TIME FOR NATURE
Sibanye-Stillwater’s focus on this important day, is to improve understanding of the impact our mining has on the environment so that we can better equip ourselves with knowledge to manage and mitigate these impacts and stand true to our purpose:
“Promoting natural resources and improving life - sustainable use through increased environmental consciousness and continual improvement, minimising environmental impacts with a measured transition to a low carbon future.”
WHAT IS WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY?
World Environment Day, Friday 5 June 2020, is an annual event and is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations (UN) stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. World Environment Day was first celebrated in 1974, to raise awareness of environmental issues across the planet. The purpose is not only to raise awareness about significant environmental issues, but to also emphasise the small changes that each individual can make in their personal capacity, which on a cumulative scale can make a lasting and significant impact.
The theme for World Environment Day 2020, “Time for Nature”, is the linkage to our natural capital and biodiversity. This fundamentally relates to things we do on a daily basis such as the air we breathe, the water we drink, the rivers we see flowing, a vicious storm, the plants and trees that give us endless joy and paint pictures in our landscapes, the animals and insects that share these natural resources and the climate that makes our Planet Earth currently the ONLY PLANET habitable for LIFE as we know it and which has finite resources.
THIS YEAR’S WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY THEME “A TIME FOR NATURE” REFLECTS ON BIODIVERSITY BEING THE FOCUS
Both South Africa and the United States of America (USA) have pro-active and knowledgeable environmental regulators. Environmental legislation in these countries is supported by international standards, conventions, protocols and frameworks including the International Council on Metals & Minerals (ICMM), International Platinum Group Metals Association (IPA), ISO, and the World Gold Council (WGC) responsible gold mining principles, to which we align and are signatories. This robust set of legislation, standards and frameworks ensure that we mine responsibly and safe guard our natural environment.
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AT SIBANYE-STILLWATER
For us at Sibanye-Stillwater, protecting the environment is as much of a choice as it is a responsibility. Within our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework and Strategy we have developed four key strategic objectives for environmental management:
- Maintain environmental license to operate: We commit to conduct our business activities to recognised standards and guidelines. We manage and mitigate the environmental risks our mining activities pose to the natural environment.
- Effect continuous improvement: Our internal governance practices and our processes are constantly evolving to drive value creation through cost-effective implementations of technology and innovation.
- Responsible use of environmental resources: We vigilantly drive the management of our emissions, energy, carbon and water footprints. Our Land, waste, heritage and biodiversity management focus further enhances our sustainable post mining closure approach.
- Drive environmental consciousness through awareness, stewardship and communication on environmental issues: By continually engaging with key stakeholders and communities, we raise awareness of environmental issues, manage expectations and protect our environmental reputation.
We have a highly competent environmental team focused on compliance and specialist disciplines and who are focused on delivering against stringent environmental objectives in the key areas of water, land, air, waste, biodiversity, heritage, closure and climate change management.
What we achieved in 2019
- Carbon emissions reduced by 26.4%, from the 2010 base-year to end 2019 for the Group
- A 22% reduction of purchased water achieved at the SA gold operations; a 11% reduction at PGM operations (excluding Marikana)
- Zero (0) Level 4 environmental incidents
- Continually operated mine site water treatment plants at less than 30% of nitrogen discharge permitted limits at our US PGM operations
- Operate the cleanest PGM smelter in the world, with SO2 emissions sustainably below 5% of permitted limits at our US PGM operations
- Recycled more than 700,000 ounces of spent catalytic converters
- Collaborated with counterparties to the Good Neighbor Agreement to draft an Adaptive Management Plan that establishes tiered responses to water quality issues at the US operations that well exceed state and federal water quality requirements
- Collaborated with state and federal regulators, the Good Neighbor Agreement parties, and an Independent Review Panel of experts on siting for tailing facilities expansion, as required by Montana’s industry leading tailings legislation
WHAT CAN I DO TO SUPPORT THE ENVIRONMENT
Every person needs to realise that they continuously impact on the natural environment and that they can be the “CHANGE” or become the Change Agents or Environmental Ambassadors for positive environmental action and change. The lockdown situation has also changed the face of “normal” into the “new normal”, resulting in new ways of interacting, consuming, and wasting and the positive spinoffs realised should continue in your everyday life. Your responses going forward could include:
- Reduce travelling where possible – reduce your carbon footprint and general impact on the environment by interacting on virtual platforms as much as possible, no need to drive or fly to accomplish most basic day-today tasks;
- Develop and conserve natural spaces – being confined indoors has shown the real need humans have to be in nature for exercise and recreation, appreciate and encourage the need to conserve natural spaces to provide for the happiness and fulfilment of present and future generations. Re-connect with nature by visiting and supporting your national parks and botanical gardens;
- Take a look at your lifestyle – consider the small and large lifestyle changes you can make to improve nature around you, invest in greening your landscape including recycling and encouraging life at home and around your work place;
- Actively reduce your impact on natural resources – separate your waste for reuse and recycling, reduce your need for single use plastics such as straws, plastic bags, cling wrap, water bottles, etc. use reusable containers. Look at reducing the amount of energy and water you consume. Switch off lights and appliances when not in use. Fix leaking taps and pipes and encourage the planting of indigenous plants and trees, which often consume less water than exotic species.
Take time to understand the reality of our actions on the future of our planet!
WHAT CAN I DO ON THE MINE AND IN MY WORKING AREA?
- Realise the importance of your impact on the natural environment and that you can make the difference required to limit your impacts. Look at your daily routines and see where you can reduce your pollution on the environment, manage oils, greases ad other chemicals responsibly, use water sparingly, separate your waste to provide the opportunity for reuse and recycling, etc.
- Make use of your environmental procedures to minimize your impacts on site.
- Speak to your environmental team if you need support or guidance.
- Introduce environmental aspects into your talk topics.
- Take environmental management at your mine and in your working areas seriously. We all need the natural environment and resources to live.
Water, air, soil, biodiversity are limited resources, if we do not look after these the planet cannot survive