Our top environmental priority is to minimise the impact of our gold mining operations on the atmosphere, water and soil.
Nordgold is committed to responsible stewardship of all aspects of the natural environment of the areas in which we operate. Continuous improvement in this field is a key part of our Business System. We believe that excellent environmental standards and operational efficiency go hand in hand.
We integrate environmental concerns into everyday practices and priorities
Nordgold considers within its project plans and designs the requirement for environmental stewardship at all stages of exploration, development, operations and closure.
The Environmental management system is a key component of the Nordgold Business System
As part of the Nordgold Business System, a company-wide set of improvement projects, we aim to continuously improve all our management systems, including our environmental management system, to define environmental requirements and to achieve all our objectives. We provide our managers and supervisors the authority and resources necessary to implement our environmental management system and associated environmental standards and practices.
We are committed to continuous improvement of our environmental performance
Across Nordgold, we routinely monitor our environmental performance through inspections, review and audit to ensure that environmental risks are identified and addressed to minimise environmental impacts.
We ensure high level of environmental awareness
We regularly communicate this policy to employees and contractors and conduct trainings on our Environmental management system to encourage a culture of environmentally responsible behavior. We hold leadership accountable for achieving outstanding environmental performance and reward and recognise behavior that supports environmental stewardship. We work with governmental leaders, communities, environmental groups, and other concerned parties to develop a mutual understanding of environmental issues.
Compliance with all environmental regulations
Nordgold complies with all applicable environmental laws and regulations and adheres to best in class industry standards.
No work shall be undertaken if the environment is compromised
Responsible stewardship of the natural resources in our areas of operations is of the highest importance to Nordgold.
The Key Areas
We implement a variety of initiatives to protect the environment in each of the countries where we operate. These initiatives address the following topics:
Improving energy efficiency
Land management and biodiversity
Reducing co2 emissions
Managing dangerous substances
Our Environmental Performance
Our environmental target is to have zero major environmental incidents. We look to continuously improve our processes and equipment, leading to improved environmental performances and risk management.
Water is both one of the main resources for our industry and an important consideration in environmental protection, vital for the Group operations and used in ore processing, dust suppression, and drilling rock. Water use is closely monitored at all operations and conservation opportunities are actively pursued including the use of a circulation method for water processing at industrial operations. Water availability is thoroughly reviewed for all new projects in terms of both access and environmental protection. We use a circulation water system at all our mines for processing water, and we do not discharge processing water into natural water bodies. Instead, we recycle water from our gold processing plants. Clean, fresh water is used only to compensate the evaporated water, also we intake water for dust suppression and for domestic use.
Nordgold has implemented systems for measuring and controlling emissions in accordance with national regulation requirements. Our ore-processing installations are supplied with air cleaning equipment, including aspiration systems and battery cyclones. For dust suppression Nordgold uses watering of mine roads and sprinkling at crashers. Particularly high levels of dusting occurs at the African mines during dry season. They are close to the Sahara. A dust suppression procedures increase water intake. It is a challenge the Group faces every year and puts significant efforts into tackling.
We strive to minimise our environmental impact on biodiversity. Biodiversity survey is included into Environmental impact studies at early stages of project development. Biological resources are closely monitored at all operations and, in 2015, the Aprelkovo and Buryatzoloto mines carried out an evaluation of damage to aquatic bio-resourses. Each year we initiate the replanting of thousands of trees, shrubs and other vegetation in African operating areas to help the land. For instance 12 000 trees were planted for reforestation campaign at Bissa mine in 2014. In 2015 the Bissa mine planted 15,000 trees and the Lefa mine prepared a trench for fish migrations and initiated a programme for growing fruit trees. In 2016 it plans to make firebreak around rehabilited areas to prevent bushfires. Also in 2016, the Taparko mine will support a plant nursery and land rehabilitation initiative, exchanging its experience of landscaping with other Nordgold mines, and testing approaches to rehabilitation in dry climate.
The mining industry is a major energy user and being a gold mining company we are constantly focusing on both energy efficiency measures and cost-effective ways of power generating.
Dangerous substances management. Nordgold operations demand the use of flammable and explosive substances, oxidizing and corrosive substances, poisons. In cyanide managing the Company strives to align its activities with requirements of Cyanide Management Code. For dangerous emission from Nordgold’s CIS mines we use CIS and national regulation which were developed to implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. We use several methods to manage dangerous substances and to clean emissions.
Due to the nature of production processes at gold-mining enterprises, the waste management constitutes to be one of the main areas for environmental protection. In 2015 in order to follow latest changes in Russian environmental regulation, the Company is working on aligning its waste operations with the updated regulatory requirements. Waste is disposed of at specially constructed waste disposal sites. All rock materials are potential waste. Partly it is reused for internal aims; the rest is disposed of at waste dams. Gold-containing rocks (ore and off-grade ore) are treated for gold extraction or stored for future use. Treated ore is destined for disposal in tailing storage facilities (TSF) or at waste dams in case of Heap Leach process. Nordgold pays special attention to tailings management and conducts regular monitoring. In 2015 at the Berezitovy mine, new observation wells near heap leach and tailing storage facilities were installed, as well as at TSF at Buryatzoloto mines.