In the transition to a low-carbon economy, PGMs are critical to enable associated technologies. In delivering these products, we are committed to mitigating our environmental impacts.

Climate change

Climate change presents a fundamental challenge in coming decades. We are committed to contributing towards reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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Climate change presents a fundamental challenge in coming decades. We are committed to contributing towards reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Mining and processing are energy intensive. Our focus in recent years has been on driving energy and carbon savings throughout our business. We are progressively integrating climate change mitigation into our core business activities, and are aligning our processes with climate change and GHG emission reduction policies and legislation.

In planning for future energy requirements, we are developing a low-carbon transition strategy to reduce our reliance on the coal-based grid electricity supply in South Africa, promote opportunities to collaborate with our communities in realising mutually beneficial opportunities, and support the development of new markets for PGMs.

We monitor and review the potential physical implications of climate change for our operations and neighbouring communities and implement appropriate adaptation responses. The main risks relate to changes in ambient temperature, precipitation and prolonged droughts impacting water security and supply for the hydro-power schemes that power some of our operations.

We are committed to the transparent disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities for our business and are progressively reviewing and aligning our management and reporting approach with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures recommendations for voluntary reporting.

The majority of requirements are addressed in our annual submission to the CDP Climate Change Programme, available at www.cdproject.net. We are addressing the need to improve our understanding of the potential impact of global climate change scenarios on our long-term strategic plans.


Water

Water is a critical input for mining operations. For Implats, water shortage is a principal risk as our southern Africa sites are in water-scarce areas. Our operations implement initiatives to ensure effective monitoring of use, reduction and optimal use of this scarce resource.

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Water is a critical input for mining operations. For Implats, water shortage is a principal risk as our southern Africa sites are in water-scarce areas. Our operations implement initiatives to ensure effective monitoring of use, reduction and optimal use of this scarce resource.

Water is our most significant environmental concern. The principal risks we face are increased water stress leading to potential operational disruptions, uncontrolled dirty water discharges into the environment, increasing costs associated with water supply and management, local community discontent and reputational risks.

Implats is a recognised leader in water management and disclosure. The Group achieved an A performance score (leadership band) for its 2021 submission to the CDP’s Water Disclosure Project.

Our strategy focuses on water consumption and quality management, and it proposes a framework for operation-specific water conservation strategies, in line with our commitment to reduce our levels of potable water usage and to increase recycled water usage.


Energy

Security of electricity supply and rising energy prices are material risks for our operations in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Electricity consumption continues to account for 74% of our total energy consumption and almost 10% of our operating costs.

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Security of electricity supply and rising energy prices are material risks for our operations in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Electricity consumption continues to account for 74% of our total energy consumption and almost 10% of our operating costs.

In South Africa, the national power utility, Eskom, battles high maintenance costs and coal shortages that are expected to continue until 2025. Zimplats has maintained power securitisation agreements with Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA). The country’s drought and ZESA’s aging infrastructure have made electricity supply vulnerable to interruptions.

We monitor the situation in both countries constantly and have emergency preparedness and safety plans in place, including protocols to minimise the impact of unplanned power outages.

Energy efficiency initiatives implemented across the Group include underground energy-efficient lighting, optimised use of underground compressed air systems, installation of power factor correction equipment, and diesel performance management.

In switching to low-carbon energy sources, our focus is on developing opportunities to replace diesel with hydro-fuel technology and using solar photovoltaic (PV) cells to generate electricity. There have been positive developments in South Africa’s energy regulations allowing mining companies to generate their own energy for self-use.

Both Zimplats and Impala Canada use renewable energy sources.

Harnessing PGMs for fuel cell technology

Decarbonisation is an urgent global challenge. There are increasing opportunities to use platinum-catalysed fuel cells to provide zero-emitting, carbon-free energy, in electricity and mobile applications.

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Air Quality

Ensuring we adequately understand and control the gases and dust that our operations release is essential to prevent adverse impacts on host communities, and to meet current and future legislative requirements.

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Ensuring we adequately understand and control the gases and dust that our operations release is essential to prevent adverse impacts on host communities, and to meet current and future legislative requirements.

