) of coal per month for each of its contracts. The Mining Division consequently works closely with various environmental specialists to ensure that mining operations are optimised in conjunction with minimising the current and future environmental footprint. This is done with environmental rehabilitation as a key parameter in their decision-making processes. These partnerships are one of the many reasons why ALS Mining is a suitable and sustainable mining partner. ALS Mining’s sustainable best practices for open-pit mining partnerships follow seven key aspects: 1.Topsoil and subsoil (or overburden) are stockpiled separately for rehabilitation purposes once the pits have been filled up. 2. S trip mining of coal takes place while shale, other waste and subsoil are stockpiled separately for use during future rehabilitation. 3. A reas, or pits, in the open-pit mines that have already been mined and depleted are the first to be backfilled with waste and shale that are evenly distributed by dozers. 4. The stockpiled subsoil is used to fill up the pit on top of the shale and other waste. 5. Topsoil is then deposited on top of the subsoil layer since
the topsoil contains the organic and microbial organisms that are essential to sustain plants. 6. Dozers and graders are used to distribute the topsoil in a uniform layer. The topsoil layer is then contoured to represent the original contours of the area prior to any mining. This is achieved through detailed surveying of the mining areas prior to the commencement of mining operations. 7. Grass and other vegetation are planted. Once the grass is established, it can be cut and baled for use as animal feed for neighbouring communities. As a company, ALS Mining takes pride in its ability to rehabilitate open-pit mines to a state where grazing for animals can be cultivated. When ALS Mining is involved in open-pit mining projects from the planning phase, box cuts are planned in such a way that rehabilitation takes place in conjunction with normal mining activities. This saves money for clients while being good for the environment. Maritz says this is not just driven by social and environmental responsibility on all ALS Mining projects, but it is the ethical business decision. “Environmental rehabilitation is consequently part of our daily mining activities.”
LEGAL & FINANCE
Environmental legislation and compliance in surface mining Nico Pienaar, director, ASPASA, speaks to Dineo Phoshoko about environmental legislation and compliance in surface mining. ASPASA is a surface mining industry association, representing small surface mines in Southern Africa.
he process of mining entails the removal of minerals from the earth that are later processed for further use. By its nature, mining has environmental consequences and as such, it is important that there is a clear understanding of environmental legislation requirements.
Audits and compliance Pienaar has been in the industry for more than 20 years and has been involved in many environmental audits with members. “ASPASA has been doing environmental audits for more than 30 years. The whole issue of environmental affairs is a complicated one,” he says. There are different factors to consider in terms of environmental affairs at surface mine operations. They include water, dust, waste management and rehabilitation, among others. Each of these factors is governed by different legislation.
To understand the differing legislation fully requires consultation with environmental specialists in the relevant fields. Due to such complexities, the individuals responsible for environmental affairs at surface mines are not always familiar with the requirements. “You battle to find somebody who knows everything,” says Pienaar. This may result in important details being overlooked. “We found out that, for example, water use licences were a problem. It wasn’t clear who needed a licence and who didn’t,” he says. Another issue that adds to the complexities of environmental legislation and compliance are contradicting auditors when it comes to the information they provide regarding compliance requirements. “We believe that our members have very high standards because we audit them. Our problem is that there are operations that are not being audited properly.”
Compliance challenges According to Pienaar, one of the biggest challenges facing surface mines concerning environmental compliance is that quarry managers are often burdened with multiple
THE SUSTAINABILITY ISSUE | VOLUME 2 | 2020
LEGAL & FINANCE responsibilities and limited resources. As such, they are unable to give enough attention to environmentrelated issues. Environmental legislation for surface mines is a highly specialised field and, in some cases, environmental officers are not equipped to deal with such issues adequately. Pienaar mentions another major challenge: no central source of information relating to environmental legislation and compliance exists. He attributes this to the fact that different environmental issues fall under different departments in South Africa. For example, the Department of Water and Sanitation deals with water-related issues, while the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) deals with different environmental issues such as rehabilitation and waste. This makes it difficult for environmental officers at operations to enforce environmental legislation. “There are a lot of things we see happening that are not being addressed,” Pienaar adds. He suggests that a book covering all aspects of environmental legislation should be published to assist mines with being compliant. The repercussions of non-compliance are often greater for small surface miners from a resource and understanding point of view. Pienaar adds that unlike bigger miners, which are often located in remote locations and fenced off from the public, smaller surface mines are exposed and vulnerable to authorities, communities and the public – making them easily accessible.
The right regulator Pienaar feels that the DEFF needs to be more vocal when it comes to ensuring environmental compliance in the mining industry. Currently, because the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) issues mining licences, it is responsible for regulating most of the environmental matters at the mines. This puts mines in a predicament where they must deal with two different departments when it comes to environmental matters. “It’s a major problem that the regulator is not clear,” Pienaar says.
Over the years, there have been discussions about making the DEFF responsible for environmental legislation and compliance at the mines; however, nothing has come from these discussions yet, Pienaar states. He adds that environmental departments are usually responsible for regulating environmental-related issues in the mining industry in most countries. Although there is room for improvement, Pienaar is seeing progress as the DEFF is increasingly becoming more active in enforcing compliance in the mining industry.
Best practice for environmental compliance ASPASA has developed an audit protocol document that covers the entire spectrum of environmental compliance at surface mines – starting with the company policy for environmental matters. Pienaar says the document helps members by referring them to relevant environmental specialists in cases where their operations are not compliant. In 2021, ASPASA will be working on a totally new way of doing environmental work. Pienaar is adamant that checklists and trying to familiarise mine operators with legalese is not sustainable. Instead, guidance and assistance are more beneficial for surface mine operators. Looking ahead, Pienaar says that, despite the problems identified with environmental legislation and compliance, the industry is working hard to simplify matters. He is encouraged by the progress that has been made and looks forward to ASPASA actively assisting the industry in progressing when it comes to environmental legislation and compliance.
Nico Pienaar is encouraged by the progress made by the industry to address environmental legislation and compliance in mining
LEGAL & FINANCE
SUSTAINABLE mining economy Having a sustainable mining industry means that local mining must play a strong role in the local economy. In South Africa’s case, this extends to building a better national scenario. By François Ribeiro dos Santos*
here is a need for coordination between mining and manufacturing. This can unlock value within the ecosystem and, for these advantages to be realised, there must be cooperative buying from players in both sectors. For this to happen, local Mining Charter targets should be 70% mining budgets spent on locally manufactured goods and 80% of services sourced from South African companies. While the Mining Charter falls short in boosting business confidence within the sector, its goals have the potential to integrate complementary local sectors of the economy within mining. A key focus of the charter is to promote local content through inclusive procurement, supplier and enterprise development.
Challenges with sustainable mining economies In South Africa, where the landscape is changing and social issues are becoming more prevalent, organisations must strategically position themselves to capture benefits from these changes and build a sustainable competitive advantage. For mining companies, this translates into emphasising strategic areas that align with the societal context and developing viable, local supplier bases. Developing economies face a variety of country-specific challenges in their supply chains, restricting the achievement of procurement objectives. For example, the supply chain has a shortage of local suppliers and insufficient core capabilities and resources.
These characteristics have instigated change in the operating environment, including new legal requirements, as outlined in South Africa’s Mining Charter III, as well as social requirements to operate within a community. The procurement function can react to these changes and ensure long-term operational efficiency by shifting the fundamental approach to supplier engagement and management. By developing an understanding of local issues and collaborating to develop mechanisms that address these issues, procurement teams can develop practices that facilitate the creation of shared value. In a developing economy, procurement can play an instrumental role in not only developing existing suppliers but also establishing new suppliers. To generate shared value, the procurement team must be committed to resolving core social issues with tailored solutions that deliver a substantial, sustainable impact. Context-specific initiatives, as well as a localised approach, are essential to delivering shared value and achieving procurement objectives alongside sustainable social development in the community.
