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African Rainbow Minerals Limited's disclosure of environmental non-compliances in annual reports

Variations of the following statement are often made in ARM’s Annual Reports:-

Internal and external audits are regularly conducted at all operations and any instances of non-compliance with regulatory requirements are reported to management for corrective action. The Company did not receive any fines nor has it been prosecuted for any anti-competitive practices or non-compliance with any governance or legislative obligations.1

2008 company reports

In the 2008 Annual Report it was stated that:-

The most significant matter of non-compliance related to the Cato Ridge smelter. In August 2007, Assmang responded to a report from the Department of Environment and Tourism (DEAT) following an inspection undertaken in February 2007. Further interaction ensued between the parties in respect of air pollution and emissions, non-adherence to conditions of the dust disposal facility permit, the absence of a monitoring committee, and perceived inadequacies in terms of monitoring and general pollution issues.

Assmang was given 21 days in which to prepare detailed action plans to address the listed non-conformances and other issues raised by DEAT, and this was provided timeously on 16 November 2007. In compliance with the action plans developed, waste management (for dust and slag) and waste management facilities, water management and licensing, as well as air quality monitoring and management, have received significant attention. A number of specialists were engaged to prepare the appropriate project scopes, plans and costings to address environmental management at Cato Ridge and ensure compliance in the future. Implementation of the plan will take two to three years. Bi-monthly meetings are held between the Works, the local municipality and DEAT to track a report on progress. The project is on schedule.2

2009 company reports

No non-compliance information was included in the company’s reports for 2009.

2010 company reports

It was reported in the 2010 Annual Report that:-

The most recent external audit, conducted in F2009, identified certain areas requiring attention, which were addressed during F2010. In the first instance, certain rectification applications were submitted to the authorities in terms of Section 24G of NEMA. This resulted in Nkomati Mine paying an administrative penalty of R351 000 (the mine having an approved EMPR but not having obtained environmental authorisations in terms of NEMA for certain specified activities), and Black Rock Manganese Mine paying an administrative penalty of R161 000 (for not having an environmental authorisation in terms of NEMA for the start-up for a housing development).3

2011 company reports

In ARM’s 2011 Sustainability Report it was stated that:-

The most recent liability audits were completed during the year under review. The reports on these audits are in the process of being finalised and [sic] as is confirmation of the factual correctness of the findings, after which the audit reports (both operational and corporate reports) will be distributed. Thereafter, appropriate action plans and non-conformances will be included in individual operations’ non-conformance management systems and tracked and reported on quarterly.4

2012 company reports

In ARM’s 2012 Sustainability Report it was stated that:-

During the year under review, Modikwa Mine received a notice of intent to deliver a directive in terms of Section 31 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA). The notice alleged illegal construction without an approved environmental impact assessment and related to construction of a new sewage treatment plant. Modikwa mine submitted application under Section 24G of NEMA, made representations and explained the actions as a remedy to the current unstable and old facility and is in discussions with authorities to resolve the issue. The directive has not been issued and all work is on hold until an approved EIA has been received.5

Notably, in ARM’s 2012 Annual Report, it was also stated that:-

During F2012 the Company did not receive any administrative penalties nor was it fined nor has it been prosecuted for any anticompetitive practices or non-compliance with any legislative or regulatory obligations.6

2013 company reports

In ARM’s 2013 Annual Report it was reported that:-

During the year under review, an administrative fine of R500 000 in terms of Section 24G of the National Environmental Management Act was paid by the Black Rock Mine of Assmang Limited and an administrative fine of R315 000 was paid by Modikwa in respect of the Montrose sewage facility. In the case of the Khumani Housing Company Proprietary Limited, a subsidiary of Assmang Limited, an administrative fine of R460 000 was imposed, but this has been taken on appeal. The appeal remained unresolved as at year end.

