Our consideration of a mine’s environmental impact and how to manage it starts long before the mine gates open. During prefeasibility and feasibility stages of any project we conduct environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) to identify and understand the exact environmental impacts and risks of the project. Once a project moves to construction and ultimately operational phase, the ESIA is used to inform the development of a site specific environmental management system (EMS), which ensures all identified risks are managed in line with national regulations and international best practice standards such as the IFC Performance Standards. All our mine EMSs are audited against and certified to the ISO 14001 global best practice standard, and we are aligning all our operations’ EMSs with the new ISO 14001:2015 standard.
To monitor our environmental performance and ensure we meet industry best practice, we have a number of key performance indicators. For example, we monitor the number of environmental incidents, which occur on our sites each year. Any environmental incident that occurs is classified on a 1-3 scale of severity (where one is the most serious), and we have a group target of zero class 1 incidents each year.
As indicated in the number of environmental incidents table, 2017 was the third consecutive year we had no major (Class 1) environmental incidents, and for the second year running we had just one moderate (Class 2) incident. The number of Class 3 incidents registered in 2017 increased 31% to 92 in 2017. However, we regard Class 3 incidents to be an early warning mechanism which, if properly attended to, can prevent more serious incidents from occurring. Therefore we do not see the increase in Class 3 incidents as reflective of a negative trend in performance as it also indicates an improvement in our proactive reporting of smaller incidents, which is a positive development.
Number of Environmental Incidents
|Class 1 incidents||Class 2 incidents||Class 3 incidents|
|at 31 December||2017||2016||2015||2017||2016||2015||2017||2016||2015|