Many of AngloGold Ashanti’s operations are located in remote areas where there are few formal employment opportunities. In some cases our operations are also located in areas where mining is the major source of revenue and where governments do not supply basic infrastructure and services to communities neighbouring our operations.
Our management approach in these areas in particular reflects the fact that there is frequently significant overlap between the issues of environment, community and human rights.
In our approach to the environment, community and human rights, we focus on four key themes:
In this section, we link these themes to provide an integrated account of our management approach to issues relating to the environment, neighbouring communities and human rights. Since 2008, we have combined the environment and community disciplines into an integrated unit and, increasingly, we are developing co-ordinated responses at an operational level.
The leadership of the community and environment discipline is the responsibility of the executive vice president: business sustainability, supported by the corporate environment and community team.
The following vision for the company’s work in the area of community and environment has been developed:
In seeking to deliver sustainable outcomes, we recognise our responsibility to manage our impacts on the environment and to build our community, institutional and political relationships to deliver mutually beneficial value creation. Furthermore, we have set a major goal for the business of reducing reportable environment and community incidents by 60% within five years (from a 2008 base), and a long-term goal of eliminating reportable environment and community incidents completely.
AngloGold Ashanti’s management approach to community and environment issues is described in a framework which sets the company’s business expectations for the discipline and is applicable to all operations, within the context of our broader business framework. This framework will continue to evolve over time. It is structured around the three key elements of leadership, people systems and technical systems.
During 2009 and after an extensive internal consultation process involving site, regional and corporate experts, an AngloGold Ashanti integrated community and environment policy was approved by the executive committee. The policy sets out the company’s commitments to our business and social partners. It states that the company will:
This policy is available to the public on the company’s website and at the company’s operations in order to ensure that the social and business partners of the company are aware of our commitments in this area. It also sets the terms of reference for site-based ISO14001 environmental management systems (EMS).
In 2009 standards relating to air quality, chemicals, closure and rehabilitation, land use, waste, water and incident classification were approved by the executive committee and provide clarity on commitments made in the values and the community and environment policy. Management standards are presented for executive approval after extensive consultative processes both within and outside of the community and environment disciplines, and in certain cases with external parties. The standards are being incorporated by sites into operational-level environmental management systems. Guidance and other documents in support of the standards will be developed as needed. Internal compliance with the standards is expected within two years of approval and sites are given three years from approval in which to incorporate standards into their ISO14001 certification audits.
A roll out programme, which includes a gap assessment, was carried out at the operations during 2009 and will be continued in 2010, to assist operations in interpreting requirements contained in the standards and, where necessary, to provide assistance in the development of action plans that can be taken forward in each site’s environmental management system.
An internal consultation process is still under way on further standards in the areas of artisanal mining, biodiversity, cultural heritage and sacred sites, grievances and complaints, Indigenous Peoples, land access and acquisition, socio-economic development and engagement.
Previously, the group defined a major environmental incident as an incident which could affect the company’s reputation or which would result in a cost to the company exceeding $100,000, including fines, compensation, clean-up, loss of production, and anticipated litigation costs. Such incidents were reported to the corporate office and the board subcommittee for safety, health and sustainable development and in the annual Sustainability Review. In 2009 a revised environment and community incident classification system was adopted with the objectives of:
In the absence of an internationally accepted system, we took the approach of benchmarking the systems of industry peers and consulted broadly with internal specialists in developing our new criteria. Under the new system, incidents are classified into five categories, each of which specifies criteria for determining the severity of the incident. All incidents are recorded at site level and reported locally as appropriate. Incidents falling into the high, major and extreme categories are reported to the relevant board committee and in this report.
For comparison purposes, incident statistics are reported below using the old and new criteria. Only the new criteria will be used in future. The new criteria are available on our website.
The number of reportable incidents has decreased significantly due to the new system of incident notification and reporting. The major difference (accounting for 74% of all incidents under the old criteria) between the incidents reported under the old and new criteria concerns gas emissions, especially those at the East Gold Acid Float plant at Vaal River in South Africa. Emissions exceeding a sulphur dioxide (SO2) guideline threshold were reported to be in line with the old criteria in view of their potential to harm the company’s reputation. The threshold, however, is below regulatory limits and safety levels for ambient air quality, and notification to the regulator was done as a courtesy. Under the new system, such an incident would be classified as minor or moderate, unless the emission also breached the ambient air quality regulatory threshold. The graph below shows environmental incidents during 2009 by category.
