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Full Disclosure 2016

Anglo American Platinum Limited's disclosure of environmental non-compliances in annual reports

2016 update

2015 company reports

In relation to community complaints, Amplats states in its 2015 Sustainability Report that:

In 2015, 78 community complaints were submitted through formal procedures at our various operations. All were assessed and 76% were resolved within the year. The majority of community grievances were related to employment, procurement opportunities and environmental impacts.

During 2015, incidents of community discontent included demonstrations at the Mogalakwena and Amandelbult mines and Twickenham project. We seek to resolve grievances through effective engagement with community leadership.1

In relation to environmental complaints specifically, it was stated that:

During the year, five community complaints were reported our environmental impacts [sic]. Environmental grievances from external parties are managed in line with our corporate communications policy and with the complaints reporting process of our corporate affairs department. Three complaints related to emission-related incidents at the smelters and one to dust at the Paardekraal TSF. One complaint from the local community related to Amplats employees and contractors of Khomanani shaft littering while going to and coming back from work. Each complaint was investigated and feedback was provided to the complainants. Remedial action was taken where required.2

In relation to environmental incidents Amplats reported that:

In 2015, no significant environmental incidents (level 3 and up) were recorded (2014: nil).3

The report notes that there were however 18 Level 2 incidents and 453 Level 1 incidents.4

The following information in the 2015 Sustainability Report may indicate that Twickenham is currently operating outside the terms of its WUL:

The Twickenham complex currently has an excess of water, which is partially treated before being discharged into the environment. We plan to accommodate the excess water in a future concentrator plant.

Twickenham project water use licence (WUL) makes provision for the removal of shaft underground water for disposal and reuse but not for discharge of shaft excess water. As a result, a motivation for the management measures for the excess shaft water situation was submitted for consideration in 2014 but has not been approved yet. In addition, the compilation of consolidated water use licence application commenced to make provision for this discharge. Ongoing engagement on this matter is taking place with DWS.5

In relation to non-compliance with environmental laws, regulations, licences or permits, it is stated in the Sustainability Report that:

During the year, no fines or non-monetary sanctions for noncompliance with environmental regulations, licences or permits were imposed by authorities on any of our managed operations in South Africa.6

However, the Sustainability Report notes that mining operations were only 92% compliant with EMPR commitments, and that process operations were only 93% compliant with EMPR commitments.7

Full Disclosure 2015

Some non-compliances are reported in the company’s annual and sustainable development reports. Amplats uses an incident classification system in terms of which it classifies incidents according to the severity of their impact. This classification system ranges from Level 1 to Level 5; Level 1 incidents being those with the most minor impact on the environment. Prior to 2011, a three-level classification system was used.

2008 company reports

In 2008 the company reported 3,442 Level 1 incidents, 1 Level 2 incident and 8 formal complaints. No detail is provided as to the nature of these incidents and complaints.

2009 company reports

In 2009 the company reported 2,689 Level 1 incidents, 3 Level 2 incidents and 18 formal complaints.8  The three Level 2 incidents were:

  • a discharge into the Brakspruit river system;
  • an overflow at a pollution control dam into the Klipfontein Spruit; and
  • the “alleged” unauthorised start of construction activities.9

In subsequent years there was a big drop in Level 1 incidents due to the introduction of the ‘substandard acts and conditions’ (acts and incidents that can potentially lead to incidents) category.

2010 company reports

In 2010 the company reported 477 Level 1 incidents, 16 formal complaints and 875 substandard acts and conditions.10

Of the 16 formal complaints, fourteen related to visual emissions and dust fallout in the Rustenburg area, one related to treated sewage effluent that was seeping into a stream and one related to odours from a sewage plant (both at the Twickenham Platinum mine).11

Most of the 477 Level 1 incidents related to inadequate management of hydrocarbons (diesel, oil, grease), air quality, other hazardous substances (chemicals) and water (leaks, discharges and contamination).12

