Africa|Business|Energy|Environment|Generators|Mining|Projects|Resources|Sustainable|System|Waste|Waste Management|Water|Solutions|Environmental|Infrastructure|Waste
Africa|Business|Energy|Environment|Generators|Mining|Projects|Resources|Sustainable|System|Waste|Waste Management|Water|Solutions|Environmental|Infrastructure|Waste

Reusing waste helps mines reach ESG targets

26th August 2022


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The South African mining industry has an estimated value of R20.3-trillion; the role the sector plays in the country’s economy is enormous. However, so is the waste (tailings) produced by the sector, says waste management company Interwaste.

The company notes that, when considering the waste regulatory framework and the various strategies and commitments South Africa has made to divert waste from landfill disposal, sustainable methodologies to better manage waste are needed.

Waste management forms a critical role in providing solutions that address both traditional business models and recycling parties. “A ‘circular economy’ model offers significant opportunities to deliver on more inclusive economic growth, which includes job opportunities and positive environmental practices that are desperately needed for sustainability in the sector.”

Reducing all unnecessary waste materials, reducing the consumption of energy and raw materials and in instances, where there is excess, companies and mines must allow for these materials, energy and resources to be ‘fed’ back into the cycle.

Therefore, implementing a reuse, repurpose and recycle strategy on waste in various ways for use in other areas of industry and the economy reduces the reliance on landfills and in turn readjusts waste into a positive economic contributor.

This creates not just an opportunity for further cost savings or revenue generators, but also protects the environment. Where industry today is very much focused on the concept of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), such thinking also places itself firmly in the driving seat for a solid part in the larger ESG strategy and can make a massive difference to the impending and current targets in this space, Interwaste suggests.

As an example, projects such as waste-to-energy solutions where waste is converted into an alternative energy to negate reliance on fossil fuels, or wastewater management to reduce the burden on this scarce resource and improve quality water accessibility, present not only an environmental solution but, in many cases, an economic one aligned to government priorities and ESG targets.

“If a zero-waste sustainable country is to be achieved, then waste needs to be designed out of the system from the outset and any remaining waste needs to be managed effectively, proactively and through supporting infrastructure to ensure it is useful to drive the new normal in waste management.”

The company states that producers must consider the environmental impact and their social responsibility to the communities in which they operate as well as the legislative requirements of effective waste management.

As ESG becomes a much larger focus for businesses across the country, the environmental aspect will become an even larger business critical objective and having the right waste partner, one that is able to innovate and define strategies around effective waste management and environmental protection is key.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor



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