¹ In the process of reconciling historical data relating to environmental incidents, it was found that a number of minor incidents (classified as reportable under the old criteria) were unreported. This has now been corrected and a restatement made in respect of 2007 and 2008 data as defined under the old criteria, from 33 to 48 for 2007 and 104 to 160 for 2008.
Human rights is a cross-cutting issue; respect for human rights and the dignity of others is a key principle in many of the policies and practices that are integral to the group’s sustainability efforts, including safety, health and wellness, ethics and governance and community and environmental management.
AngloGold Ashanti supports both the UN Global Compact and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. We are committed to upholding the basic labour rights captured in the Fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Specifically, we seek to ensure the implementation of fair employment practices by prohibiting forced, compulsory and child labour and implementing these practices through country, operation and shaft-level recognition and collective bargaining agreements, and through disciplinary, grievance and non-discrimination agreements and codes.
In order to safeguard the company’s assets and ensure the safety of our employees, contractors and host communities, best practice needs to be applied to the management of security arrangements. AngloGold Ashanti uses both its own security employees as well as outsourced security service providers (private and public) in order to ensure that the required security arrangements are in place. Our global security framework consists of nine key processes: Voluntary Principles, policy standards and compliance, risk management, crisis management, asset protection, resource management, technology management, corporate security, and training and education. Implementation started early in 2009 and good progress has been made to date. Our aim is to ensure full implementation by early 2011.
Human rights principles are applied to security management through the framework provided by the Voluntary Principles. Implementation and roll out of the Voluntary Principles was a key area of focus for the group during 2009. Procedures, standards and practices are being reviewed and refined to ensure full compliance. Specific areas being addressed are the rules of engagement, the use of force, the application of less lethal force, transparency in security agreements and contracts. Self-audits were conducted in 2009 and formal internal and external audits are planned for 2010, with the aim of establishing full compliance by the end of 2010 and a transparent quality control mechanism.
In 2009, 86% of security personnel, including third-party security contractors, were trained in the company’s human rights policies and procedures. During 2009, the new security framework was presented to the security managers at all operations. A new Voluntary Principles checklist was developed for use in internal audits. Policies and practices for the security discipline were rolled out and training was undertaken among security personnel in respect of the Voluntary Principles.
The social and economic context in which AngloGold Ashanti operates in some regions of the world requires an approach to security management which not only ensures that the company’s assets and employees are protected but also that the surrounding communities are not put at risk from any safety hazards which may arise from our operations. The company is subject to significant security threats, be it from illegal mining activity or from other criminal activity such as theft, but has focused on implementation of the Voluntary Principles in order to ensure that the security measures taken by the company do not infringe the fundamental rights and freedoms of any individual.
All incidents and allegations are recorded, investigated and reviewed. Remedial action is taken to address all substantive allegations and incidents. In 2009, there were four allegations of potential violations which were investigated and which all proved to be non-violations by the company. One incident was reported which was concluded to be a violation by a joint venture partner, and which was appropriately resolved.
Actions to ensure that security incidents are avoided include:
During 2010, the application of the Voluntary Principles in the company will be further embedded. AngloGold Ashanti aims to ensure that all potential violations of the principles are reported and investigated and that no violations of the Voluntary Principles occur. In addition, a template and guidance on contracts for government-provided security will be compiled in order to standardise these contracts across the company.
AngloGold Ashanti’s annual report on the Voluntary Principles is available on our website. The following tables, taken from this report, show injuries or fatalities to third parties involved in illegal activities at our operations in 2009 (that is incidents beyond our control) and details of major security interventions, where these resulted in the death or injury of either community members or AngloGold Ashanti personnel. Our Voluntary Principles report gives details of all of these incidents.
* Fall of ground ** Fatal fall *** Vehicle accident
|Community members||AngloGold Ashanti security personnel||Community members||AngloGold Ashanti security personnel|
* Incidents involving discharge of firearms
The following section gives details of the company’s performance in terms of the material issues identified for reporting purposes.
In a resource-scarce environment, a key focus of our business is the effective custodianship, management and use of resources, particularly energy, land and water. Ensuring the effective use of these resources is important to us from an ethical as well as a cost standpoint, and it is a key consideration for the governments and communities which host our operations.
In this section we also cover the use of cyanide, not because this is a scarce resource, but because of its toxicity and the need to ensure that it is used without harmful impact on the environment, or on the health and wellbeing of the communities in which we operate or through which we transport this essential raw material.
