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In 2013, 67% of our water came from recycled sources

Environment

WATER: A REAL OPPORTUNITY

Every drop is precious

We cannot mine without water and 70% of our mines are in places where it’s scarce. So looking after water is a big challenge — and a real chance to make a difference. Without careful management, mining can have a negative impact on water quality.

We’re using less water, recycling and purifying the water we use and bringing it to communities where it’s scarce.

  • 22% = the amount of water we’re saving on our projected usage for 2013. This beats the 14% target we set ourselves in 2011.
  • 32,000,000 m3 = the volume of water we saved in 2013.
  • $85 million = the value of water-related costs we saved in 2013.
  • 30 = the number of major water-saving projects we’ve invested in worldwide.

We’re also taking a lead as stewards of our water catchments, helping preserve access rights and water quality for communities wherever we operate.

Climate change; all change

Climate change is transforming our industry. We face changing demand for our products, rising energy and compliance costs and new environmental challenges and opportunities. In the high risk regions, climate change may also have a significant impact on our operations and the communities where we operate. We need to assess our vulnerability and the effectiveness of control measures.

Because of this, mining will be different in the future. Our vision is to build high-efficiency, low-carbon (if not carbon-neutral) mines by 2030. We’ve already begun, with a 10-year climate change strategy that focuses on operating more efficiently, applying technology and partnering with our stakeholders.

  • 19% = the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions we achieved in 2013. With this, we’ve already matched the target we set ourselves for 2015.
  • 5% = our savings in energy consumption in 2013. This puts us well on the way to our goal of a 7% saving by 2015.
  • $95 million = money saved in 2014 through our energy saving initiatives.

REHABILITATION

Our aim is to rehabilitate as much of the affected land as possible during a mine's operational life. This generally results in a better rehabilitation outcome, reduces costs in the long run, and reduces our closure liabilities. But we’re also committed to ensuring the ongoing economic success of the areas where we operate, so when we’re no longer mining, communities can continue to thrive.

Our Environment Way [PDF Vol 1] outlines our performance standard for rehabilitation. From conducting a risk-based evaluation of rehabilitation alternatives, to assessing the risks of our activities, we aim to work with all of the relevant stakeholders throughout the process.

What it means to be a responsible land steward

Any activity on land will change it: mining, for example, takes the metals and minerals from where they’re located beneath the ground to make everyday life possible.

Yet even though mines can operate for many decades, a mine is temporary and will eventually close. Our environmental vision is to minimise harm to the environment by designing, operating and closing all of our operations in an environmentally responsible manner, guided by our Environment Way (PDF Vol 1, PDF Vol 2). We also use technology and work with partners to better understand our biodiversity risks and implement best practice management strategies.

But, beyond the environmental aspects of being a responsible land steward, we also aim to leave communities with a self-sufficient and self-sustaining legacy, through socio-economic development that meets the needs of the people living near the operations.

Better ways to deal with waste and emissions

Mining creates a lot of mineral waste and some of our operations put gas and particulates into the air. But, by managing these byproducts carefully, we can prevent harm to people’s health and natural habitats, as part of our Environment Way (PDF Vol 1, PDF Vol 2).

We’re finding new ways to cut waste by re-mining or reusing it. We apply the ‘avoid, reduce, re-use and recycle’ management hierarchy to ensure the least possible impact on human health and environment during both the operational and post-closure phases. Once waste-reduction opportunities are exhausted, we actively explore the re-use of by-products.

Going beyond the life of the mine

Our mines create opportunities and a whole way of life wherever they are. They can operate for decades – but eventually the mining will come to an end.

Ensuring a lasting legacy – land stewardship and mine closure

We use our Mine Closure Toolbox to plan far beyond the life of a mine.Our approach focuses on every stage of a mine’s life, ensuring that the way we operate today puts us in the best position to leave a positive environmental and socio-economic legacy for the communities.

We launched the Mine Closure Toolbox (MCT) in 2007. It is now used throughout our managed operations and also at some of our non-managed operations in partnership with other mining companies. The tool reinforces our desire for improved community relationships and engagement. Some of the more immediate benefits from our updated MCT can be lower closure liabilities, lower rehabilitation costs and more effective social investment and engagement.

Our updated MCT aims to further improve the quality of our closure planning and is now publicly available to download.

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