Anglo Coal, for its Isibonelo Wetlands project, was the winner of the environmental category, Pala- bora Mining, for the Palabora Foun-dation, won the socioeconomic category and Anglo Platinum, for the company’s sustainability programme, was the winner of the sustainability category. No award was made in the limited resource category. Nedbank Capital said that the environmental award presented to Anglo Coal’s Isibonelo Wetlands project was innovative and extended beyond compliance.
Anglo Coal and its partners pioneered ‘off-site’ wetland rehabili- tation in South Africa as mitiga- tion action for on-site wetland loss. The company recognised that its Isibonelo opencast operations were destroying a portion of the Steenkoolspruit wetlands and, as a mitigation measure for this loss, it committed to rehabilitating a wetland area elsewhere in the Upper Oliphants river catchment.
“They created a precedent, which other mining companies are following,” Nedbank Capital said.
Meanwhile, Palabora Mining’s Palabora Foundation, winner of the socioeconomic award, was recognised for its significant contribution in terms of social and economic upliftment of the communities surrounding the mine.
The foundation’s work include, besides others, the benefits of the programme, especially in the fields of mathematics, science and environmental education, educator development, school governance programmes, skills development training and healthcare.
“While the concept of mines forming trusts to benefit communities that surround them is not unique, Palabora’s win demonstrates a clear intent to continuously ‘push the boundaries’ to ensure the benefits are sustained way beyond the life of the mine,” Ned-bank Capital said. Anglo Platinum, winner in the sustainability category, had made a significant effort in converging economics, the environment and society for the benefit of present and future generations with its sustainable development programme, the bank reported.
“The programme is strategic, has executive buy-in and is mainstreaming sustainability at Anglo Platinum’s operations.” The programme comprises a range of projects, including the Anglo Platinum Converting Project which is acknowledged for its innovative approach to reducing sulphur emissions to well below the legal limit and, in doing so, setting a new standard for the platinum industry, and working with the community in resolving key issues.
Nedbank Capital head of mining and resources Mark Tyler commented that sustainability was a philosophy, something that all mining companies should be striving for, but noted that it was a complex and multifaceted issue to measure.