Some of the macro environmental trends facing the mining industry are water, energy, climate change and the management of mining waste. There is increased competition for access to fresh water. Regulations around greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise. Dynamic weather patterns and changing ecosystems are influencing society in new ways. Mine waste management is under heightened public scrutiny as a result of mine legacy sites and major tailings dam failures in recent years. As awareness of all these issues grows, and tolerance for negative environmental impacts decreases, the extractives industry will face increasing regulatory and societal pressure to improve its sustainability performance, transparency and innovation. To be sustainable, our industry must not only embrace change, but be an agent of it.
Why Is This Important to Our Stakeholders?
Stakeholders want assurance that we are avoiding, or managing, and mitigating the environmental impacts of our operations. They recognize the importance of the earth and its resources to our operations and their own livelihoods. For many of our stakeholders, water stewardship and energy efficiency are top priorities. Topics such as climate change, water quality and availability, and environmental spills and tailings dam breaches are common concerns.
Why Is This Important to Us?
We are committed to the efficient use of natural resources, and we understand the importance of these natural resources to us and to our stakeholders. We also recognize that without proper care of the environment, we cannot operate. A successful mining company must be more than just economically profitable in the short term. Success is based on many factors beyond economic profit, and it must be sustained from exploration through mine closure. Our stewardship of the environment, and our ability to innovate in mining technology, are integral to our company’s sustainability.
Our strategy is to identify and proactively mitigate and manage our environmental impacts. We have embedded our environmental stewardship strategy in our SEMS, which provides a standardized, systematized approach to environmental management in key areas, including specific strategies for Water and Tailings Stewardship.
At the Board level, the Sustainability Committee oversees the key environmental aspects and activities (for more information, see the section on Board Oversight of Sustainability). Environmental programs are headed by the Vice President of Environment, who reports to the Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability.