Integrated Annual Report 2014

Environmental engagement

Reported G4 indicators:

Engagement with stakeholders on environmental issues is an ongoing process, and the frequency of engagement is largely determined by the materiality of the issue and the profile of the stakeholder. Our key stakeholders on environmental issues include our regulators, such as the Department of Mineral Resources, the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Water and Sanitation, industry associations such as the Chamber of Mines, neighbouring landowners, local municipalities, surrounding communities as well as relevant environmental organisations and NGOs, such as the Federation for a Sustainable Environment. Our own employees are also important internal environmental stakeholders. Issues raised during these engagements are dealt with by the Environmental Department and, if it is non-environmental, it is elevated to the relevant person within Sibanye. The issue determines who attends the engagements. However, our Environmental Department is largely responsible for environmental engagement.

  • Local and provincial government [icon] Local and provincial government
  • National government [icon] National government
  • Non-governmental organisations [icon] Non-governmental organisations
  • Forums/key institutions [icon] Forums/key institutions
  • Other [icon] Other
Key environmental stakeholders
  Broad objective of engagement Frequency and outcome
Local and provincial government [icon] Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Engagement on environmental permitting and related
    requirements for WRTRP
  • Once-off engagement
  • Due to WRTRP, engagement set to intensify in 2015
  • Positive outcome of engagement and willingness to engage further on WRTRP
Local and provincial government [icon] West Rand District Municipality
  • Engagement with public safety officials regarding reopening of old Venterspost Road
  • Engagement with officials of Environmental Department regarding proposed WRTRP
  • Engagement with Section 80 Committee of municipality regarding proposed WRTRP
  • Quarterly engagement with municipality regarding regional environmental management issues
  • Quarterly engagement with municipality’s environmental forum
  • Remainder of engagement is ad hoc and issues-based
  • Positive outcomes of all engagements between Sibanye and municipality
  • Section 80 Committee supports WRTRP and objectives, and further engagements will be set up
National government [icon] Department of Mineral Resources
  • Engagement on status of environmental management at our operations and compliance with the EMP
  • Engagement on the approval of EMPs for some operations
  • As and when required
  • Numerous engagements in 2014, notably on EMPs
  • Engagements are ongoing
National government [icon] Department of Environmental Affairs
  • Engagement on the environmental permitting and related requirements for WRTRP
  • Once-off engagement
  • Due to WRTRP, engagement set to intensify in 2015
  • Positive outcome of engagement and willingness to engage further on WRTRP
  • Indirect engagement with DEA, via Chamber of Mines, on legislative issues
Non-governmental organisations [icon] Federation for a Sustainable Environment
  • Engagement geared towards better understanding of “agenda” of most important non-governmental organisations within area of influence
  • Ensure potential engagement risks are pro-actively identified, managed and mitigated
  • Ad hoc engagement
  • Engagement is largely issues-based
  • Engagements in 2014 revolved around WRTRP permitting process, removal of alien vegetation on some Sibanye properties and resultant perceived negative impacts on neighbours, sharing information on important legislative changes and emerging environmental issues
  • In addition to above direct engagements, numerous workshops with community members to highlight environmental risks and challenges, and practical solutions pursued by Sibanye to address and mitigate risks
Forums/key institutions [icon] Chamber of Mines Environmental Policy Committee
  • A mining industry environmental forum to discuss and formulate environmental policy
  • Mining industry’s position also discussed and formulated
  • Monthly meetings and ad hoc engagements as necessary
  • Engagements policy-driven and implementation resides with mining houses
  • On behalf of Sibanye and other members, Chamber of Mines also engages with relevant government departments
Forums/key institutions [icon] Water Forums (Loop and Wonderfonteinspruit)
  • Limited engagement and involvement in 2014 due to hand-over to Sibanye’s Water Department
  • Quarterly engagements
  • In addition to water-related issues, general environmental issues also raised
  • Appropriate platform for members to raise relevant issues (well-attended)
Forums/key institutions [icon] Far Western Basin Technical Working Group
  • Sibanye’s involvement revolves primarily around mine/shaft closure management
  • Water management issues also discussed
  • Quarterly meetings
  • Meetings chaired by DMR
  • In 2015, discussions around regional closure plans and how this dovetails with Sibanye’s closure plans to be intensified
Other [icon] Visits by external parties
  • Organised by Federation for a Sustainable Environment, mainly to Cooke operations by, inter alia, government officials, church leaders, academia, overseas specialists, school groups, among others, for first-hand experience of Sibanye’s environmental and water management practices
  • At least monthly site visits
  • Staff from Environmental Department and Surface Operations: Technical involved in site visits
  • Visits and associated discussions well received by attendees
Other [icon] Internal stakeholders
  • Engagement with executive management on highlevel policy issues (for example, carbon tax, emerging environmental legislation, among others)
  • Engagement with senior management on environmental performance and operational environmental issues
  • Engagement with employees on applicable legal requirements
  • Engagement with broader internal stakeholders, via Group-wide electronic communications: Water Week, hydrocarbon management, incident management and Arbor Day, among others
  • Environmental articles in quarterly Sibanye newsletter
  • Engagements focus on increasing environmental awareness among staff members
  • Although numerous engagements held in 2014, this will be focus area in 2015, largely due to greater focus on compliance and promulgation and roll-out of new environmental legislation