A sustainable mining economy Done right, localisation can be a win-win: making a significant socio-economic impact throughout the community while also creating numerous benefits for the organisation, including shorter lead times, higher-quality products and
Four archetypes of suppliers reveal that sub-strategies that consider local characteristics are required when defining a localisation programme
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LEGAL & FINANCE When assessing the procurement strategy for localisation, four areas should be considered:
services, lower costs, more efficient procurement, and even attracting investors and improving related industries. Opportunity identification: Creating an effective localisation strategy begins by identifying the potential opportunities across the value chain – looking beyond the conventional low-cost, low-complexity categories to capture the full economic impact. A good starting point is to review the François Santos believes that The interface between mining spend baselines, evaluate the spend patterns, a sustainable mining economy and manufacturing and assess the suitability of categories for could help South Africa build a better economy conversion to the local supply. This should be (Credit: Minerals Council South Africa) matched with an analysis of the local supply potential and existing capabilities to identify opportunities to build up supplier capabilities in strategic categories. Opportunity prioritisation: Given the complexity of converting to local suppliers, a focused approach to implementation is needed to map the opportunities against a prioritisation matrix. This process helps identify which categories to prioritise in the short term and which need more or supply chain time to localise, allowing organizations to disruptions. Without consider their immediate options along with the long-term, decisive actions, strategic plays. Adapt to unique local needs: After assessing the localisation mining companies will be facing an priorities, the procurement function must be able to identify increasing pressure and map the right suppliers across the category strategies. to meet ad-hoc Do the right thing: In South Africa, this means considering demands from BBBEE economic policy as well as the sector-level requirements in the Mining Charter. A sustainable localisation well-coordinated pressure groups. strategy requires a portfolio of local suppliers with all four In the long run, archetypes. It is important to bear in mind some principles plan to ensure local for customisation. First, when dealing with unions, focus on economic viability protecting people, not jobs. In other words, prepare people even after site closure. Once a local portfolio of potential for current and future jobs (if current ones are doomed to suppliers has been defined, the next step is to align the disappear). Job protection in itself is not sustainable, as the procurement organisation for successful execution. company will bear unnecessary costs. Focus on sharing gains not giving handouts, which have *François Ribeiro dos Santos is a partner at global an ephemeral impact. With the ubiquitous presence of management consultancy Kearney. social media, individuals can quickly coordinate flash strikes
BLASTING & EXPLOSIVES
A CENTURY OF PREMIUM
naex Africa produces and distributes a wide variety of high explosives and value-added solutions, providing all the products required to execute the entire blasting process, with several types of bulk emulsions, cartridge emulsions, boosters, and conventional and electronic detonators, among others. These products are used in blasting for opencast and underground mining operations, quarries, and civil construction. Its parent company has been delivering premium blasting solutions for the past 100 years in the most
important mining regions in the world, while Enaex Africa has over 1 100 employees who provide blasting services to various mining sites in sub-Saharan Africa.
Vision and heritage Chile’s Enaex is the main ammonium nitrate producer and supplier of comprehensive rock fragmentation services for the mining industry in Latin America. It is a global company, exporting to more than 40 countries, and has subsidiaries in 11 countries, as well as production plants in six different countries. The business’s vision and purpose are to become the most prestigious company in the industry – delivering premium blasting solutions in the most important mining regions in the world. The company engages with and commits to its customers’ businesses, delivering value-added, comprehensive and tailor-made fragmentation solutions to improve their overall performance and exceed their expectations.
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BLASTING & EXPLOSIVES
Enaex Africa, a joint venture between Enaex and Sasol, brings global explosives expertise to the local market.
Enaex Africa draws from the heritage of this world-class explosives leader and is the result of a joint venture between Enaex and Sasol. The company started its operations in July 2020. Enaex Africa, a joint venture between Enaex and Sasol, brings global explosives expertise to the local market. The other joint venture partner, Sasol, as a leading chemical and petroleum company, has a presence in more than 30 countries and more than 30 000 employees around the world. Speaking to the track records of both companies, it is worth noting that Enaex and Sasol each celebrate a significant milestone in 2020. It is a century since the founding of the Chilean multinational, while South Africa’s largest corporate taxpayer was formed 70 years ago.
Customers Enaex Africa customers are leading companies in the mining, quarrying and construction industries, with operations around the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, the company currently partners with: • many JSE listed companies • the largest diamond mining company in South Africa • the largest platinum producer in the world • the largest iron ore producer/leading supplier of seabound iron ore • numerous mining contractors. Products Enaex Africa markets and distributes a wide range of mining explosives, electronic initiation and digital blasting systems, centralised blasting systems, and conventional explosives accessories, together with a broad range of services and equipment to both the opencast and underground markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Explosives are broadly classified into three categories: bulk explosives, packaged explosives and initiating systems. Bulk explosives Enaex Africa’s bulk explosives are world-class, the most efficient way to break large masses of rock,
and are critical in mining, quarrying and construction operations. Enaex Africa’s flagship product, E6000P, a blend of bulk emulsion and ammonium nitrate prills, is renowned for its performance, especially in deep holes.
Packaged explosives Packaged explosives (watergel and emulsion based) are used primarily in narrow reef mining operations, construction, and specialised surface applications. The cartridges are offered in different sizes according to blasting requirements. Initiating systems The Centralised Blasting Systems technology enables underground mining operations to initiate all production blasts from surface after everybody has evacuated their working places and returned to surface. This improves the overall safety of the underground working environment by eliminating incidents of gassing, fall of ground and/or seismicity while people are nearby. The Electronic Initiation and Digital Blasting Systems allow for drill and blast operations both on surface and underground to be optimised in terms of blast timing, size and results. Electronic detonators are supplied by Davey Bickford, a subsidiary of Enaex. Enaex Africa offers a full range of explosives accessories, including cord, non-electrics and cast boosters for the reliable initiation of explosives charges. The suite of accessories complements Enaex’s full product offering. Non-electric accessories are supplied by Sasol Dyno Nobel from its manufacturing facility in Ekandustria, Gauteng. Production facilities Enaex Africa has manufacturing sites in Secunda and Rustenburg; headquarters in Sandton; regional offices in the Northern Cape, Rustenburg, Steelpoort, Witbank and Swakopmund; plus, all the opencast customer sites within sub-Saharan Africa. The Secunda operations manufacture emulsions for surface and underground mining and packaged emulsion cartridges. Ammonium nitrate solution for
the manufacturing of emulsions is supplied by Sasol from its Secunda operations, in terms of a long-term supply agreement. The Rustenburg operations produce Expanfo for supply mainly to the major underground mines in South Africa. The AN prill used in the production of Expanfo is supplied by Sasol from its Sasolburg operations, also in terms of a long-term supply agreement.
Impact in the community As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Enaex Africa takes its responsibility to the communities in which it operates very seriously. Working with customers to make a meaningful difference in its fence-line communities is one of Enaex’s priorities. Enaex Africa has many initiatives that are run together with customers in various regions: • An early childhood development support programme is run in collaboration with the Department of Social Development to support 30 community-based centres with nutrition, teaching and learning. • The SME I am Preneur development programme targeted 100 youths from Rustenburg and
incubated 20 successful entrepreneurs in an 18-month programme. • Techno X supports schools from fence-line communities to attend the annual event in Secunda. • Support is provided to schools in fence-line communities with Covid-19 essentials such as face masks, hand sanitisers and thermometers.
Success factors Enaex has a proud history of innovation and excellence. Over many decades, the company has achieved goals set for employees and delivered excellence for customers as well. Most notably: • Enaex is the largest producer of explosive-grade ammonium nitrate in Latin America and has the single largest production facility for AN in the world (850 000 tonnes). • Enaex Africa recently recorded the highest number of detonators fired in a single blast in South Africa (3 876 units) using DaveyTronic detonators. • Enaex’s Mobile Mixing Units have been fully digitalised to ensure the accurate delivery of product supported by fully automated data capturing and real-time electronic availability of data.