In relation to ‘compliance’ in 2010, it was noted that no fines or non-monetary sanctions had been received for non-compliance with environmental regulations and permits and that it was “unclear whether mining-related activities that are listed and occur on mining areas are subject to the environmental assessment and approval processes contained within the MPRDA or those within the NEMA, or both”.13

The company reported in 2010, in relation to “compliance with conditions at mining operations”, that 430 were 100% compliant, 222 were found to “need attention” and 36 were not applicable. It was noted that the 63% of conditions adhered to in 2010 was an improvement from 58% in 2009. Issues said to “deserve special mention, owing to their potential to become issues if action plans to address the findings are not executed in the required time,” were:

  • the separation of clean and dirty water systems;
  • incorrect waste management;
  • failure to strip and stockpile top-soil; and
  • a failure to submit reports to the authorities as required by records of decision and environmental authorisations.14

The company reported in 2010, in relation to “compliance with conditions at process operations”, that out of 545 conditions 465 were 100% compliant and 80 needed attention. Issues said to “deserve mention” included:

  • the improvement and revision of water and air-quality commitments and management plans;
  • improvement of records of representative air-quality monitoring data; and
  • “full compliance in terms of adequate management of clean and dirty water needs attention”.15

The 2010 report also contained Environmental Management Programme performance assessments. 2,104 conditions were assessed at 5 mines. It was stated that “of these, 1,380 were in full compliance and 108 were findings”.16 It is unclear what “were findings” means.17 However, it was noted that findings included:

  • “groundwater and surface water around waste rock dumps and tailings dams indicating high concentrations of nitrates, chlorides and sulphates”;
  • “alien and invasive plant species were observed”;
  • “top-soil stockpiles need maintaining in some instances”;
  • “clean and dirty water systems can be improved”.

Environmental Management Programme performance assessments were also carried out at process operations, and of 672 conditions assessed, 484 were compliant and “188 findings were raised”, which included a failure to implement biodiversity and rehabilitation plans at tailings facilities and the need to improve waste management plans “in some instances”.18

At Twickenham Mine and Mogalakwena Mine water use compliance audits were carried out against water use licence conditions. Mogalakwena Mine was 84% compliant and it was stated that “the findings were minor” and that the Twickenham Mine was 55% compliant.19

In 2010 it was also reported that at the Mogalakwena Mine a local community was alleging that Amplats did not have the correct environmental authorisation to operate, as an authorisation under the National Environmental Management Act was required. Amplats claimed that the company had authorisation in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act. It was also reported that Mototolo Platinum Mine, Union Mine, and the Rustenburg and Amandelbult mines did not have water use licences, “despite applications having been made in 2004”.20

2011 company reports

In 2011 the company reported 309 Level 1 and 2 incidents, 20 formal complaints and 976 substandard acts and conditions.21

Of the 20 formal complaints, 15 were air-quality complaints relating to the Rustenberg area and were made in relation to visual emissions and dust emissions. A complaint was also received regarding hazardous historical tar material and there were three water-related complaints.22

Most of the Level 1 incidents reported this year were reported to relate to the inadequate management of hydrocarbons (diesel, oil, grease), leaks, discharges and contamination and improper waste management. Three Level 2 incidents related to water.23 Substandard acts and conditions related to the same categories.

18 potential Level 3 incidents relating to discharges, spillages and tailings were investigated and found not to reach Level 3 severity and were therefore downgraded to Level 1 or 2 incidents.24

2012 company reports

In 2012 the company reported 476 Level 1 and 2 incidents, 10 formal complaints and 1,175 substandard acts and conditions.

