Policy and practice
- How the precautionary approach or principle is addressed.
- Focus on internal audits and on aligning systems, procedures, resources and
structures with Sibanye operating model in 2013
- Finalising integrated water use licences
- Undertaking performance assessments
- Compliance with environmental management programmes
- Review and update water management plan
- Deploy particulate matter monitoring equipment at Kloof
- Obtain atmospheric emissions licences
- Continue to report in line with Carbon Disclosure Project
Targets and objectives for 2013/2014
Sibanye aims to maintain its licence to operate within a low-carbon economy, and to leave behind self-sustaining and integrated land end uses without residual liability when mines close.
Sibanye’s Environmental Policy requires that the Group undertake its activities in a manner that strives to minimise or rectify adverse impacts and maximise positive impacts of an environmental or socio-economic nature.
Sibanye is committed to responsible stewardship of natural resources and the ecological environment for present and future generations, and takes a precautionary approach in all activities by:
- assessing and meeting the requirements of industry standards with respect to environmental management practices;
- implementation, maintenance and integration of internationally recognised environmental management systems (EMSs) that ensure continuous improvement of environmental performance and the prevention of pollution through recognised practices;
- complying with applicable legal and other requirements relating to environmental aspects;
- using resources efficiently and managing all waste streams responsibly;
- contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and applying integrated approaches towards closure and post-mining land-use planning; and
- establishing an appropriate level of awareness and training of employees with environmental responsibilities, as required.
The Group’s employees play a fundamental role in achieving these objectives by:
- taking ownership of responsible EMPs and initiatives;
- reacting and adhering to environmental policy and principles; and
- integrating environmental concerns into everyday practice.
The focus in 2013 was on internal audits and aligning systems, procedures, resources and structures to the Sibanye operating model.
More than compliance
Sibanye’s approach to environmental management is risk-based, with a strong focus on management assurance, legal compliance and, ultimately, mine closure. The Group’s approach is, therefore, integrated within its broader Sustainable Development framework.
An overarching EMS that is aligned with the ISO 14001 standard is in place across the Group, with appropriate operating procedures at an operational level.
Sibanye’s EMPs, one of the pillars of its legal right to mine the resource, are legally binding commitments that have been agreed with the regulators, based on sound environmental management principles and associated risks, incorporating risk management and the mitigation measures implemented. Legally, Sibanye is required to submit a performance-assessment report every two years. The first report is due in February 2014 (two years after the approval of EMPs in February 2012).
Internal EMP performance assessments will be done by the Sustainable Development Department every alternate year (the year in which an external performance assessment is not conducted). Biennial EMP performance assessments, as required by the regulator, began in December 2013 and continued in early 2014. Final EMP performance-assessment reports were submitted to the regulator on 17 February 2014. All the EMP performance-assessment reports indicated a high degree of compliance with the conditions in the respective operational EMPs.
Given that Sibanye’s focus is and must be on compliance with its EMPs, the Group has decided not to continue to pursue ISO 14001 certification in future although its EMSs will continue to be aligned with ISO 14001 guidance and principles. Sibanye’s Internal Audit Department will play an increasingly important role in providing management assurance on the adequacy, effectiveness and suitability of its EMSs.
In terms of the Sibanye operating model, ownership of environmental management lies partly with the operating business units, and partly with the corporate Sustainable Development Department (which plays an important assurance role) while the relationship between the operating business units and corporate is governed by service level agreements, which outline the tasks and their ownership and accountability. This model has largely been rolled out during 2013, and full implementation will continue in 2014, as well as measuring specific outputs linked to the respective service level agreements.
In terms of environmental licensing, no additional permits were applied for in 2013, and no major environmental impact assessments (EIAs) were conducted. An EIA has been initiated for the relocation of the assay laboratory, and the public notification process for this has commenced. A basic assessment in terms of EIA regulations for the Beatrix 4 shaft methane-destruction project was completed in 2012, and the Record of Decision was received from the authorities during 2013. Feedback from the Free State DMR regarding the amendment to the Environmental Management Programme Report (EMPR) is expected in early 2014. It is also expected that environmental licensing processes, initiated during 2013, such as the atmospheric emissions and waste management licensing processes, will be further pursued and finalised during 2014.