For more information, visit: Website: www.enaex.com Facebook: @Enaex LinkedIn: @Enaex Twitter: @Enaex_SA YouTube: @Enaex
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Relocating Matla Mine 1 Following 42 years of operating at Matla Mine, Exxaro Resources’ executive decided to relocate the Mine 1 operation, which has been on care and maintenance since 2016, due to safety concerns. By Dineo Phoshoko
he Matla Mine 1 relocation project is a capital project of Eskom at Exxaro’s Matla Mine, which involves the construction of a new decline shaft to gain access to the remaining economical two-seam coal reserves. The relocation project also includes plans to supply Mine 1 with five complete suites of underground continuous mining equipment and equipment used to construct supporting infrastructure, interseams between Mine 2 and Mine 3, and a ventilation shaft to supply fresh air to Mine 3’s future production areas. The project commenced in August 2020 and is expected to be completed during the second half of 2023.
Resources and reserves Speaking to Inside Mining magazine, Johan Meyer, executive head: Projects and Technology, Exxaro, explains that below the Matla Power Station lies a lot of coal that is accessed by three main shafts. From these shafts, Matla Mine is able to produce 10 million tonnes at a consistent quality of 19.5 CV (calorific value), which is required to feed the power station in order for it to produce the required energy output. Due to the history of the mine, it has become far to travel to the mining front. “The mining front at that point in time was around 25 km from the entrance of the current Mine 1. So, it’s best to move the shaft closer in proximity owing to this distance and obviously from a safety point of view,” Meyer says. In addition to addressing health and safety concerns, the relocation project will bring the shaft closer to mining activities, which is more efficient than travelling 25 km underground before arriving at the coal face. Meyer adds that the move of Mine 1 is closer to where the coal is, but still within the vicinity of the Matla Power Station. As such, the mine can continue to feed the power station from the conveyor systems below the ground.
The new Matla Mine 1 site has abundant coal reserves
PROJECT Impact of relocation on employees There are approximately 2 000 permanent employees working for Matla, as well as 2 500 contractors. “Without Mine 1 being established, it would have been difficult to keep the resources with only two shafts running,” says Meyer. The Mine 1 relocation project means that approximately 4 500 employees and contractors will continue to have jobs for an extended period – until 2040, when the resources become depleted. Meyer also notes the project will create employment for an additional 1 200 contractors required to work on it during its duration. This will further have a positive impact on the local Kriel We have an exciting economy. Meyer highlights that the project will also create hope story of growth and in tough circumstances, especially sustainability for the with the Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted many people. “We Kriel community.” have an exciting story of growth and sustainability for the Kriel community. I’m very excited about this project, not only for Exxaro and Eskom, but also for the country.”
In terms of Covid-19, Meyer mentions that nobody anticipated that contractors would be required to wear masks, have PPE and socially distance when Exxaro initially tendered for the project. He adds that Exxaro employees were among the essential services workers throughout the various lockdown levels, as the company supplies coal to Eskom. It was during this time that everybody familiarised themselves with Covid-19 regulations. “We are working with the Minerals Council South Africa and Exxaro Projects, as well as the mine, to implement all the regulations of social distancing and PPE. We have compliance officers to make sure that we wear masks, etc.” Undoubtedly, Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the project and has created additional costs. While the impact is being carefully managed, Meyer maintains that the pandemic will not affect the implementation of the project. “With this pandemic, we have to move forward as an economy and [together] as a nation. We will implement projects and continue mining as best we can to support Eskom to keep the lights on in South Africa,” he says. Financing and Covid-19 “There are a lot of stakeholders working together As a joint capital project between Eskom and Exxaro’s to make this a success.” They include the unions, Matla Mine, the supply agreement sees Eskom Kriel community, Department of Mineral Resources providing the capital that has already been released to and Energy, the construction industry and internal build the mine. The collective move for the mine, box Exxaro stakeholders. Meyer concludes that this cut, surface infrastructure, conveyors, ventilation shaft project is a success story about building hope – and additional five sections of mining equipment for especially during the Covid-19 pandemic and amid Mine 1 will cost around R3.5 billion. many economic challenges.
The relocated Matla Mine 1 will still be within the vicinity of the Matla Power Station
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Sustaining the flow
of quality services in
Johannesburg Water provides all City of Johannesburg (CoJ) citizens with quality water and sanitation services by delivering a sustainable, affordable and cost-effective service.
he city also looks towards safeguarding the health and safety of the Johannesburg Water (JW) employees, contractors and the general public, as well as upgrading services in marginalised areas. Also included in the mission is: • creating a customer-focused culture • valuing and developing employees to build sustainable capacity • improving the protection of the environment • managing assets and leveraging technology to enhance the level of security and quality of supply. The infrastructure in the City of Johannesburg is gradually ageing and backlog challenges remain for JW in respect of water and sewer pipes replacement. As at the end of June 2020, the entity supplied 1.6 billion litres per day of potable water, procured from Rand Water, through a water distribution network of 12 307 km, 128 reservoirs and water towers, and 38 water pump stations. Wastewater was then collected and reticulated through 11 769 km of wastewater networks and 39 sewage stations. Johannesburg Water treats 979 Mℓ/day of sewage at its six wastewater treatment works, which include one of its pilot biogas-to-energy plants where methane gas is converted to energy. The city’s population is at 5.74 million, up from 4.4 million in 2011 – an increase of 30% over the last nine years. JW is well positioned and ready to deal with any external factors that may be a threat to organisational operations and sustainability of the services it provides. The entity has thus put flagship projects in place to ensure that JW continues to be the best water and sanitation entity in Africa.
A team working on replacing outdated water infrastructure
PROJECT Basic water and sanitation services in informal settlements Johannesburg Water provides 183 895 households in informal settlements within the CoJ with access to basic water through communal standpipes and basic sanitation through communal ablution blocks and VIP toilets. The basic services project reduces the current backlog to households without a basic level 1 service; it provides access to water and sanitation to communities and thereby improving the living conditions of households who are beneficiaries of the project. In the past financial year, at a total cost of R16 million, 3 838 households benefited from the basic sanitation project. Informal settlements such as Kathrada, M1 Hostel and Vukani (Helen Joseph) were serviced with ablution blocks. A total of 3 212 households benefited. KwaGreen, Posong, Vlakfontein, Eikenhof and Lindokuhle were serviced with a total of 626 VIP toilets. As part of the basic services project, R38 million was spent to service 10 393 households and provide them with basic water services in the form of communal standpipes. Some of the beneficiaries of these basic water services include Tshepisong, Kliptown Johnson Stop, Kliptown Mandela Square, Kliptown Tamatievlei, Zandpruit Phase 2 as well as Protea South. In areas where there is no access to basic services, rudimentary services in the form of chemical toilets and water tanks are provided. Zandspruit sewage pump station upgrade The Zandspruit sewage pump station was last upgraded 10 years ago. The high sand content entering the pump station has resulted in the mechanical equipment (pumps, valves, penstocks, and grinders) being severely worn, resulting in poor reliability and frequent spillages into the adjacent river. The existing design capacity at the pump station meets the current flow requirements; however, it does not meet the future (five years’ time) predicted flow requirements. Therefore, this project scope is to increase the capacity of the pump station by installing additional pumps as well as replacing the worn pumps currently installed. Valves, grinders, and penstocks are also to be replaced.
Upgrading the mechanical equipment will also necessitate upgrading the electrical equipment at the pump station.
