We are committed to minimising environmental degradation and to being stewards for natural capital, while promoting environmental consciousness and sustainable resource use.
Highlights from 2022
for our 2022 CDP climate change submission
for our 2022 CDP water management submission
CDP forests submission
improves at East Boulder (13%)
and Stillwater mine (10%)
reduction in potable water withdrawals
at SA operations since 2020
5.1 tCO2e (scope 1 & 2)
achieved benchmark of limiting GHG emissions to the
2022 adjusted carbon budget of 6.9 tCO2e (scope 1 & 2)
The metals we mine play vital role to enable a lower carbon, and overall more environmentally-friendly future. We are also committed to limiting our impact on the environment though the way we operate.
Sibanye-Stillwater is a dedicated partner in the transition to a low-carbon future, given that we invest in green metals; these are metals needed for renewable energy (solar and wind), batteries, and hydrogen. This is encapsulated in our strategic differentiator: Unique global portfolio of green metals and energy solutions that reverse climate change.
Our Group sustainability strategy calls for (i) building a climate change resilient business, and (ii) data-driven and considered decision-making.
- Define and embed recycling and the circular economy
- GHG emissions baseline across all operations
- Maintain global standing on tailings operating standards and principles
- TCFD reporting strategy and assessment globally
- Reduction in GHG emissions and intensity
- Reduction in water intensity across all our metals
- Reduction in reliance for the use of portable water
- Not net loss of biodiversity as a result of investment (following closure and rehabilitation activities)
The following indicators are linked to the long-term incentive (LTI) performance conditions
- Reduce absolute GHG emissions
- Reduce water consumption (SA operations)
- Improvement in water quality
- Reduce tailings risk
- Enhance concurrent rehabilitation (includes environmental closure)
A closer look
Climate change is one of the most pressing global environmental challenges of our time, and we are committed to contributing to a global solution by proactively managing our carbon footprint. We support the global response to climate change in two primary ways: by reducing our own carbon footprint and by delivering those commodities needed to mitigate carbon emissions.
Our climate change and energy and decarbonisation position statements are aligned with the ICMM’s climate change commitments, to SDGs 7 and 13, and to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Paris Agreement. Sibanye-Stillwater was one of 28 international mining and metals companies that committed to the new ICMM climate change position, announced ahead of COP26 (November 2021), which includes a commitment to net zero by 2050.
Our energy and decarbonisation strategy was refined in 2021 to support delivery on our goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.
Mitigation of the energy supply deficit at our SA operations remains critical. We continue to mitigate the impact of load curtailment where possible and we continue to accelerate our decarbonisation efforts.
The implementation of energy efficiency projects has been instrumental in the continuous reduction of our carbon footprint. These include initiatives relating to ventilation optimisation at our SA gold operations, compressed air optimisation projects at our SA PGM operations, and the installation of solar arrays.
Water is a critical resource and is important to every aspect of our operations – drilling and blasting, milling and processing, the cooling of equipment, and for hydraulic tailings re-mining. Our employees and surrounding communities also depend on our water. Water management is an important aspect of our Group environmental planning processes, from early stage feasibility to post-mining and closure.
We are committed to best practice in water conservation and water demand management and have taken an integrated approach to the management of our water footprint to ensure its responsible use, in a manner that is sustainable to production and to our host communities.
We face distinctly different water challenges at our SA gold, SA PGM and US PGM operations. Our SA PGM operations are situated in water-stressed areas in North West province, while our SA gold operations in the West Rand of Gauteng are, by contrast, overlain by dolomitic aquifers. They are largely water-positive, and it is necessary to pump large volumes of ingress water from these deep workings. Our US PGM operations are largely water independent and water positive.
It is a priority for our SA operations to reduce reliance on/ extraction from municipal water systems, both for cost and security of supply reasons, whilst at the same time increasing access to potable water for other users who rely on municipal water systems.
We aim to use alternative available underground water sources to replace purchased water and are identifying and reducing the waste of water through improved metering, water balance management, leak detection, and repair initiatives.
We monitor and measure usage and emissions from direct fuel sources, such as diesel, as well as indirect emissions associated with purchased electricity and materials, for greenhouse gas emission monitoring and reporting and atmospheric emission licence compliance requirements.
Within our air quality efforts, control of dust from tailings storage facilities is a key focus area, as is the reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions and particulate matter.
Responsible storage, handling and disposal of solid and hazardous waste is pivotal to our approach to environmental care. We focus first on minimising the generation of waste and residue, then on recycling and re-using waste or by-products. When material cannot be recycled, we dispose of it in an acceptable way.
Currently, Sibanye-Stillwater has 38 tailings storage facilities (TSFs) under management, both in South Africa and the United States.
Sibanye-Stillwater is committed to the safe and environmentally responsible management of our TSFs and is dedicated to ensuring that systems, standards and resources are in place to prevent catastrophic TSF failures. Sibanye-Stillwater fully supports and is committed to align all tailings facilities at our operations with the intent and requirements of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM).
See Tailings management for further details
Protection of the biological resources – land, biodiversity and heritage – near our activities is a key element of our environmental strategy. We continually monitor all operational activities that can potentially impact mine site environmental management plans. In addition, for each operation, we develop biodiversity action plans to avoid and mitigate any impact on sensitive species, habitat or ecosystems. These include the programmes to remove alien and invasive vegetation implemented in South Africa by way of local economic development projects.
Sibanye-Stillwater has 851 heritage sites across its SA and US operations. See the heritage section for further detail.
We recognise our responsibility to return land disturbed by mining to stable and productive post-mining uses. Closure planning begins in the early stages of a mine’s development and life, and is updated regularly throughout the life of each mining operation. This process entails an extensive analysis of land use options, environmental factors and community development concerns and objectives and involves dialogue and collaboration with host communities and other stakeholders.
We work closely with regulators across all our operations and adjust our closure plans as regulatory requirements evolve.
- CDP Climate Change Questionnaire 2023
- CDP Water Security Questionnaire 2023
- CDP Forests Response 2022
- Integrated report 2022: Minimising our environmental impact
- Environmental incidents in 2022
- Sibanye-Stillwater’s 2022 SA operations biodiversity footprint as per the Biological Diversity Protocol
- Sibanye-Stillwater’s 2022 biodiversity footprint summary
- Sibanye-Stillwater US PGM operations 2022 biodiversity impact assessment
- Fact sheet 2022: Biodiversity management
- Fact sheet 2022: Tailings management
- 2022 Climate change related disclosure
- CDP Climate Change 2022 Questionnaire
- CDP Water Security 2022 Questionnaire
- Position statement: Air quality
- Position statement: Biodiversity
- Position statement: Climate change
- Position statement: Energy and decarbonisation
- Position statement: Land management
- Position statement: Mineral and non-mineral waste
- Policy statement: Tailings stewardship
- Position statement: Water conservation & water demand management/Water stewardship
- Position statement: Water health management