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Preserving our environment for a better tomorrow


Appreciating the natural environment

We recognise the value and scarcity of our country’s natural resources, especially energy and water. In practice this means that we minimise and optimise their use, while at the same time seeking fair and secure access to them in a sustainable way. We are mindful of the impact of our operations on our natural environment and on our neighbours, and what we leave behind when our operations close. We reduce our environmental footprint through research, planning and responsible environmental management at every stage of our operational life cycle, from exploration to beyond closure.

For us, compliance with environmental legislation is fundamental to our approach of implementing best practice. We do this to ensure a sustainable mining environment that focuses on continuous improvement and prevention of pollution. Certified environmental management systems that are compliant with the ISO14001:2004 standard are entrenched at all our managed operations. In line with this standard, we have systems in place to report, review and remediate environmental incidents according to well-established procedures.

Energy usage

Mining and processing are energy-intensive, and energy alone makes up around 10% of our operating costs. Climate change and energy management are closely related – more than 90% of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are indirect. This is because we buy this energy from our national utility, Eskom, which produces energy largely from coal-fired power stations. Optimising the use of our second most important source of energy, diesel, is also a priority.

We aim to reduce energy usage where we can, as well as optimising the energy we use per ounce of product produced. Most of the energy we purchase is used in our metallurgical and refining operations, and there is very little opportunity to reduce usage without a significant change in production levels. Especially in our underground mining operations, more energy is needed to produce each ounce of product as mines get deeper and older. So, we are likely to face naturally increasing energy intensity, particularly if production decreases.

For more information go to our Sustainable Development Report.

Climate change

Our climate change strategy is aligned with the Group strategy. Our aim is to attain the maximum economically sustainable energy and carbon savings, both in our business and in the use of our products.

Our efforts to reduce our carbon emissions are not only important in a global environmental context, but they will also reduce our exposure to emerging carbon policies (such as carbon tax) and increases in energy costs, and create opportunities in the markets for our products. Some of the opportunities we have identified include sourcing biomass and solar energy.

We have continued to participate in CDP’s annual carbon disclosure and performance survey of companies on the JSE.


Almost all our operations are located in water-stressed or water-scarce areas. These same regions are plagued by poorly developed water-related infrastructure, as well as competition between industry and communities for the same water resources. We recognise that should we have a negative impact on the water resources where we operate, this could result in material impacts on the environment, downstream ecosystems and peoples’ food security and, consequently, on our social license to operate. If our access to water were to be compromised, this would have a material impact on our business.

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Our approach to water management is one of responsible stewardship – maximising the use of water resources and avoiding long-term net harm. A key feature of our water strategy is moving towards zero potable water use in our process operations (excluding domestic-use demand). Our 10-year water management strategy (to 2020) is to ensure our operations are water-resilient; that we invest in water-treatment and other relevant technology innovation; build water-related infrastructure for the mutual benefit of the Company and our communities; and that we pro-actively partner with key stakeholders, in public-private partnerships.

Read more in our Sustainable Development Report.



Air quality and air emissions are integral to our environmental management activities and permitting processes, and are governed by national and local legislation as well as by national and international conventions. In addition to GHGs, we monitor and manage the emission of SO2 and particulates (largely from our smelters), as well as dust (mainly from our tailings dams). We have three real-time ambient monitoring networks in Rustenburg, Polokwane and near the town of Northam.

For more information go to our Sustainable Development Report.

Responsible land management and closure

We own and manage large tracts of land in South Africa, of which only around 20% is actually used for mining and related activities. We have biodiversity action plans in place at all of our operations, as well as preliminary closure plans. Detailed closure plans are developed within five to 10 years of operational closure.

As is required by legislation, each operation estimates its closure liability on an annual basis, and financial provisions are annually made, reviewed and audited. For us, rehabilitation and land stewardship can provide opportunities for community development and engagement that will support our social license to operate and ensure long term sustainability at our operations.

Real Mining. Real People. Real Difference.