The world’s climate is changing and governments are responding to the issue of climate change with increasing focus. AngloGold Ashanti needs to act on the opportunities available and to address the risks posed by climate change. As 95% of the company’s GHG emissions result from energy consumption, climate change and energy performance are inextricably linked.
Potential impacts and risks associated with climate change and energy are:
A study to assess the business case for addressing climate change, including the physical, regulatory, investor and other risks related to climate change, was completed during 2009. The business case developed as a result is summarised in the table below:
|Reduce GHG emissions by reducing energy consumption|
|Reduce exposure to carbon tax and potential emissions trading schemes|
In 2008 the company committed to a 30% reduction per ounce of gold produced in GHG emissions in the medium to long-term and a 15% reduction per ounce of gold produced in energy consumption in the short to medium-term. The company subscribes to the ICMM position statements on climate change and has signed the Copenhagen Communiqu? on Climate Change. The company’s climate change strategy was approved by the board during 2009.
The following activities are being undertaken to meet these commitments and to address climate change and energy risks:
|Operation||000t of CO2e||Efficiency (CO2e/oz)|
One area of focus on energy performance at our deep underground South African operations has been reducing compressed air consumption. We have utilised a number of different technologies at each of our operations, including off-peak pressure reduction, optimal compressor scheduling and rigorous leak repair strategies. Since 2004, consumption of compressed air in South Africa has reduced by 30%. While gold production has also fallen over this period, compressed air requirements are largely fixed, so the reduction in consumption represents a real improvement.
We continue to seek reductions and expect to reduce compressed air consumption even further over the next five-year period. Projects to take control of compressed air supply down to production level in South Africa have been approved for implementation during 2010. The next phase will be to take the control of water and compressed air to the work face where feasible. Subsequent phases will then target replacing all compressed air processes with alternative energy sources. This is, however, a capital intensive process and some of the relevant technologies are still in the development phase.
|Region||Energy usage (million GJ)|
|Operation||Energy usage (million GJ)||Energy efficiency (GJ/oz)|
¹ This figure was incorrectly report as 2.02 in the 2008 Report to Society
The company closely monitors water usage and manages of water as an increasingly scarce resource. The following risks are recognised in relation to water usage and discharge:
The water management standard, which was approved during 2009, specifies good practice requirements for monitoring and management of surface and groundwater quality water and well as the consumption of water.
Significant activities carried out during 2009 include the installation of additional water treatment technologies (Actiflo™ clarification plants and rotating biological contactors) at Obuasi and the application of pollution control technologies derived from the ongoing phytoremediation project at the South African operations. These include planting native Tamarix species on the side slopes of the Mponeng Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) instead of conventional grassing and use of selected plant species on reprocessed TSF footprints for enhanced pollution management.
|Operation||Water usage ML 2009||Water usage ML 2008||Total water efficiency kl/oz 2009||Total water efficiency kl/oz 2008|
Note: The group total includes 17ML used at the Tropicana project in Australia.
Cyanide is used throughout the gold mining industry as a reagent in the gold recovery process. Its management is a key issue for the company and its stakeholders because of its toxicity and cost. Discharges of water containing even negligible concentrations of cyanide may lead to strong reactions among communities and in the press. Communities in locations where the company is conducting exploration activities or where it wants to open a mine are often eager to know how the company manages cyanide elsewhere. Cyanide management is therefore an important reputational issue from an environmental, safety, health and community perspective. Cyanide usage data is given below.
|Cyanide usage (t)|
In order to address stakeholder concerns relating to the use of cyanide, and in order to ensure that leading practice in the management of cyanide is implemented, the company is committed to ensuring that all operations receive and maintain Cyanide Code certification. The Cyanide Code is a voluntary industry initiative which was developed under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in order to promote the responsible use of cyanide in gold mining, to enhance the protection of human health, and to reduce the potential for environmental impacts from the use of cyanide.
Of AngloGold Ashanti’s operations, 63% are fully certified against the Code. The Queiroz and Serra Grande gold plants and Córrego do Sítio mine in Brazil as well as the Yatela mine in Mali were fully certified to the Code during 2009. During the year Cerro Vanguardia (Argentina), Geita (Tanzania), Iduapriem and Obuasi (Ghana), Navachab (Namibia) and Siguiri (Guinea) were temporarily withdrawn from the Code pending infrastructure modifications which are required to meet Code requirements. Navachab and Siguiri mines have since reapplied for certification under the Code. The remaining operations will once again become signatories to the Cyanide Code as soon as these requirements have been met. More information is available on the Cyanide Code website www.cyanidecode.org.