6 of the 10 complaints related to visual and dust emissions and another related to an overflow of a surface water dam.25 Of the 476 Level 1 and 2 incidents, 34 were Level 2 incidents. The majority of Level 1 and 2 incidents were caused by inadequate management of hydrocarbons resulting in the contamination of soil; leaks; discharges; and improper dust and air quality management.26

Most substandard acts and conditions in 2012 similarly related to the inadequate management of hydrocarbons; inadequate waste management; and leaks, discharges and contamination.27

12 potential Level 3 incidents were investigated, which related to spillages and discharges including tailings spillages, but were found not to qualify as Level 3 incidents.28

In legal reviews of four mining operations, 2,880 conditions were identified.29 2,629 were compliant and “251 were findings”.30

Certain focus areas were “highlighted”:

  • conditions of water-use licences;
  • GN704 requirements to separate clean and dirty water;
  • concurrent rehabilitation;
  • monitoring of environmental noise and PM10 (particulate matter) levels;
  • waste management practices; and
  • statutory environmental reporting to regulators.31

Following legal reviews at process operations it was found that of 3,105 conditions 2,947 were fully compliant or had adequate action plans in place while 178 needed attention. The following focus areas were highlighted:

  • groundwater remediation management plans;
  • air-quality-improvement initiatives; and
  • waste-management plans.

Environmental Management Programme performance assessments were carried out at Twickenham, Mogalakwena, Amandelbult, Union and Rustenburg mines in 2012 and a total of 2,295 conditions were assessed. Of this number 1,345 were compliant and 255 were “non-completed conditions”.32

Environmental performance assessments were also carried out at process operations and a total of 3,361 conditions were assessed. Of these, 143 applicable conditions required attention. Key focus areas were groundwater management and rehabilitation.33

At Twickenham mine, the Polokwane Smelter and the Mogalakwena mine internal water-use-compliance audits were carried out against approved water-use licences. Compliance levels were at 89%, 92% and 94% respectively.34

2013 company reports

In 2013 the company reported one Level 3 incident: a spillage at Mogalakwena mine’s Blinkwater tailings dam which “affected” the Mohlosane River for approximately 2.5 km within the mine boundary and 2.5 km outside the mine boundary. The spillage occurred in June 2013 and it was stated that “by the end of the reporting period most of the river had been cleaned and most of the rehabilitation work had been completed. The clean-up operation and subsequent rehabilitation have improved the condition of the river in many ways”. To give an idea of the extent of the spillage, 160 people were involved in cleaning the river and 22,000 square meters of tailings were removed.35

In 2013 the company also reported 549 Level 1 incidents, 41 Level 2 incidents and 2,092 sub-standard acts and conditions. The majority of the incidents related to the inadequate management of hydrocarbon projects which contaminated soil and to improper dust and air quality management and discharges and contamination. Sub-standard acts and conditions were also attributed predominantly to inadequate management of hydrocarbon products and then to inadequate waste management and leaks, discharges and contamination.36

10 environmental complaints were received in 2013. These included the following:

  • visible emissions, gas present at an underground shaft (attributed after investigations to an underground dam);
  • gas inhalation from the Waterval Smelter plant area (it was reported that after investigations it was found that “there was a possibility that fugitive gas emissions could have emanated from the ACP”37);
  • dust from a tailings dam; and
  • odour caused by the death of fish.38

The 2013 report also contained Rustenburg ambient air quality monitoring statistics. Here it was noted that there were 480 exceedances of the SANS 10 minute average for SO₂, 87 exceedances of the national hourly average for SO₂, 6 exceedances of the national daily average for SO₂ and 26 exceedances of the national daily average for PM10 (particulate matter).39

2014 parliamentary questions

In September 2014, via a response to a question by a member of the Democratic Alliance, the Minister of Water and Sanitation published a list of mines operating without the required water use licences. An Anglo Platinum mine in the North West featured on this list. It was stated that the application for authorisation had been received and outstanding information was awaited from the mine.40

2014 company reports

The 2014 Sustainable Development Report recorded that nine community complaints relating to environmental issues were received during the year.41

Five complaints in Rustenberg related to airborne dust from tailings dams and four complaints related to the Unki mine in Zimbabwe.42 Although these complaints appear to comprise the total figure of nine environmental complaints, in another section of the report it was noted that communities “continued to allege that a leakage of tailings into the Mohlosane River in 2013 was causing the death of livestock”. The report stated that “autopsies of a number of animals concluded that their deaths had been caused by the ingestion of plastics and disposable nappies”. An investigation by the DWA was said to be in progress.43

