Business award Winner: Anglo Platinum Mogalakwena Mine
Managing sustainable development at large corporations such as Anglo American Platinum requires the creation of internal systems to navigate often confusing and contradictory green theories.
The mining giant implemented a web-based framework for understanding sustainable development and integrating it into operations at its Mogalakwena mine, situated 30km northwest of Mokopane in Limpopo. The web system drives, monitors and co-ordinates the mine’s sustainable development commitments.
Integration has been a “difficult challenge for our operations,” said Frank Pieterse, the company’s safety, health and environment manager.
“Mine management and staff are not sustainable-development experts and are fully occupied with their day jobs. The vast amount of sustainable development literature has confusing and contradictory approaches.
“We also have a variety of isolated site-related initiatives that confuses the sustainable development outcome.”
Accessible to everyone
Key environmental and social concerns tracked by the web-based management system at Mogalakwena mine include air emissions, land stewardship, water security and socioeconomic development.
The system is accessible to everyone at the mine as well as to external registered users. It also has a guide that informs staff about the meaning of sustainable development in the mining context.
The database contains the relevant international and national mining sector and company-specific information, standards and commitments that make up the sustainable development framework.
The water management programme focuses not only on operations at the mine, but also on the surrounding community and environment.
“We recycle water at the mine and address water needs within the community and local municipality. We have several water schemes and social responsibility projects that address this,” said Pieterse.
Targets have also been set for significant internal energy and carbon reduction programmes. Targets and assigned tasks are tracked on an action manager, with registered users accessing a simple dashboard to add, edit and delete tasks quickly and easily.
“We have bridged the gap between sustainable development theory and policy at a macro level and operational performance on the ground,” Pieterse said. “We are well on the way to changing the manner in which we do business and make daily decisions.”
The Greening judges were impressed by the web-based programme and its adaptation to operations on the ground.
They praised the mine management’s support for the programme and noted that it could be usefully replicated in other mining operations.
“Serious thought has gone into social concerns and environmental sustainability within the realm of business reality. The involvement of external interest groups is unusual and commendable,” the judges said.