Integrated Annual Report 2014

Natural capital

Materials and waste management

In order to reduce rehandling costs, development or “waste” rock, which was previously hoisted separately and stored on rock dumps for future processing through dedicated surface material plants, is being milled and processed with underground ore. Significant effort has also been made to improve the quality of mining factors, such as reducing dilution by lowering stoping widths and ensuring that as much gold is recovered from the stoping area as possible. Reducing the amount of waste rock mined has significant cost benefits including increased ore hoisting and processing capacity, resulting in higher yields.

The environmental benefits include a smaller surface rock dump footprint as land use is reduced, lower dust emissions and more effective management of water pollution.

We do not remove only gold-bearing reef as we try to minimise mining of waste. Uranium by-product ore is mined from a specific reef horizon (Elsburgs) and is therefore easily directed towards the Ezulwini gold and uranium plant.

We do not have a formal process to verify that all suppliers promote responsible environmental management. However, as part of the procurement process, suppliers are requested to provide us with their environmental policies.

In addition, contractors permanently on site, such as ore transporters, form part of the on-site EMS and, through site inspections and audits, we ensure that they are environmentally responsible.

Waste management (Mt)
  2014 2013 2012
Mining waste 20.1213.8711.84
Tailings into TSFs 15.7313.1110.72
Tailings into pits 3.79
Waste rock 0.600.761.11
Waste recycled/reprocessed 11.9613.29614.22
Consumption of materials
  Beatrix Cooke Driefontein Kloof Total
Blasting agents1,198t58,687t2,125t998t63,008t
Hydrochloric acid1,117t1,190t784t488t3,578t
Caustic soda608t916t521t452t2,498t


As gold is not soluble in water, cyanide is used to stabilise it in solution and, with oxygen, to dissolve the gold. Cyanide has been the primary reagent for leaching gold from ores since its introduction in the late 19th century. While cyanide is less costly and potentially less harmful than other reagents with similar properties, there are risks associated with its storage and use.

Sibanye has decided, as a result of a change in our operating model, and comfortable that all the necessary systems and practices are in place, not to formally participate in the Cyanide Code after 2013. However, the principles of the Cyanide Code are embedded in our management processes and systems, and management assurance of this aspect is an ongoing process. No cyanide-related incidents were reported at our operations in 2014 and 2013.