Construction of Aeroton 1.4 Mℓ tower The objectives of this project are to reduce the direct feed from the Rand Water supply into the reticulation network by providing a storage facility with adequate capacity to provide storage within the subdistricts and to improve the dynamic pressure to the higher-lying areas within the supply zone. Lenasia high-level reservoir and pipeline The project scope entails the construction of a 15 Mℓ circular concrete reservoir and a 1.1 km 600 mm steel bulk water pipeline. The new 15 Mℓ Lenasia high-level reservoir will be constructed to supplement the existing reservoir, which has insufficient capacity to supply the area dependent on it. The design of the reservoir utilises post-tensioning technology with a jointless floor slab. The project scope also includes the erection of a
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An excavator digging to reach the pipes during a construction project
Clearview-type fence, new guard hut, and various pipes and valve chambers on the reservoir site. The 1.1 km long new 600 mm steel rising main will replace the existing 400 mm fibre cement pipeline, which has insufficient capacity to supply the area fed from the new and existing Lenasia reservoirs. Sections of 450 mm concrete pipe (total length of approximately 900 m) will be constructed and connected to the existing fibre cement pipe to convert it to a pipeline that will allow scouring and overflow water to drain safely from the Lenasia and Hospital Hill reservoirs.
Greater Orange Farm water upgrade The project entails the upgrading and renewal of water infrastructure, once-off retrofitting of on-property plumbing fixtures, removal of wasteful devices, and the installation of STS prepaid meters. This is a water demand/water conservation project intended to reduce non-revenue water. The benefits of this project include improved water supply for the area and individual household plumbing fixtures will be renewed at no cost to the customers.
Joburg Water is also responsible for repairing leaking communal taps
Contact details For more information, contact Johannesburg Water: Telephone: 086 056 2874 SMS: 076 333 5052 Email: email@example.com Website: www.johannesburgwater.co.za Social media platforms: Facebook: @JohannesburgWater Twitter: @JHBWater
TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
Providing skills for a transformed mining and minerals sector The Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) is a statutory body established in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act (No. 29 of 1996) and the SAQA Act (No. 58 of 1995). It is a registered Sector Education and Training Authority in terms of the Skills Development Act (No. 97 of 1998).
he mandate of the MQA is informed by various objectives defined within a range of correlated sector frameworks. These are underpinned by the following six strategic objectives, which also reinforce the MQA’s vision of a competent, health and safety oriented mining and minerals workforce: • promote efficient and effective governance and administration • improve skills development planning and decisionmaking through research • promote work-based skills development to support transformation in the mining and minerals sector • facilitate access to occupationally directed learning programmes for the unemployed • support mine community training initiatives to access economic opportunities • ensure the delivery of quality learning programmes in the mining and minerals sector. The objectives of the National Skills Development Plan 2020-2030, as determined by the Department of Higher Education and Training, are supported by the mandate of the MQA. The MQA also supports the objectives of the Mining Charter in terms of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (No. 29 of 1996). The objective of the MQA is to address the skills needs in the South African mining and minerals sector, to improve health, safety, employment equity and productivity. Through research initiatives the organisation undertakes annually, the MQA is
equipped with pertinent information that informs the identification and application of learning and training measures. The core functions of the MQA include developing and implementing a sector skills plan; developing unit standards and qualifications for the sector; and establishing, registering, administering and promoting learnerships and apprenticeships with a structured learning component and practical work experience, to assist learners to gain a recognised mining-related qualification. Other MQA learning interventions include: • Adult education and training, which promotes learning among employees in the sector without prior access to learning opportunities. • An occupational health and safety skills programme, which is offered in an effort to reduce the number of mining-related fatalities as well as health issues related to mining activities. This forms part of the MQA’s support of the ‘Zero Harm’ policy in the sector. The organisation is also a partner of the jewellery industry, and both stakeholders support the beneficiation goals of the mining and minerals sector. The MQA contributes towards this initiative by continuously supporting the training of learners in the diamond processing and jewellery manufacturing disciplines. Furthermore, the MQA focuses on the development of individuals in their careers, through programmes such as: • career guidance targeting learners in grades 9 to 12
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TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT One of the objectives of the MQA is to promote work-based skills development to support transformation in the mining and minerals sector
The Internship Programme • the MQA Bursary Scheme targeting learners at universities, universities of technology and TVET (technical vocational education and training) colleges, as well as employees in the mining and minerals sector • internships targeting unemployed graduates from institutions of higher learning that are looking for structured work experience • work experience targeting learners that are seeking relevant work experience to pursue careers in the mining and minerals sector. The development of artisans across various trades in the mining and minerals sector also forms the cornerstone of the MQA’s learning programmes to facilitate an increased number of artisans, as a response to the Department of Higher Education and Training’s National Development Plan to produce 30 000 artisans by the year 2030.
The Internship Programme is aimed at unemployed graduates in the following scarce skill and critical areas: • Chemical and Mineral Processing Engineering • Electrical Engineering • Environmental Health Management • Geology • Mechanical Engineering • Metallurgical Engineering • Mining Engineering • Mine Surveying • Jewellery Design and Manufacturing • Analytical Chemistry • Industrial Engineering • Instrumentation/Process Controlling • Safety Management 33
TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
The progression of artisans under the MQA’s artisan development programme follows a seven-step process: • Step 1: Career Guidance • S tep 2: Knowledge Component (Criteria for N12)/Grade 12/NCV Level 4 • S tep 3: Learnerships for 18.1 employed and 18.2 unemployed learners • Step 4: Core Modules (off-the-job) • Step 5: Elective Modules (on-the-job) • Step 6: Trade Test • Step 7: Certification. This process enables learners to gain a qualification in trades that include diesel mechanic, electrician, fitting and turning, fitting including machining, instrumentation mechanic, plater/boilermaker, plater/ welder, rigger ropesman, and millwright. The MQA is also responsible for maintaining the quality of standards, qualifications and learning provision, as well as for disbursing grants from the Skills Development Levy. The skills needs of underprivileged beneficiaries located within mining communities are addressed through training interventions such as the Mine Community Development programme, to support
The MQA provides support for learners in the diamond processing and jewellery manufacturing disciplines
the economic growth of these communities. The unemployed youth are also provided with entrepreneurial skills and other skills through the Youth Development training programme to assist them in gaining employment and to promote the sustainability of their communities. The MQA is continuously engaging with mining houses, community education and training colleges, and TVET colleges, to participate collaboratively to realise the objectives within the mining and minerals sector.
For more information about the MQA, contact: Telephone: +27 (0)11 547 2600 Website: www.mqa.org.za Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Social media platforms: Facebook: @MiningQualificationsAuthority Twitter: @MQA_SA Instagram: @MQA_SA
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Mining reimagined for local sector
he divestment activity in the South African mining industry by many large diversified multinational companies who are spinning off their local South African operations to junior or mid-tier local mines has left host of challenges in its wake. Local miners have a responsibility to their host communities, shareholders, suppliers, SME contractors and employees to realise the potential of their natural resources in a sustainable manner. There are various roadblocks experienced by many empowered, post-divestment miners. These include: • challenging geology – high costs of deep mining of remaining ore reserves • core mining skills drainage – emigration of South African skilled workforce to Australia and North America • lack of knowledge transfer by skilled retirees to newer employees joining sector • deglobalisation agenda of global economies – national interests trumping foreign capital investments to emerging markets • a technology landscape based on first- and second-generation traditional mining models. The operational problems faced by new entrants, as they relate to the bottlenecked rail system, inefficient scheduling, wasted consumables, labour-intensive activities, and siloed technical competencies and capabilities across mining operations are widely known.
Smartening up Smart leaders in the sector are looking to new technological approaches and advances to optimise their operations by driving platform thinking, digitisation and integration between their processes. Some are flipping the conventional mining business model on its head. In an industry that typically thinks in 20 to 30 years’ time horizons, based on life of mine projections, future leaders in this sector will likely be those who are comfortable with making fundamental shifts from the conventional thinking of mining – i.e. purely maximising current mine capacity (supply side) and moving towards an integrated
Divestment in the local mining sector has presented numerous industry challenges, yet also the potential for a new dawn. By Toboko Molete*
planning and scheduling process that is based on local and global customers (demand driven). There is also increased pressure on mine managers to improve productivity and efficiency while reducing costs in a post-Covid-19 era. The trade-off between productivity and costs doesn’t exist and South African mines are forced to do more with less – less readily available reserves, less capital investment and less human capital. New leaders in mining are faced with the business imperatives of mining smarter, more sustainably and efficiently. Mining technology has indeed been democratised, and it is time for South African mines to envision mining without barriers of the cost of technology or core mining skills. *Toboko Molete is the managing director at Lesika. Lesika a niche mining technology consulting firm with a global network of OEM mining technology suppliers and local engineers, with a mission to make smart mining solutions accessible to emerging and junior miners through shared platforms and skilled resources.
in South Africa Amr Kamel, enterprise director at Microsoft South Africa, presented the keynote address at a media roundtable discussing digital transformation and innovation in the mining sector. The following transcribed excerpt provided context for the discussion.