No “significant incidents” were recorded during the year. The company reported 525 Level 1 incidents, 37 Level 2 incidents and 1,957 substandard acts and conditions.44 The Level 2 incidents included the following:

“Discharges to a receiving water resource occurred from Dishaba Mine, the concentrator at Mogalakwena Mine, the refineries in the Rustenburg mining area and Twickenham Platinum Mine.”45

It was reported that no fines or non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with environmental laws had been received during the year.46 However, the Amandelbult mine was reported to be operating without a water use licence.47 Amplats stated that until the licence was granted, “the mine will operate under the water permit issued in terms of previous legislation”.48

  1. Anglo American Platinum Limited Sustainable Development Report 2015, at p46.
  2. Anglo American Platinum Limited Sustainable Development Report 2015, at p48.
  3. Anglo American Platinum Limited Sustainable Development Report 2015, at p48.
  4. Anglo American Platinum Limited Sustainable Development Report 2015, at p71.
  5. Anglo American Platinum Limited Sustainable Development Report 2015, at p51.
  6. Anglo American Platinum Limited Sustainable Development Report 2015, at p48.
  7. Anglo American Platinum Limited Sustainable Development Report 2015, at p48.
  8. Anglo American Platinum Annual Report 2009 at p155, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/ar2009.pdf
  9. Anglo American Platinum Annual Report 2009 at p52, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/ar2009.pdf
  10. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p149, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  11. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p117, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  12. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p118, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  13. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p118, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  14. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p119-120, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  15. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p120, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  16. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p120, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  17. While the meaning of “were findings” is unclear from the reports themselves, Amplats’ Chief Executive Officer has, in response to the CER’s letter of 23 July 2015, indicated that a “finding” refers to an incomplete action, and implies that action plans have either not been adhered to or have not been fully affected at the time of the review/audit.
  18. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p120, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  19. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2010 at p121, available at http://investoreports.com/angloplatinumar2010_pdfs//downloads/angloplatinum_sdr_2010.pdf
  20. Anglo American Platinum Annual Report 2010 at p45, available at http://www.angloamerican.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-PLC-V2/investors/a-reports/2011rep/angloplatinumltd_2010.pdf
  21. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2011 at p154, available at http://www.angloamerican.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Plc/development/reports/csreports/platinum_sustainabledevelopment_report
  22. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2011 at p69, available at http://www.angloamerican.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Plc/development/reports/csreports/platinum_sustainabledevelopment_report
  23. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2011 at p70, available at http://www.angloamerican.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Plc/development/reports/csreports/platinum_sustainabledevelopment_report
  24. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2011 at p70, available at http://www.angloamerican.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Plc/development/reports/csreports/platinum_sustainabledevelopment_report
  25. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p124, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  26. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p124, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  27. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p125, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  28. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p125, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  29. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p126, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  30. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p126, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  31. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p126, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  32. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p127, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  33. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p128, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  34. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2012 at p128, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aapsdreport2012-150313.pdf
  35. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2013 at p88, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2013.pdf
  36. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2013 at p88, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2013.pdf
  37. ACP is defined in the companys Sustainable Development Report as "Amplats Converting Process, a pyrometallurgical process used at the Waterval Smelter Complex in Rustenburg".
  38. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2013 at p99, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2013.pdf
  39. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2013 at p100, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2013.pdf
  40. Question No. 1716, Date of publication in internal question paper: 19 September 2014, available at https://www.dwa.gov.za/communications/Q&A/2014/NA%201716.pdf
  41. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p60, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf
  42. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p60, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf
  43. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p39, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf
  44. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p85, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf
  45. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p63, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf
  46. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p59, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf
  47. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p8, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf
  48. Anglo American Platinum Sustainable Development Report 2014 at p61, available at http://www.angloamericanplatinum.com/~/media/Files/A/Anglo-American-Platinum/annual-reports/aap-sd-report-2014.pdf