Mining operations have an environmental responsibility towards communities
As the world seeks to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change and to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius 2 ° C by 2100, collective responsibility and action governments, businesses and communities are key to achieving this goal.
Days like “Zero Emissions Day” allow us to raise awareness and address the issues of climate change among our stakeholders and society.
Zero Emissions Day challenges us to make process changes that will help minimize our carbon footprint and, in the long run, make the world a better place and save life on our planet.
In response to these climate change challenges, Exxaro has repositioned itself as a diverse organization with renewable energy solutions and mineral resource capabilities, essential and relevant in a low carbon world.
Our strategy of sustainable growth and impact is proof that our environmental stewardship is intentional. This vision encouraged our investment of R 1.5 billion to develop two wind farms in the Eastern Cape, which provided 239 megawatts (MW) of reliable and clean electricity to the national grid for the 12/31/20 fiscal year.
We expect the revenue contribution from our renewable energy business to increase over time as we increase our investment.
The impact of the strategy focuses on the “just transition principle” which seeks to balance the financial performance of companies with South African economic needs, the protection of ecosystems and the adaptive capacity of society in the face of climate change. .
“We remain true to our goal of improving lives in Africa and beyond and differentiate our strategy through our commitment to building business and community resilience through lasting impact. The impact is in our DNA!
We have received several ESG awards, the latest being the award for the best sustainability report under the 2021 environmental, social and governance investment report awards, as well as the VigeoEIRIS list of the Top 100 of the best emerging markets for the fifth time.
The key to this lasting impact is how we empower our communities to move to a low carbon world with us. This can be seen in our inactive sites where we have implemented remediation activities. We have also developed a mineral succession program for each site – in collaboration with the communities in the region. The program sees Exxaro as a catalyst for community development and environmental stewardship.
Guided by the adage: ‘charity begins at home’, the rehabilitated land of Exxaro is leased to communities for agricultural production – with coordinated assistance on soil management, water management and general skills of land ownership.
In partnership with other mining operations, regulators and communities, we regularly collaborate to address these critical issues and environmental impacts. This is where conferences like the Coal Safe Day are useful to enable social dialogues and collaborations that aim for the zero emission goal.
Biodiversity loss has also been identified as a significant risk in the context of climate change. With this in mind, we have implemented several projects to ensure that our mines coexist in harmony with the environment and communities.
These projects, which are carried out in collaboration with community cooperatives, include alien invader eradication projects, wetland rehabilitation projects and biodiversity resettlement programs.
We work with local municipalities on water security and waste management projects. In Lephalale, we donated land to the municipality to start a landfill – which could be targeted to become a power generation facility in the near future. Our involvement in the Mokolo Crocodile River Water Increase Program ensures water safety throughout the Lephalale region.
Over the past decade, we have actively worked with research institutions by sponsoring three academic chairs at the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa – to support research on the environmental and climatic issues facing our business and our society.
We are proud to also support municipalities through a municipal capacity building program (MCBP). University Chairs provide support, such as training on climate change, energy / water / land management and the opportunity to provide access to postgraduate research to previously disadvantaged students in these fields . We do this not because we seek accolades, but because we fundamentally believe that building a sustainable society requires active business participation and a commitment to create real impact.
In conclusion, while climate change is generally viewed as a risk for coal, it also presents opportunities for mining operations to build a resilient, cohesive and compelling story of growth and impact. These types of sustainable investments are an example of the type of impact that large companies can have by providing clean, reliable energy in support of a low-carbon world.