Amr Kamel believes modernisation of the industry is critical for South Africa’s mining sector
ast year, the mining industry contributed more than R360 billion to the South African economy. It employs more than half a million people. There is no doubt that the mining sector forms a significant part of the economy. However, the sector has faced challenges in recent years. These included declining output, weakening global costs, competitiveness based on the volatility of commodity prices, regulatory uncertainty, and unreliable energy supply. Combined with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes clear that the sector needs solutions that can shift and boost it to regain its competitiveness and become a key contributor and driver of economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic. This is where the role of technology becomes very important because, for every organisation right now, these are unprecedent times. Businesses of all sizes and entire industries will need to adjust to the structural change. The coming months will be pivotal. Much has changed and many things may never be the same. But one constant is the power of technology to help people and organisations to adapt, reinvent and transform.
Allied with technology Technology will be a key ally in rebooting enterprises. Earlier this month, we launched our mining core – our AI Centre of Excellence for Mining facility
– which showcases our extensive partner ecosystem and brings emerging technologies to our customers. The launch of this Mining Core in South Africa is a testament not only to the relevance of the industry to the economy, but also to the potential to innovate and transform the sector – while also making a fundamental difference to societies within which mines operate. Together with our partner ecosystem, we work with our customers to navigate three phases: response, recover and reimagine to help maintain continuity, remain open and create new business models in the most difficult circumstances. The reimagine phase is the mindset, one that comes from a deep understanding of challenges and opportunities people and organisations experience. Together, we need to develop an acute sense of what should be rebuilt, what should be reimagined and what should be left behind. Mining companies are investing in advanced technology that helps them optimise operations, reduce expenditure and support sustainability measures. The Minerals Council South Africa refers to this as modernisation. It’s about improving the mine of today, while simultaneously developing the mine of tomorrow. I agree with the Council that the modernisation of the industry is critical if South Africa’s mining sector is to survive and thrive this decade.
Driving digital transformation As only a handful of firms will hyperscale cloud infrastructure, Microsoft is in a unique position to help mining businesses to leverage digital transformation and invest in technologies that will create more operational efficiency and better engagement with customers, suppliers and partners in order to transform their business. We are enabling digital transformation in South Africa through key investments in infrastructure, innovation and skills development to benefit all South Africans. We hope to explore and highlight the role that AI and cloud technologies can play in sustainable recovery and digital transformation in the mining sector, reimagining operations and transforming mining communities.
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HEALTH & SAFETY
The new height of safety
eaturing three harnesses and a range of lanyards and accessories, BOVA combined the research and in-depth understanding of the category gained from its position on the SABS Working From Heights Technical Committee, with realtime industry insights and best practice knowledge gained through its membership with the Institute for Working at Heights. The result is a range of products that caters to all non-fire/heat-related working at heights requirements. In designing the new harnesses, Ruaan Breedt, technical specialist: Working at Heights at BBF Safety Group, states, “There are a large number of harness options in the working at heights category, and this can be confusing to end-users, with the multiple variations in hardware and padding. We wanted to focus on designing harnesses that meet the requirements of rope access and rescue, multipurpose use, and undergrounding mining – thereby covering all the functionalities of non-fire/heat-related working at heights harnesses with just three styles.” There are three harnesses in the range: • Excavo – an underground mining harness compatible with all functionalities for underground mining: fall from heights, rescue and equipment. • Agilis – a multipurpose rescue harness engineered to perform in a range of different environments: fall arrest, working positioning and basic rescue. • Gordian – a rope access and advanced rescue harness design to perform the functions of rope access and rescue, while still providing solutions to fall-arrest and work-positioning requirements. With careful consideration of both the requirements and challenges of individuals working from heights in these environments, BOVA paid attention to the placement of padding, as well as the types of hardware fitted on each harness, to ensure the perfect balance between functionality and safety, which is key in the company’s fit-for-purpose philosophy. “There is often a misconception that the more padding featured on a harness, the better. This is not necessarily the case. Padding, if not serving a purpose to displace pressure over a wider area – thereby improving comfort in a highly dangerous position – can lead to a heat build-up in the area that results in damp and uncomfortable equipment for the wearer,” adds Breedt. Vanessa Roland, senior brand manager, says, “We are proud of the consideration that was put into the work-positioning lanyard and the endless round sling.
September 2020 saw the launch of BOVA’s new range of locally manufactured fall-arrest equipment, which has extended the brand from an entry-level category player into the mid-tier working at heights category. Our work-positioning lanyard features a PVC protector that protects the webbing against abrasive edges and liquids that could be found on the element that it is being wound around. “Our endless round slings are manufactured from seat belt webbing that is then encased in tubular webbing to enhance the performance and improve the safety of the product. Not only is our endless round sling manufactured in accordance with SANS 50797 but, unlike many products on the market, it has also been tested and certified according to those standards,” explains Roland. Every item in the new range is packaged in a reusable drawstring bag that provides a protective storage solution. As multiple size options and product types can be available on a site at any time, each bag features a full colour tag with product graphic and colour coded sizes for easy stock identification. Further included in the drawstring bags are a comprehensive, full-colour user manual and inspection sheet. “We put a great deal of thought into the design and layout of our user manual. We wanted to create something that would easily communicate the legal requirements as well as best practice principles to encourage users to revisit the manual and keep the information top of mind. We also trust that the professionally laid out inspection sheets will further encourage individuals to perform their checks when required, which will ultimately create a safer working environment for all,” adds Roland. Proudly manufactured in South Africa, in its ISO 9001 accredited facility in Johannesburg, the new Artisan range by BOVA Safety Wear is available to order now through your local distributor from a fully stocked warehouse.
+27 (0)31 710 0400 www.bova.co.za
The mining industry is one of the biggest contributors to waste in South Africa. The industry is mindful of this fact and is continuously working on implementing waste management strategies that will not only manage mine waste, but also reduce the amount of waste produced. By Dineo Phoshoko
he mining sector is in need of solutions that can shift and boost it to regain its competitiveness and become a key contributor and driver of economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic. Appropriately managing and minimising waste is among the industry’s key interventions. Dave Morrey, general manager, EnviroServ, explains that there are three main categories of mine waste in volume. First, there is overburden, which is waste that consists of soil and rock that needs to be removed in order to get to the ore deposit. The second category of waste is tailings, which is waste that remains following the extraction of valuable product from the ore. Tailings dams are also included in this category. Such dams are used to store waste produced during the process of extracting the valuable product from the ore. The third category of waste is slag, which is what remains following smelting or refining processes in mining. The three categories of waste above are generally managed within the mine itself. There are other types of waste, though, such as hazardous waste from maintenance and processing activities, laboratories, spillages, waste tyres, food waste and general waste. In addition, Morrey adds that contaminated rubble resulting from contaminated demolished or refurbished plants also counts as waste.
