The ore we extract, the water and energy we use, and the climate we operate in, are all dependent on a thriving natural environment. Being careful environmental stewards is therefore a crucial building block of our business. On top of this, by maximising energy efficiency and recycling water and waste we help keep our costs down.
The importance of strong environmental management was reflected in our 2015 Materiality Assessment (see on the next page) with issues of cyanide management and water pollution ranked as highest priority issues, and air pollution and environmental incidents also ranking high in importance among both internal and external stakeholders.
We have clear policies in place to monitor and minimise all our negative environmental impacts at every stage of the mining lifecycle. We conduct environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) during the feasibility stage of all our projects, and once a mine is operational we put in place an environmental management system (EMS) to manage all identified risks in accordance with both national regulations and international standards such the IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability. We use the global best practice standard ISO 14001 to help set the criteria for each EMS and as of 2015 all our operations are now certified to the ISO 14001 standard with Kibali granted certification for the first time. We also conduct independent external audits to ensure our compliance.
We are committed to transparent reporting of our environmental impact and as well as offering details publicly in this report we provide environmental data to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) each year. The climate change score awarded to Randgold by CDP for our disclosure of environmental data rose by 40% from 64/100 in 2014, to 90/100 in 2015.
In this chapter we report on five key areas of environmental management performance: environmental incidents, energy and climate change, water and air quality, waste management and biodiversity.
HYDROPOWER TO THE PEOPLE
We estimate that the energy generated by Nzoro II alone will save Randgold around $7 million a month in diesel costs, paying for the cost of all our hydropower installation in DRC within two years.
According to the World Bank, the DRC has the third largest potential for hydropower in the world, especially in rainy North Eastern DRC, where our Kibali mine is based. Yet very few people in this region have access to a reliable energy source.
No energy generation method is flawless, but hydropower is certainly one of the best options. It can create significant levels of energy without causing air or water pollution, and it does not leave any toxic waste behind. It’s relatively inexpensive too, and unlike fossil fuel based generation, costs tend to remain generally constant and controlled.
This is why Randgold has invested heavily in using hydropower to run our Kibali mine in the DRC. Development that has been transformative for the remote local communities around the mine who are not connected to the DRC’s national grid.
Going with the flow
By the end of 2016 we estimate that 90% of the energy requirements of Kibali and its surrounding communities will be met by our hydropower investments. These include three stations that together can produce over 42MW of energy, enough to power approximately 40 000 homes.
The biggest of our hydropower stations, Nzoro II, has been online since mid-2014 and on its own is capable of providing 70% of the mine’s energy demands. The final two stations, both two turbine stations producing up to 10MW of power, are currently under construction and at least one is due to be completed by the end of 2016.
Forming the dams and laying the lines for these hydropower stations has not required any major resettlement programmes, and wide consultations have been undertaken with local communities as part of the construction process.
A legacy of power and skills
The energy flowing to the local communities around Kibali has already had a massive impact on the local economy. It has powered the growth of Durba into a thriving market town with banks, telecommunications and other infrastructure, and it has encouraged businessmen to start farming and industrial projects across the local region.
The construction of these hydropower stations has been carried out in close consultation with the DRC government and its national reconstruction plans. The project has also involved the training and use of as many Congolese engineers as possible in order to leave a legacy of local skilled tradesmen to maintain the stations and to encourage further investment in hydropower in the region.
When the mine closes, our hydrostations will be handed over to the local government to help drive economic growth for future generations.