Environmental management

We recognise that excellence in managing environmental responsibilities is essential to long-term success.

We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and actively manage known environmental risks. In prioritising our issues we take a risk-based approach and put in place response plans. Our environmental performance standards set the internal benchmark for how we aim to operate.


Environmental management and compliance

The MMG operating model defines the management system for our sites. This management system is based on the principles of plan, do, check, act and aligns to the principles of ISO14001. The system includes SHEC defined standards that have been prepared to manage material risks and to manage legal and other obligations, such as the 10 ICMM Principles. The SHEC standards will form part of an integrated assurance program to proactively implement critical controls and promote a culture of continuous improvement across our sites.


Water management

Water is used across every part of the mining lifecycle. Effective water management is critical. Our priorities are to ensure water supply (particularly in dry climates) and mitigate any potential water impacts upon local communities and ecosystems.

Each operation and project faces different water challenges. We work closely with our local communities and other stakeholders to manage these, and conduct an annual process to identify the issues and develop solutions.
Managing the different challenges of extremely dry and wet climates is critical for MMG. We acknowledge the importance of water access management across the mining sector, and as we acquire or develop operations in different countries, we expect this challenge to increase.

Heavy metals, and other contaminant levels in water associated with mining facilities, are monitored and managed through water treatment controls and retention strategies to ensure all discharged water complies with water quality guidelines. Some of our operations have had to work through challenges related to excess water held at their active tailings facilities. A more disciplined approach to life-of-asset planning, and improving our understanding of site water balances, will enable us to address these challenges.

Water sampling at Golden Grove


Mineral waste

During our mining and processing operations we generate mineral waste (such as tailings and waste rock) and non-mineral wastes (such as oils and general refuse) that require effective management. Understanding the characteristics of the waste streams, and planning and managing accordingly, assists in mitigating any potential long-term environmental impacts.

Mineral waste facilities contribute towards MMG’s current disturbance area, with some facilities remaining as long-term landforms after closure. Some, such as tailings storage, are chemically reactive, resulting in acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) and requiring appropriate management.

A key requirement for all new projects is to identify waste streams and complete associated physical and geochemical characterisation to inform the designs of the storage facilities. This allows MMG to provide long-term safe storage and disposal of waste to protect human health, safety and the environment.

Effectively managing mineral waste is important both during operations and to reduce risks beyond the life of asset. We are striving to integrate mineral waste management within life-of-asset planning to manage our waste facilities, consistent with established final landform designs. This will promote beneficial post-mining land uses and reduce post-mining rehabilitation and closure liability.

Monitoring performance of waste rock dump cap


Land and biodiversity management

Mining activity can impact the habitats of native flora and fauna. MMG aims to avoid or minimise these impacts. Where they are unavoidable, balance the impacts with rehabilitation measures and biodiversity offset projects.
A key focus at all our sites is identifying, monitoring and preserving species, protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value, hand-in-hand with offset programs.

tree plantation at Sepon

Progressive rehabilitation at Sepon

The land area managed by MMG fluctuates regularly. At the end of 2012, the total land area managed globally was approximately 3,831,514 hectares. Some of this land is adjacent to areas of high biodiversity value and high-use value for local communities. Effective and sensitive management of this land and our impacts on surrounding ecosystems are a high priority for us.


Energy, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change

Throughout our operations, offices and transportation, the efficient use of energy is important in minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

Current programs include the preparation of energy management plans for all our Australian mining operations, and meeting our Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) and National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) commitments. The Climate Change Study that commenced in 2010 reported its opportunity findings in late 2012.

In 2012 our energy efficiency decreased and emissions intensity increased. This is mainly due to increased energy use per tonne of ore milled, as our underground mines get deeper and varying ore body characteristics require different levels of processing.


Closure planning

Mine closure planning includes landform design and rehabilitation alongside community partnerships, for environmentally, economically and socially sustainable land use and local community activities post operations.
Identifying key closure risks and associated mitigation measures are a key requirement for closure planning. Our challenge is to ensure that closure is addressed as early as possible within any new projects to inform key decision-making.

We are committed to minimising and mitigating the legacy impacts of our operations on the environment and related communities. We adopt a life-of asset (LOA) approach that includes technical assessment, forecasting and planning and stakeholder consultation to identify impacts and to guide appropriate risk management or mitigation. Much of this occurs in our long-range closure planning and consultation process.

Find out more about Century mine closure planning.


Plants are grown at Sepon as part of the rehabilitation process.
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