Dealing with mine waste Different waste types are dealt with differently. Hydrocarbon waste contains elements of oil, diesel or petrol. This often occurs as a result of spillages or leaks – which can happen anywhere on the mine site. A bioremediating method is used to dispose of hydrocarbon waste. The approach entails using soil
isolation products to treat the spillage area. Such products contain microorganisms that break up the carbon in the affected spillage area, leaving it free of hydrocarbon contamination. Sawdust and other flammable materials were traditionally used to clean up highly combustible hydrocarbons. This is not only ineffective but also potentially hazardous. Some mines and municipal by-laws prohibit their use. Leading adhesives, electrical terminations and mineral products producer Pratley supplies solutions that are effective, non-flammable and eco-friendly. If the waste cannot be disposed of through bioremediation, it is transported to a compliant hazardous treatment facility. It is not uncommon for samples of waste in this category to be tested at a laboratory to identify the extent to which the waste is contaminated with hazardous chemicals. Another method of identifying the extent of hazardous chemicals present in waste is through a local soil analysis. It is important to be mindful of the quantity of hazardous chemicals that are present in waste to ensure that they are within the threshold limits and adhere to the regulations and permit requirements at the point of treatment or disposal. Old tyres from mine dump trucks also contribute significantly to waste production. Albi Modise, chief director: Communications at the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), explains that the process of disposing of waste tyres involves their collection from mainly fitment centres and mines (where tyre waste is generated), temporarily storing the tyres at waste tyre storage and pre-processing facilities, and recycling and/or recovering energy at various tyre processing facilities, which include cement kilns, crumbing facilities and pyrolysis plants, among others. “The processing facilities are supplied with whole tyres and/or pre-processed tyres (i.e. shred or cut tyres),”
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Modise says. Previously, the DEFF’s Waste Bureau used to have an industrial waste management plan that was responsible for collecting and disposing of the tyres. A levy fee was included in the price of tyres, which was then paid to the Waste Bureau for collecting and disposing of waste. Some mines have an agreement with a service provider that collects old tyres when delivering the new ones. According to Modise, currently, there is no approved tyre Industry Waste Management Plan. “The Waste Bureau is currently managing the waste tyre operations until a new plan is approved by the minister in line with transitional arrangements in the Waste Tyre Regulations. The CSIR is currently developing a new plan,” he explains.
Waste rock can be reused to backfill open voids
Understanding waste management According to Morrey, most mines with valid mining licences have a good understanding of what is expected of them in terms of waste management. He adds that the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008) also stipulates the regulations pertaining to waste management. Bigger mines have an entire team dedicated to handling environment-related issues such as waste management. What often happens is that the mines issue tenders for waste treatment or management and then select a compliant and reputable waste management service provider to provide the service. “Most mines do it quite well. By and large, there is an understanding in the mining community that operates this way,” explains Morrey. There are also many derelict mines in South Africa that still have waste stockpiles and contaminated areas that contribute negatively to the environment. The future as to how these wastes will be managed and who will pay for the remediation remains uncertain. Similarly, artisanal mining (zama zama) operations are conducted with little care of any regulations and any waste and environmental legacy related to these operations becomes problematic. He also notes that understanding waste management in the mining industry is more than just treating or disposing of waste in the right manner. There are three objectives that have become part of a holistic understanding of mine waste management. The first is community involvement, where relationships between mines, communities and service providers have been forged. The purpose of such relationships is to add value to mining host communities. In addition, these relationships also support and enhance BBBEE requirements as set out in the Mining Charter. The second objective focuses on waste, whereby mining companies are starting to look at waste as a resource. This ties in closely with the waste hierarchy, which talks
If we look to the near future, we are working towards creating economically viable solutions for mines.” to reducing, recycling and reusing waste. In a paper – entitled ‘Recycling, Reuse and Rehabilitation of Mine Wastes’ – Bernd Lotter outlines possible ways to reuse and recycle mine waste. Waste rocks can be used to backfill open voids, as landscaping material and as asphalt materials. The paper further states that mine waters can be reused for dust suppression, industrial and agricultural use, and to generate electricity using fuel cell technology. Morrey explains that mines are exploring various technologies to help them minimise and prevent waste generation. The final objective is zero waste to landfill, whereby mine companies are looking to improve on the percentage of waste produced by their operations. Composting and bioremediation processes are potential options to help mines reduce the waste produced. Morrey explains that working towards the three objectives will inevitably increase the technology costs of mining companies. The advantage is that the mining industry can be part of and contribute towards the circular economy. Morrey explains that mine companies are taking the initiative towards meeting these objectives, despite potential increases in costs. He adds that a lot of companies are engaging with waste management service providers to find possible solutions that will help reduce their waste. “If we look to the near future, we are working towards creating economically viable solutions for mines,” Morrey says. He adds that waste management companies are always open to support mine companies in meeting their objectives.
There are eco-friendly solutions to clean up hydrocarbon waste on mines (Credit: Pratley)
Hydrocarbon waste often occurs as a result of spillages or leaks on-site
Future of mine waste management Morrey insists that a clear understanding of the waste management services as well as the full requirements of the law is vital. Another important step is for all stakeholders to collaborate with each other in order to ensure full compliance. Collaborating with local host communities in this regard is significant. “There is a lot of intent and desire by progressive mining companies to progress towards a green economy. In so doing, this will contribute towards a healthy environment and a sustainable mining future,” Morrey concludes.
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FROM LANDFILL TO revenue-generating resource There’s no doubt that our future depends on the success of the mining industry; however, what is equally clear is that mining in its traditional form is unsustainable. It must become safer, more efficient, more harmonised with the needs of host communities, and with a smaller environmental footprint. By Hermanus Prinsloo and Dustin van Helsdingen*
lobally, the mining industry’s journey towards sustainability has been gathering pace over the past decade as it shapes a future in which mining operations will have a radically different footprint. Mining companies are increasingly investigating and deploying technologies that reduce harm to the environment, improve efficiency and move people out of harm’s way. The future is focused on the circular economy (or closed-loop systems), which aims to diminish over-consumption and eliminate waste by making the most of resources through reuse and recycling. This means the use of resources is designed from the start for reuse. The consumer becomes the user! The industry is working to build mines that will ultimately be waterless and carbon-neutral, using less energy and eliminating residue stockpiles. They are actively reducing their waste footprint as part of a broader sustainability strategy and a move towards a circular economy. Back in 2013, Anglo American Platinum set its ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ (known as ZW2L) target. It reflected a realisation that, with the world’s population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, we cannot continue to consume
Effluent dams are among the waste contributors in the mining industry (Credit: Precious Metals Refinery)
resources at the same rate. We cannot just toss things into a waste bin when we are done with them. To ensure that our children inherit a sustainable future, for the benefit of our health and the natural environment, and to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, we had to radically reinvent our approach.
Innovating with waste We started with a bold target: by the end of 2020, we would live up to the name of the strategy, and literally send no waste to landfill. At the time, and with an Zero waste to admittedly bigger operational footprint, we were landfill is not just sending more than 23 000 tonnes of waste to about keeping things out landfills each year. The problem with landfills is that they are not a of landfills; it’s also about sustainable way to manage waste. They are costly reducing demand for to develop, maintain and rehabilitate, and they things that are transient.” have various potential negative environmental aspects in the form of effluent, seepage, emissions and land use. However, transitioning to a zero-waste system does not happen overnight. It takes a fundamental mindset change in which we see waste as a valuable commodity. It means taking innovative approaches to reducing or avoiding unnecessary materials coming into the company, and reusing materials wherever possible. Where reduction and reuse are not possible, innovative new solutions need to be found. Anglo American Platinum remains committed to finding reuse and/or recycling solutions for all its waste streams – this approach aligns with South Africa’s National Waste Management Strategy and the associated waste management hierarchy. There are various practical examples. Paper, cardboard boxes, plastic, empty paint tins, glass, scrap metal, electrical scrap and cables are, for example, diverted from landfill and recycled through various recycling facilities. Sodium chloride (NaCl) and sodium sulfate (Na2SO4), by-products produced at our refineries, are sent to the off-take facility for use in water treatment, as a thickening agent in chemicals and animal feed, and an additive in washing powder, laundry soap and manufacturing soap. Other waste streams, such as food packaging and mixed waste, are used in refuse-derived fuel (RDF) facilities, while
building rubble is utilised as a resource at the Klinkerstene waste management facility. By treating waste as a resource rather than merely sending it to landfill, various revenuegenerating and cost-saving opportunities have been unlocked. It also eliminated the need to build new landfills at our Mogalakwena Mine in Limpopo and Unki Mine in Zimbabwe, saving on capital and operational costs associated with these facilities. Selling gypsum, sodium chloride, scrap metal, sodium sulfate and used oil has also generated additional revenue at certain operations.
