Law firm Hogan Lovells’ latest 'Future of Mining' report finds that two-thirds of mining companies have developed community impact programmes as part of their sustainability policies.
These programmes are typically focused on jobs, transport and clean water.
Mining companies have equally been prioritising waste management, followed by 57% of respondents focusing on employee wellbeing, in terms of health and safety in the workplace, and 55% prioritising local education and skills training.
On the energy front, Hogan Lovells says mining companies have been slow to transition to renewables, with only 28% of respondents having set targets for using renewable energy.
The law firm says it is likely owing to the impact on local communities being prioritised over renewable energy in Africa, as the continent remains underdeveloped.
It is also through improving the communities where mining companies operate that they obtain mining permits more easily.
Mining companies do, however, recognise the importance of greener energy to achieve greater sustainability in the African mining industry.
Responding to mining companies’ top three sustainability areas for intensified focus, respondents cited increased renewably energy use, followed by net carbon reduction and greater adherence to voluntary environmental, social and governance standards.
Hogan Lovells partner Laurie Hammond says sustainability is integral to good business.
“However, there is no single definition or one-size-fits-all approach. It really depends on each company, and the variations can be huge depending on what they do and where they are. Hogan Lovells is ideally placed to help clients find the solution that is the best fit for their business.”