Sibanye recognises global warming and climate change as a reality, and is committed to contribute to a global solution. In 2014, a workshop was conducted to evaluate and reassess the risks and opportunities relating to climate change. The primary purpose of the workshop was to review the latest developments on climate change and carbon management with the intention of qualitatively assessing risks and opportunities for Sibanye.

Potential risks are:

  • financial (such as carbon tax implementation and electricity price escalation);
  • business (such as sector emission reduction goals and Group carbon budgets); and
  • meteorological (such as changes in rainfall intensities and key commodities scarcity).

Opportunities identified include:

  • revenue recycling (such as tax incentives and rebates for carbon emissions reduction activities);
  • renewable energy (such as solar); and
  • alternative energy (such as methane).

In order to minimise risks and to take further advantage of available opportunities, Sibanye consults the greenhouse gases management handbook developed in 2014 as an essential tool for companies operating in South Africa, especially in light of the dynamic regulatory environment. The handbook is useful in that it gives clear guidance on calculating and managing greenhouse gas emissions, advice on improving existing greenhouse gas management systems and recommendations for dealing with proposed regulatory requirements.

Sibanye has also partnered with the National Business Initiative and government’s Private Sector Energy Efficiency (PSEE) programme to explore further actions in terms of four work streams (scheduled to begin in 2015):

  1. Carbon footprinting
  2. Regional climate change survey update
  3. Carbon management protocol development
  4. Development of a five-year pollution prevention plan

We continue to participate in the climate change debate nationally and internationally. Through the Chamber of Mines, we have provided input and comment on climate change and climate change management.

South Africa is committed to contributing to greenhouse gas mitigation efforts in order to keep the rise in global mean temperature well below 2°C. In order to fulfil this obligation and in developing a comprehensive policy framework for responding to climate change, government has developed the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP), and has indicated its intention to introduce a carbon tax from 2016. National Treasury released a carbon offsets paper for comment in 2014, and is considering these comments with a view to finalising the offsets allowances for the various sectors. Further to this, in March 2014, South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs gave notice of two amendments to the Air Quality Act under sections 57(1) and 57(1) (a) respectively: Declaration of Greenhouse Gases as Priority Pollutants – Section 29(1) and publishing National Pollution Prevention Plans (PPP) regulations – Section 29(3), 53(o) and (p). These regulations require any company emitting greenhouse gases in excess of 100,000tCO2e per annum to prepare, submit and implement a PPP every five years. As Sibanye emits more than 100,000tCO2e per annum, the Group will be subject to these regulations.

The NCCRP states that it is a strategic priority to find cost-effective and beneficial mitigation policies, measures and interventions that lead to a reduction in emissions below the country’s business-as-usual trajectory as measured against a benchmark peak, plateau and decline greenhouse gas emission trajectory. One of the key elements in the overall approach to mitigation is identifying desired sectoral mitigation contributions. This involves defining desired emission reduction outcomes for each significant sector and sub-sector of the economy based on an in-depth assessment of the mitigation potential, best available mitigation options, science, evidence, and a full assessment of the costs and benefits. The mining industry, represented by the Chamber of Mines Environmental Policy Committee, is involved in these processes.

Greenhouse gas mitigation potential analysis has been conducted by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, and has identified and analysed mitigation options in key economic sectors. In the process, an updated projection of national greenhouse gas emissions into the future has been developed, along with marginal abatement cost curves for key sec tors and subsectors. The marginal abatement cost curves provide a set of options to the gold mining sector to reduce carbon emissions. They are valuable tools in understanding emissions trading, driving forecasts of carbon prices, prioritising investment opportunities, and shaping policy discussions. The marginal abatement cost curve summarises the estimate of the realistic volume and costs of opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A socio-economic and environmental assessment of the identified mitigation options has also been conducted, leading to the development of national abatement pathways and an assessment of the wider macroeconomic impacts of implementing a broad set of mitigation options.

We fully understand the financial implications of climate change, such as carbon tax, the introduction and switch over to renewable energy, among others. The effect on our profitability has been incorporated into budgeting and other planning processes. A levy of R0.035 per kWh is payable on the electricity we purchase from Eskom. Provision for this levy was made in our 2014 budget cycle.