Ensuring long-term change With three months to go until the end of 2020, the company is well on track to meet our deadline. Last year, we sent around 3 770 tonnes to landfill, 52% down on 2018’s 7 899 tonnes. Seven of the company’s 11 operations have already achieved three or more consecutive months of zero waste to landfill, while the remaining four are on track to reach this goal by the end of the year. More importantly, ZW2L has gone beyond a waste reduction exercise to become a vehicle for long-term sustainable change at Anglo American Platinum. It has driven a mindset that has challenged conventional waste management practices. We had to think about how we manage resources in a way that their value and energy are conserved, moving away from a ‘use and dispose’ mentality. As a result, we are now in a better position to operate our business in a sustainable manner while we preserve environmental resources for future generations. Zero waste to landfill is not just about keeping things out of landfills; it’s also about reducing demand for things that are transient, that we just throw away after using them, and to conserve our future resources. That’s not just a lesson for mining companies: it is a lesson for our times. *Hermanus Prinsloo is the lead for environment and Dustin van Helsdingen is an environmental manager at Anglo American Platinum.
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World Gold Council
Commitment to UN’s
Sustainable Development Goals
The World Gold Council (WGC) has published a report titled Gold Mining’s Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
he publication of the WGC report coincides with the 75th session of the UN General Assembly and the SDG Business Forum. Terry Heymann, CFO at the WGC, said, “Responsible gold mining can lead to sustained social and economic development.” The report outlines how leading gold mining companies are making a significant contribution towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report includes 39 case studies on how members of the WGC are bringing about positive change across four thematic areas: global partnerships; social inclusion; economic development; and responsible operations, energy and the environment. Heymann added that the report provides a clear demonstration of the positive role that responsible gold mining operations can bring to their local communities and support delivery of the UN’s SDGs. Examples of the commitments the gold mining industry has made towards sustainable strategies include: • Global partnership: WGC members are committed to playing their part in multi-stakeholder partnerships. Case studies showcase a wide-ranging malaria programme, as well as partnerships that provide water education and medical supplies to communities. • Social inclusion: WGC members are committed to improving social inclusion in the countries they operate
in, highlighted in the report through the actions gold mining companies are taking to support a more gender-inclusive workplace, opening opportunities for indigenous people, and strengthening their human rights track record. •E conomic development: WGC members support the socio-economic development of the communities in which their mines are located. This is highlighted in the report by a number of case studies that cover targeted investment in creating direct and indirect jobs for locals, working with farmers to share their produce, bringing down mortality rates with nursing and midwifery training, strengthening public health systems, and tackling infectious diseases such as malaria and TB, as well as supporting education programmes. • Responsible operations, energy, the environment: Gold mining companies have made significant strides in reducing energy and water use. This is highlighted in the report by showing energy efficiency programmes, increasing the use of renewable energy, as well as projects that look to minimise the volumes of water used at mine sites – while also ensuring that local communities have access to clean water and sanitation. Sandeep Biswas, CEO at Newcrest Mining and chair of the WGC ESG-Taskforce, said, “This report shows that WGC members are committed to progressing towards the UN SDGs. Given the breadth of countries where gold
The UN’s deadline of 2030 to meet its Sustainable Development Goals will soon be upon us and it is vital that the pandemic is not allowed to postpone the progress made to date.” mining occurs, our industry is well placed to make further significant contributions to achieve these global goals. The report also contains three ‘spotlight’ sections, focusing on the work of WGC members in helping to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the strong links between the SDGs and the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs), and the significant – and often-overlooked – role gold plays in a range of technologies that are key to driving sustainable development. “The UN’s deadline of 2030 to meet its SDGs will soon be upon us and it is vital that the pandemic is not allowed to postpone the progress made to date. While it presents its own challenges, the current situation has brought the need for sustainable business practices to be at the heart
The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals
of everything that companies do. We are proud of the contributions our members have already made, and will continue to make, to achieve the SDGs,” Heymann said. According to Biswas, the gold mining fraternity recognised its duty to mitigate and manage the material environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks associated with gold mining and maximise opportunities for our host nations and communities. “Under the WGC’s RGMPs, members of the WGC are committed to supporting sustainable socio-economic and technological development. While there is still much work to do, we are proud of all that we have achieved to date and are determined to continue progress towards the UN SDGs,” Biswas concluded.
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Discover a sustainable low-carbon FUTURE The Covid-19 pandemic has taken us back to a time where the world didn’t have poor air quality and greenhouse gases. By Mongezi Veti*
s countries worldwide went into lockdown, a noticeable difference in our environment began to emerge. After many years, the Himalayas mountain range has become visible from kilometres away due to a reduction in air pollution. This has allowed us to look at what the future could hold if we all work towards a more sustainable future. While we have reached a good place in reducing our carbon footprint, this needs to be taken further to support climate action. We need to continue building on our current progress to support the transition into a low-carbon future while not losing momentum. With many people being forced to work from home and practise social distancing, our carbon emissions have dropped drastically, but it has also put a lot more strain on our power supply. Implementing a strategy that will meet the demands of an everexpanding population while remaining conscious to climate change and the risk that it continues to pose is, therefore, of the utmost importance. The reality is that we cannot separate sustainable energy security and climate change. The two are interlinked and reliant on one another. The greenhouse gas emissions released through fossil-fuel-generated power is one of the biggest contributors to increased global temperatures. Unfortunately, a stable power supply is essential in allowing an economy to function and thrive. We, therefore, need a reliable and sustainable solution to provide power without harming our environment even further. Exxaro’s transition to a low-carbon future The physical and transitional impacts of climate change are a serious threat to our business and society. It requires immediate action to reduce the effects both locally and globally. We are aware
of the role that fossil-fuel-generated power has in releasing greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change. Therefore, we have taken a strategic decision to develop the necessary policies and programmes to begin the transition to a low-carbon future. On 12 March 2020, we published our climate change position statement, which contains our aspirational target to be carbon neutral by 2050. A decrease in the share of coal in the global energy mix is predicted in the long term, but this doesn’t mean that it will no longer be a source of energy. It will remain relevant in the production of electricity in South Africa for the foreseeable future. This ties in perfectly with the Just Energy Transition initiative that we are a part of with industry groups. We believe that renewable energy resources can play a significant role in power supply in Africa, providing greater economic participation and security of previously marginalised communities, as well as access to affordable energy, while keeping our communities healthy and resilient to the impacts of climate change. Our strategy, therefore, is to future-proof our business and communities so that they can adapt to impending physical and transitional change due to energy transition and rising global temperatures. This has allowed us to investigate low-carbon options that can be implemented as we make the transition to energy that is less reliant on coal. This is not something that happens overnight. It requires dedication, a lot of research and a team to execute the strategy with the innovation and integrity needed to ensure that we follow the most ethical path possible. Climate-related financial disclosures The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) allows us to further enhance our climate change disclosure by analysing the financial implications associated with climate change risks, as well as opportunities. Together, we share a 2050 goal of becoming carbon neutral – keeping temperature
THE SUSTAINABILITY ISSUE | VOLUME 2 | 2020
The physical and transitional impacts of climate change are a serious threat to our business and society.”
