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Kumba’s sustainability drive fosters shared value

Sustainability is at the heart Kumba's activities

THEMBA MKHWANAZI Sustainability is at the heart Kumba's activities

4th December 2020


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Iron-ore producer Kumba Iron Ore presented its sustainability performance last month, as reported by Mining Weekly.

At the time, Kumba CE Themba Mkhwanazi said: “Sustainability is at the heart of who we are at Kumba and core to what we do. We recognise that a sustainability mindset, including our non-negotiable commitment to safety and health, makes us better at our business of producing high-quality iron-ore.”

He added that sustainability makes the Anglo American subsidiary “more resilient, agile and efficient”. This is evidenced by the fact that, for the fourth consecutive year, Kumba achieved zero fatalities and experienced no major environmental incidents.

“We continue to embed sustainable mining practices into our operations through our sustainable mining plan, which is aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

The plan was launched in 2018 and is built on three key pillars, which, in turn, are aligned with Kumba’s environmental, social and corporate governance initiative.

The first pillar relates to a healthy environment, with Kumba recognising that biodiversity, energy and water all lie within its stewardship.

The second focuses on “thriving communities”, with Kumba committing to building communities with better health, education and levels of employment. The third is to be a “trusted corporate leader”, by developing trust, providing ethical value chains and improved accountability.

Mkhwanazi highlighted that the company’s commitment to sustainability is underpinned by its board structure and governance framework, where sustainability is rooted in several internal and external engagement forums, including its social, ethics and transformation committee.

Further, its executive’s long-term incentives map directly to Kumba’s sustainability performance.

“Kumba has adopted [its parent] Anglo American’s Social Way, a best practice, integrated social performance management system [that] defines our social performance standards and governing framework.

“This guides our approach to community engagement and development as well as cultural heritage, all of which are essential to our social licence to operate and innovate.”

He explained that the Social Way was used to develop Kumba’s Covid-19 WeCare Community response plans, providing much-needed support for host communities.

This year the company spent R2.4-billion at more than 300 businesses in its host communities, directly and positively impacting on the lives of more than 16 000 people.

Meanwhile, the company noted that climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world. Kumba’s environmental management efforts are focused on moving the business towards operating carbon neutral and less water-intensive mines.

Mkhwanazi pointed out that Kumba can play a critical role in the transition to a low carbon world, by becoming carbon neutral at its operations and by providing high-quality iron-ore to enable customers to reduce their carbon emissions in the steel production process.

“We are targeting a 30% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and a 30% improvement in energy intensity against our 2016 baseline by 2030.

“Together with the broader Anglo American group, we are developing solar renewable-energy generation and investigating green hydrogen as a renewable energy source for mining activities,” he said.

In addition, Kumba revised its water strategy targeting a more than 14% reduction in water usage by 2025. Efficiency projects, such as the reduction of water use in dust suppression, are being implemented.

Kumba’s integrated approach to managing social and climate change risks, recognises the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration.

“To successfully deliver on our purpose to re-imagine mining to improve people's lives, we need to change the way we mine. We need to earn our social licence to innovate,” Mkhwanazi commented.

“Our Future Smart Mining approach, which includes our sustainable mining plan, is focused on technology, digitalisation and sustainability to ensure safer, more efficient and precise mining with an optimised footprint.”

Kumba is continually improving its business model, using new technology and strategies that create a “safer, greener and sustainably profitable” business. “This provides more control over our destiny, such that we can meet all our sustainability commitments and create value for all of our stakeholders,” he concluded.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor



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