Our
Business

Environmental management

RBPlat supports the ten principles of the United Nation’s Global Compact. This means we:

  • Support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  • Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  • Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

  OUR APPROACH TO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

The environmental activities and areas of focus throughout our mining lifecycle

PROJECT PLANNING   PROJECT CONSTRUCTION   OPERATION   CLOSURE   POST CLOSURE
  • Feasibility studies and environmental assessment (EIA), and social impact assessments (SIA)
 
  • Management of environmental impacts: air quality, water quality and quantity waste management, biodiversity management and hazardous substance management
 
  • Management of environmental impacts: air quality, water quality and quantity management, waste management, biodiversity management, hazardous substance management and concurrent rehabilitation
 
  • Rehabilitation and land reclamation
 
  • Ongoing environmental monitoring

Our approach to environmental management is based on international best practice, legal compliance and maintaining our environmental and social licence to operate. Key aspects of our environmental management include:

 Governance

Management accountability is central to our integrated approach. Our Board of directors and our Chief Executive Officer, assisted by the Board’s Social and Ethics Committee, are accountable for RBPlat’s environmental management and our impact on climate change. The Social and Ethics Committee, which is supported by our Sustainability Committee, also provides overall direction on our sustainability.

The Senior Safety, Health, Environment and Risk (SHER) Manager reports on environmental matters at the Social and Ethics Committee. The Head: Corporate Sustainability reports to the Sustainability Committee and Social and Ethics Committee on corporate sustainability matters.

The RBPlat Environmental Manager, who reports to the Senior SHER Manager, is responsible for environmental management at both BRPM and Styldrift I.

 Compliance and control

Our environmental team is responsible for ensuring that RBPlat’s environmental policies and procedures are aligned with all legal and regulatory requirements. The team is also responsible for compliance with and auditing of the implementation of environmental policies, standards and procedures in our operations.

External independent environment audits are also conducted regularly to ensure compliance with the environmental procedures, standards, policies, environmental management programme reports (EMPR) commitments, permit conditions and legal and other requirements to which we subscribe. Line management is accountable for the effective implementation of the environmental management system.

We review our environmental risks and opportunities annually and when the need arises. Management plans are in place for all our significant environmental risks/impacts.

We measure and monitor our water usage (potable and industrial water, including our recycled water), energy consumption, surface and ground water quality, dust fall out and particulate matter (pm10) levels, ambient dust and noise levels, as well as ground vibration. We submit our monitoring results to the relevant authorities as per our permit condition requirements.

 Strategy

Our Group-wide environmental strategy was revised in 2015. This strategy is an integral part of the safety, health and environmental (SHE) management system we use to manage our environment risks, aspects and impacts.

 Management systems

BRPM is ISO 14001 certified and has maintained this certification since 2002. At BRPM our ISO 14001 EMS is audited for re-certification every year by independent external parties as part of our business strategy. Once stoping production begins at Styldrift I we will apply for ISO 14001 certification for the mine. We are currently developing the environmental management system for Styldrift I.

Our approach to climate change

Climate change remains an important longer-term risk for our business. RBPlat has used the information gained from a climate change vulnerability risk assessment of our operation conducted by KPMG in its risk management model to ensure we reduce our exposure to these risks.

Climate change risks are complex as they include operational risks such as business continuity, employee health and safety, environmental aspects, regulatory aspects, community needs and their perceptions of the impact of the mining industry on their environment.

The highest risks to our operations were identified as flooding and extreme storms which could cause business interruptions.

Our operations are located in an arid water-scarce area where prolonged drought conditions could limit production growth or prevent us from operating. A reduction in the availability of potable water from Magalies Water could also interrupt our business, have health impacts and create tension between RBPlat and the communities in which we operate.

See more information under Sustainability.

Environmental aspects and impacts

RBPlat identifies and mitigates the negative environmental impacts of its activities by conducting an annual impact assessment with objectives and targets set and implemented to address significant environmental impacts.