The Company did not receive any other administrative penalties nor has it been prosecuted for any anti-competitive practices or non-compliance with any governance or legislative obligations.7

In the 2013 Sustainability Report it was also stated that:-

Black Rock Mine is continuing with the process of amending its initial Environmental Management Programme Report (EMPR) to reflect the current realities of the operation.8

2014 company reports

In the 2014 Annual Report further administrative fines were reported:

During the year under review, Modikwa paid an administrative fine of R315 000 in terms of the National Environmental Management Act in respect of the Montrose sewage facility. In the case of the Khumani Housing Company Proprietary Limited, a subsidiary of Assmang Proprietary Limited, an administrative fine of R460 000 was imposed, but this has been taken on appeal. The appeal remained unresolved as at 30 June 2014. Dwarsrivier Mine paid an administrative fine of R1 000 000 for rectification processes in terms of section 24G of NEMA, which it had lodged in 2008, and Two Rivers Platinum also paid a consolidated fine of R1 000 000 for rectification in terms of section 24G of NEMA.9

(Note: Assmang’s Annual Reports were not included in this assessment of disclosure.)10

ARM has also published ‘Sustainability Data Tables’ for 2014. In this document, information is provided on the amount of land ‘disturbed’ by specific operations (it is unclear whether the figures are total amounts or solely for the reporting year), whether or not the disturbed land has been rehabilitated and whether the land is located in close proximity to an area of high biodiversity or a protected area:

  • at Modikwa, 555 hectares have been disturbed and are not yet rehabilitated,11
  • at Two Rivers, 190 hectares have been disturbed in a high biodiversity or protected area,12
  • at Nkomati, 377 hectares have been disturbed and are not yet rehabilitated,13
  • at Beeshoek, 1103 hectares have been disturbed and are not yet rehabilitated,14
  • at Khumani 3080 hectares have been disturbed and are not yet rehabilitated,15
  • at Black Rock, 1464 hectares have been disturbed and are not yet rehabilitated,16
  • at Dwarsrivier, 181 hectares within a high biodiversity or protected area have been disturbed and are not yet rehabilitated,17
  • at Machadodorp 141 hectares have been disturbed within an area of high biodiversity or a protected area,18 and;
  • at Cato Ridge, 150 hectares have been disturbed and are not yet rehabilitated, including land located in an area of high biodiversity or a protected area.19
  1. ARM Annual Report 2009, at p124, available at: http://www.arm.co.za/im/files/annual/2009/pdf/full.pdf
  2. ARM Annual Report 2008, p113, available at: http://www.arm.co.za/im/files/annual/2008/files/ARM_AR2008.pdf
  3. ARM Integrated Annual Report 2010, at p141, available at: http://www.arm.co.za/im/files/annual/2010/f/ARM_AR2010.pdf
  4. ARM Sustainability Report 2011, at page 61, http://www.arm.co.za/im/files/annual/2011/download/ARM-sustainable-development-report-2011.pdf
  5. ARM Sustainability Report 2012, at p116, available at: http://www.arm.co.za/im/files/annual/2012/ARM-sustainable-development-report-2012.pdf
  6. ARM Integrated Annual Report 2012, at p138, available at: http://arm.onlinereport.co.za/arm_iar_2012/wp-content/themes/arm_2012/downloads/arm_iar_2012.pdf
  7. ARM 2013 Annual Integrated Report, at p138, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/downloads/ARM-IR13.pdf
  8. ARM 2013 Sustainability Report, at p117, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13.pdf
  9. ARM 2014 Annual Integrated Report, at p132, available at: http://www.arm.co.za/im/r_annual.php
  10. http://www.assmang.co.za/content.asp?pg=24 (last accessed on 7 August 2015).
  11. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p5, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  12. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p6, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  13. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p7, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  14. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p8, available at:  http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  15. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p8, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  16. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p9, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  17. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p9, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  18. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p10, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf
  19. ARM Sustainability data tables, at p11, available at: http://arm.integrated-report.com/2013/download/ARM-SD13-data-tables.pdf