In addition the above resource management issues, AngloGold Ashanti closely manages impacts on air quality. Dust has the potential to cause irritation to workers and neighbouring communities, particularly at operations that experience very dry and windy seasons, such as those in Guinea, Mali and South Africa.
A management standard on air quality was approved in 2009 and is in the process of being implemented at AngloGold Ashanti’s operations. Dust suppression takes place at all operations. Dust control measures include the use of water bowsers on roads, the application of surface binding agents and/or water on tailings facilities and vegetation of tailings facilities. Sulphur dioxide emissions at the East Gold Acid Float plant at Vaal River in South Africa are a continuing cause of concern; however, modifications to the 40-year old plant have significantly reduced the number of major incidents (as classified under our new criteria) from 15 in 2008 to five in 2009.
Because AngloGold Ashanti operates in some low-income countries, host communities often turn to the mine for the provision of basic services. In many cases, mines are found in remote locations, where government agencies have even fewer resources than those in regional centres or national capitals.
In addressing community expectations and developing community relations structures, it has been important for us to ensure that we record and act on complaints expressed by community members. Complaints that are not resolved promptly have the potential to affect the company’s community relations and reputation. Ultimately, unresolved complaints cause tension between the company and the surrounding community and can lead to the breakdown of relations and, potentially, operational delays.
In our relationships with communities, hostility was experienced at Siguiri mine due to community expectations that the mine is responsible for the electrification of Siguiri town. As a result, when a transformer broke down there were two separate incidents of active community opposition, which included damage to vehicles and property, and demonstrations in front of the mine gates. Mine management, in consultation with town leaders, expedited the repair of the transformer and restored electricity to the town. Following the incident, the mine has intensified its engagement strategy, including convening a multi-stakeholder community forum in January 2010.
Artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) includes any mining or processing activities undertaken by individuals who have formed a collective or co-operative to undertake these activities. The scale of activities can range from one individual to large collectives of hundreds or even thousands of individuals working in an area, with the common denominator being the low level of mechanisation. Activity is often well co-ordinated although it may seem informal. Usually it is unregulated, though in some cases it is regulated by local legislation. ASM activity can be legal or illegal.
ASM activity takes place near to several of AngloGold Ashanti’s operations. The operations most affected are Siguiri in Guinea, Obuasi and Iduapriem in Ghana, Geita in Tanzania and exploration sites in the DRC. ASM is a material issue for the company and its stakeholders due to:
All mines close eventually. Good closure planning is essential and reduces closure costs and optimises post-mining land use options. It can help to reduce life-of-mine operating costs. The company’s values statement, policy and management standards recognise that social and environmental issues are interrelated and affect how host communities perceive and remember an operation and its parent company during and after closure. An integrated approach is therefore necessary.
Closure is a material issue for the following reasons:
A management standard on closure and rehabilitation management was approved by the executive committee during the year. The standard sets out company expectations and timelines for closure planning. It defines three levels of planning; a conceptual plan, which has to be in place prior to project approval; an interim plan, which has to be in place within three years of commissioning an operation; and a final plan which must be developed at least three years prior to anticipated mine closure. Community and stakeholder engagement is required at all three levels of planning.
In developing the standard, we worked with external consultants in order to incorporate leading international practice into the standard and review each mine’s closure plan against the standard. A structured programme is being put in place to ensure that all operations have closure plans in place that meet the company standard by the two-year implementation deadline of 2011.
AngloGold Ashanti has had a community engagement forum in place at its Sadiola and Yatela mines in Mali since 2003. More than 200 people attend the annual forum meeting, and vigorous discussion and debate take place on a broad range of issues. With significant community interest in the upcoming closure of Yatela mine, the forum has provided a structure for discussing the closure and allowing AngloGold Ashanti to obtain feedback from the community on their expectations regarding the closure process.
|Operation||Restoration||2009 Decommissioning||Total||2008 total|
|– Vaal River||2.7||–||2.7||4.8|
|– West Wits||0.9||–||0.9||6.2|
|Less equity accounted investments included above (1)||(15.9)||(16.5)||(32.4)||(38.3)|