Understanding our carbon foot print

We assess our carbon emissions every year and use the results of these assessments to help us improve our carbon intensity. Not only is it socially responsible to make every effort to reduce our carbon intensity but it also makes good business sense as reducing our carbon intensity will mean improving our efficiency in terms of the amount of fuel and electricity we use to produce a tonne of concentrate.

We continually identify and implement number of energy saving initiatives throughout our organisation.

Water management

Our operations are in a water-scarce region where the increasing demand for fresh water has led to a shortage of water in some parts of the North West province. Our management of water resources includes:

  • reducing our potable water consumption by improving water use efficiencies and water recycling
  • preventing the contamination of ground and surface water resources
  • securing the availability of sufficient water for our current and future mining operations
  • no water sources, except Magalies Water, are significantly affected by withdrawal of water for RBPlat’s operations

RBPlat has secured an adequate water allocation for its current and future mining requirements at BRPM and Styldrift I.

Closure & Rehabilitation

Closure liability assessments are conducted annually for both BRPM and Styldrift I by an external party. Financial provisioning is made for the environmental rehabilitation.

An environmental trust fund document is compiled and submitted to the DMR on annual basis, in accordance with the DMR requirements. BRPM has an interim closure plan in place.

 Product responsibility

RBPlat’s mining lifecycle includes exploration, project development, mine construction, operation and concentrate production. Our final product is a concentrate which is sold to a single customer, Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited (RPM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum, through a concentrate offtake agreement. The concentrate must meet certain specifications in terms of the offtake agreement in relation to the PGM moisture and chrome content for each tonne of concentrate. These product specifications are assessed through specific and proven procedures agreed to by RBPlat and RPM.

 Our metals

The platinum group metals (PGMs) – platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium and iridium – occur together in nature alongside gold, nickel, copper, cobalt and chrome. Many of the unique properties of PGMs make them indispensable to modern technology and industry and their markets are many and varied, from the automotive industry to the medical field. The markets for our products are the same as those for all platinum producers.

 Product uses

As a vital component in autocatalytic converters, PGMs play a significant role in reducing air pollution by limiting the discharge of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and particulates. Approximately 56% of global PGM production is used in autocatalytic converters.

As part of its intention of being in the forefront of the hydrogen economy the South African government, through Hydrogen South Africa (HySA), wishes to explore the possible uses of stationary fuel cells to produce electricity. As fuel cells make use of PGMs the South African platinum industry is also interested in this possibility. Not only could this initiative reduce carbon emissions and provide a viable alternative source of electricity, but the manufacture of fuel cells in South Africa also has the potential for job and venture creation.

 Product stewardship

We systematically address the safety, health and environmental issues relating to our products at all stages of the product lifecycle. The refiners and marketers of our PGMs have specific measures in place to protect the health and safety of those using or delivering our products. Procedures for assessing product health and safety are addressed during conceptual development, research and development, product certification, manufacturing and production, marketing and promotion, storage, distribution and supply, use and disposal, or recycling. Mineral safety development sheets are provided with all mining products and directed at industrial users.

Our products are not delivered directly to customers. We are committed to minimising the dispersion of metals back into the biosphere and reducing the environmental and health risks associated with this.

We aim to ensure the health, safety and environmental risks associated with the use, recovery, recycling and disposal of our products are properly understood by customers and mitigated. Since our metals are sold into a global marketplace, we believe that meeting our product stewardship commitment is best done in collaboration with key stakeholders. Much of our engagement on product stewardship is done via our membership of the International Platinum Group Metals Association (IPA). The refiners and marketers of our PGMs recognise the responsibility they have as suppliers of PGMs to build value chains that minimise the negative and enhance the positive impacts of PGMs over their lifecycles.

The metals produced from our concentrate are sold into the global marketplace by Anglo American Platinum, which meets its product stewardship commitments in collaboration with key stakeholders including government, industry associations, the scientific community and civil society organisations. There have been no incidents of non-compliance with regulations and voluntary codes concerning our products and we have not received any fines for non-compliance with laws and regulations concerning the provision and use of our products and services.