Mongezi Veti believes that sustainable energy security and climate change cannot be separated
increases below 2°C as per the Paris Agreement to limit global warming. As we strive towards powering better lives in Africa and beyond, it is imperative that we carefully consider our prospects to ensure they align with our climate change initiatives. These have been well received by our peers and industry leaders, so much so that we achieved a B-management score for climate change and water management in the carbon disclosure project of 2018. We also received a number one ranking in ESG during 2019 – in recognition of our efforts to reduce our carbon emissions footprint. Even with the achievements mentioned above, we have still opted to re-evaluate our strategic direction through engagement with our stakeholders to develop a strategy that enables a low-carbon economy, while meeting the current energy demand. Our chosen course is to diversify our portfolio to maximise our existing options further, as we incorporate innovative solutions. Our updated strategy addresses the pressure associated with making a move to a low-carbon future, which includes transitional, physical and financial risks. Considering this, we have developed a new vision statement that aligns with this low-carbon purpose: resources powering a clean world. Building a resilient business A critical part of our climate change adaption journey is operational resilience. This refers to our ability to withstand changes in the global economy by managing our portfolio of projects, as well as capital allocation. This means that we need to climate-proof our business by finding ways to incorporate an eco-friendlier approach to supplying power. We have, however, started incorporating small-scale renewable energy solutions to our existing portfolio to support our aspirational target of being carbon neutral by 2050. As one of the major coal suppliers in South Africa, we are committed to doing our part to achieve this milestone. An example of this, and a step in the right direction, is our recent acquisition of the remaining 50% of Cennergi, which owns and operates the Tsitsikamma Community and Amakhala Emoyeni wind farms in the Eastern Cape. We are dedicated to powering possibility, and we firmly believe that by embarking on a Just Energy Transition process, as well as the internal strategies that we have put into place, we can alleviate the pressure on our environment and reduce the effects of global warming. Let’s all do our part in ensuring a sustainable future for Africa and beyond. *Mongezi Veti is the executive head: Sustainability at Exxaro.
Global Tailings Review
A global standard for tailings management
In August 2020, the Global Tailings Review (GTR) launched the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. This world first is set to significantly improve the safety of such facilities.
pon the launch of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management, Dr Bruno Oberle, chairperson of the GTR, explained that the standard can be applied to both existing and future tailings facilities, and “sets a precedent for the safe management of tailings facilities, towards the goal of zero harm.” A stark reminder of the potential of the hazards intrinsic to tailings facilities was the catastrophic dam collapse at Vale’s Córrego de Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, on 25 January 2019. This human and environmental tragedy demanded decisive and appropriate action to enhance the safety and strengthen the governance of tailings facilities across the globe, serving as a catalyst for collaboration on the topic. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) – which is led by the CEOs of 27 mining and metals companies – committed to a robust response: an independent, multistakeholder approach that would draw on the global expertise of a diverse team and consult a wide range of stakeholders.
Standardising the entire life cycle Strengthening current practices in the mining industry by integrating social, environmental, local economic and technical considerations, the standard covers the entire tailings facility life cycle – from site selection, design and construction – through management and monitoring – to closure and post-closure. According to Ligia Noronha, director: Economy Division of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the approach to mine tailings facilities must place safety first by prioritising environmental and human safety in terms of management actions and on-the-ground operations. “The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management is an important milestone towards the ambition of zero harm to people and the environment from tailings facilities. Its impact will depend upon its uptake and UNEP will continue to be engaged in its rollout,” she said. Noronha added that ICMM’s role and commitment in the implementation of the standard was encouraging and called on other stakeholders in the mining industry to do the same. “In order to maintain the integrity of the standard, it is crucial for a non-industry organisation to identify and pursue the most effective implementation model, such as the establishment of an
independent entity,” she explained. With an ambition of zero harm to people and the environment, the standard significantly raises the bar for the industry to achieve strong social, environmental and technical outcomes. It elevates accountability to the highest organisational levels and adds new requirements for independent oversight. The standard also establishes clear expectations around global transparency and disclosure requirements, helping to improve understanding by interested stakeholders.
A collaborative approach The standard was developed through an independent process – namely the GTR, which was co-convened in March 2019 by UNEP, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and ICMM, following the tragic tailings facility collapse at Brumadinho. CEO Tom Butler said that ICMM and its members – who represent about a third of the global industry – have an unwavering commitment to safer tailings facility management. “ICMM’s Council welcomes the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management as a significant step forward in achieving this commitment. Through the effective implementation of this standard, ICMM members will set the bar for all mining companies to work together to make all tailings facilities safer,” Butler stated. The co-conveners have each endorsed it and call for its broad and effective implementation across the industry, taking the following steps: • UNEP will support governments that wish to incorporate (or build upon) this standard into their national or state legislation and policies. • PRI, representing US$103.4 trillion (R1.7 quadrillion) in assets under management, will be developing investor expectations to support all mining companies in implementing the standard. • ICMM member companies will implement the standard as a commitment of membership, which includes robust site-level validation and third-party assessments. “It has been a privilege to lead this work and I now call on all mining companies, governments and investors to use the standard and to continue to work together to improve the safety of tailings facilities globally,” said Oberle. He shares Noronha’s sentiments, concluding, “It is my hope that the standard will be supported by an independent body that can maintain the quality and further refine and strengthen the standard over time.”
THE SUSTAINABILITY ISSUE | VOLUME 2 | 2020
Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management Strengthening current practices in the mining industry by integating social, environmental and technical considerations, the standard covers the entire tailings facility life cycle - from site selection, design and construction, through management and monitoring to closure andÂ post-closure. With an ultimate goal of zero harm to people and the environment, the standard sets a global benchmark for achieving strong social, environmental and technical outcomes. It elevates accountability
to the highest organisational levels and adds new requirements for independent oversight. The standard also establishes clear expectation around transparency and public disclosure, helping to improve understanding by interested stakeholders. Comprising six topic areas, 15 principles and 77 auditable requirements, the standard provides a framework for safe tailings facility management while affording operators flexibility as to how best to achieve this goal.
Credit: Global Tailings Review
Creating sustainable water management
According to EY, ‘licence to operate’ (LTO) risks represent the greatest risk to mining buisness, necessitating operational efficiency and sustainability.
TO risks relate to pressures from modernisation, global politics and rising nationalism – which mines meet through sustainable practices, better stakeholder relations, and shared value outcomes. Such responses require innovation and adopting new technologies, which is why ‘digital effectiveness’ is second on EY’s list. It mirrors the view held by water-technology provider Xylem, says Chetan Mistry, strategy and marketing manager for Xylem Africa. “Mines have to do more with less if they want to survive. A significant number of those choices relate to sustainability, which includes environmental and regulatory concerns, but also efficiency and maintenance,” he says. “When mines can reduce waste, reuse wastewater and cost-effectively maintain infrastructure, they create sustainability for operations as well as the environment. Mining has an opportunity, through digital technologies, to attain all those benchmarks, specifically because these technologies hadn’t existed before or weren’t nearly as affordable as they are now.” To illustrate the point, Mistry offers several project examples from Xylem that help mines manage their water resources more sustainably.
Remote monitoring Equipment that requires less operator oversight will improve efficiency and better overall use of resources. A copper mine in Peru tackled its dewatering challenges using surface-based
mobile pumps to draw water from a depth of 365 m. These pumps are integrated with the mine’s Scada system for remote start and stop, and staff can check the pumps’ metrics and performance within seconds, even though they are located on different sites across the mine.
Innovative inspection The inspection of infrastructure is vital for both efficiency and environmental compliance but finding a small leak among many pipes was historically often pointlessly expensive and ineffective. But new innovations are changing this, such as the SmartBall acoustic detector that rolls inside a pipe and can detect pinhole leaks. A Colorado-based mine used this system to inspect two parallel HDPE lines that move hazardous water across an ecologically sensitive area. Wastewater harvesting Mining wastewater contains numerous minerals that can be extracted as an alternative revenue stream. South Africa is home to a nickel purification plant that does exactly this: using a design that incorporates a variety of different pumps handling high temperatures and corrosive chemicals, the site extracts high-quality nickel from the wastewater stream of a nearby platinum mine, which could otherwise have become an environmental challenge. Some 63% of mines are concerned about the growing cost of water and sustainable water management, according to a Xylem survey. But this is also an opportunity: modern technologies and best practices offer more ways for mines to manage water while saving money and meeting compliance. This golden triangle is helping mines become much more sustainable and harmonised with their surrounding communities and the environment.
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