The most significant air quality issue for the Group relates to the sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions from our smelting operations at Zimplats, Impala Rustenburg and refining processes at Impala Springs. Impala Springs and Impala Rustenburg are both located in priority areas as promulgated by the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act (NEMAQA) and have maintained adherence to all licence conditions.

We work towards managing our SO2 emissions to the lowest possible levels and, as a minimum, to ensure that we are compliant with the limits set out in air emission licence obligations.

Extensive ambient air quality monitoring networks are in place at our Impala Springs, Impala Rustenburg and Zimplats operations via ambient monitoring stations, which measure SO2 and particulate matter in line with regulatory requirements and best practices and provide an indication of ambient air quality levels and associated trends. We report the results of the ambient monitoring to the relevant authority quarterly.

Improving ambient air quality in host communities

Impala Rustenburg is implementing an air quality offset programme aimed at improving ambient air quality in communities around its smelter.

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Waste Management

Mining generates significant quantities of mineral residue, which affects the land through the establishment of tailings dams and waste-rock dumps. We focus on ensuring the integrity and safety of our tailings storage facilities (TSFs) and strive to increase levels of waste mineral recovery and reuse. All our TSFs are operated and monitored using standardised operating procedures.

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Mining generates significant quantities of mineral residue, which affects the land through the establishment of tailings dams and waste-rock dumps. We focus on ensuring the integrity and safety of our tailings storage facilities (TSFs) and strive to increase levels of waste mineral recovery and reuse. All our TSFs are operated and monitored using standardised operating procedures.

We also strive to minimise the amount of non-mineral waste we generate and to increase levels of non-mineral waste recycling/reuse as part of broader efforts to unlock value in a circular economy. Our waste management activities across the Group seek, as a minimum, to maintain compliance with evolving legislative requirements relating to waste. By promoting the waste management hierarchy – avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle – we aim to steadily decrease the amount of hazardous and general waste sent to landfill.


Biodiversity

Given the potential of mining activities to impact habitats through land disturbance and pollution, biodiversity monitoring and management remain important for us. We determine the biodiversity impacts of our mining operations through our environmental authorisation processes, and we manage these according to site-specific biodiversity management plans and standards.

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Given the potential of mining activities to impact habitats through land disturbance and pollution, biodiversity monitoring and management remain important for us. We determine the biodiversity impacts of our mining operations through our environmental authorisation processes, and we manage these according to site-specific biodiversity management plans and standards.

We monitor and measure performance against a formal biodiversity management plan informed by the Mining and Biodiversity Guideline developed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). This includes terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity monitoring programmes. We also undertake ongoing dedicated projects to improve biodiversity and compliance, including implementing alien and invasive species identification and eradication projects at our various operations.

Conservation of important bird species at Impala Rustenburg

Impala Rustenburg conducts summer and winter avifaunal (bird) surveys. The most recent summer survey recorded 117 species across the mining footprint of the Rustenburg Lease Area.

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Rehabilitation

We are steadily integrating mine closure planning into life-of-mine planning. We focus on concurrent rehabilitation as we strive to return land to near initial state.

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We are steadily integrating mine closure planning into life-of-mine planning. We focus on concurrent rehabilitation as we strive to return land to near initial state.

Water is our most significant environmental concern. The principal risks we face are increased water stress leading to potential operational disruptions, uncontrolled dirty water discharges into the environment, increasing costs associated with water supply and management, local community discontent and reputational risks.

Our approach to ensuring responsible mine closure emphasises the importance of designing, planning and operating a mine with closure in mind. In doing so, we aim to reduce long-term risks and liabilities to our business from an environmental and socioeconomic perspective, and to ensure that we leave a positive legacy when our mines conclude their operational lives.

All our mining operations have closure plans in place. These plans are reviewed annually, and the closure liabilities and applicable financial provisions are updated accordingly. Ensuring effective rehabilitation is an important regulatory, financial and reputational issue for the Company. The Group strategy for land rehabilitation is to ensure a sustainable and functional post closure landscape. We continuously investigate alternative post closure land uses that are aligned with our host communities’ expectations and supportive of economic opportunities after mining.

All tailings storage facilities (TSFs), in South Africa and Zimbabwe, have concurrent rehabilitation plans that include revegetation, dust management and water management. Rehabilitation of Impala Canada’s TSF will be done on closure.