LEPHALALE (miningweekly.co.za) – Empowered diversified miner Exxaro Resources on Friday reaffirmed its safety, health and environmental goals at its yearly Sustainability Summit, held in Lephalale, Limpopo.
The summit is being held soon after the group celebrated a 24-month fatality-free milestone.
On the sidelines of this “critical” event – in the words of Exxaro CEO Mxolisi Mgojo – Exxaro safety and health group manager Dr Joseph Matjila told Mining Weekly Online that the company’s achievement of two fatality-free years was an example of how the zero harm target could be achieved, especially in the context of South African mining.
However, he lamented that, even though it is achievable, challenges – such as fall-of-ground incidents and trackless mobile machinery – remained an area of concern, especially when taking place under limited supervision.
It is for this reason that Exxaro has adapted its corporate strategy so that nonroutine works, or weekend shifts, have to comply to different governance structures.
Exxaro has also adapted its inspections to be “more robust” and “in line with what is expected when working with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR)”.
During his presentation at the summit, Exxaro executive sustainability GM Mongezi Veti highlighted some of the miner’s future goals, noting that these were in line with the National Development Goals of 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Areas of focus in terms of safety for 2019 include enhancing risk awareness, ensuring a mature safety culture and ensuring proactive intervention and safety leadership.
In terms of health, the focus areas comprise a revision of the miner’s occupation exposure profiles, initiatives to stop tuberculosis, HIV/Aids prevention and ensuring that workers remain connected, while reducing the workers’ exposure to hazardous environments.
Personal protective equipment will also be a priority, with Veti stating that workers would not be allowed to do their jobs without the use of the necessary equipment.
Exxaro’s environmental goals will comprise the establishment of an internal specialist audit team, as well as authorisation alignment when it comes to life-of-mine planning.
Additionally, line manager environmental training, as well as digital environment management tools and stakeholder engagement will remain key.
Exxaro further reaffirmed its commitment to not only reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 30%, but also to reduce its water use by 30% and its energy intensity by 20% by 2026.
Under the miner’s land management goals for 2019, Exxaro intends to transfer 90% of its post-mining land to emerging farmers in local communities by 2026, while also creating strategic partnerships with farmers on land to advance agri-economies in support of the government’s land redistribution policies.
In terms of digitisation, Exxaro plans to complete the development and implementation of a leading indicator dashboard, as well as an intelligent environmental management system this year.
DMR Limpopo principal inspector Solly Jivhuho, speaking on behalf of the DMR, welcomed Exxaro’s health, safety and environment strategies for this year, stating that these fell “well in line with the industry goal of achieving no fatalities from 2020”.
The summit forms part of Exxaro’s sustainability strategy, which focuses on zero harm, environmental stewardship, climate resilience, optimal use of land, eco-efficient operations and post-mining land use.