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Harmony's journey towards responsible stewardship: Mana...

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By Harmony
08 Jul 2022 0

Ecological considerations and ecosystem health are embedded in all our systems and processes - from design to construction, operation, decommissioning and closure. Sustainable development is covered by the first pillar of our strategy – responsible stewardship, and this strategy is an all-encompassing risk-based strategy – one in which all the components of the business are considered.

Currently, one of the many ways in which we ensure not only compliance with environmental legislation but also meeting our strategic objectives of producing safe, profitable ounces, is the way in which we manage the tailings from our mining operations.

We implement global best practices (where applicable), while standardisation and compliance are rolled out and implemented at all our assets.  Robust and meticulous engineering and dam design, stakeholder engagement, along with a continual focus on management of risks and layered assurance and oversight, ensures sustainable integrity, stability, environmental and legal compliance. These focus areas include, but are not limited to:

  • freeboard control
  • water management
  • maintaining stability and the safety factor as advised by the Engineer of Record
  • erosion controls
  • monitoring and control measures implemented to ensure continued compliance. This includes regular inspections, quarterly audits by an external engineer on record, with subsequent actions, minutes and reports ensuring we deliver the desired results.

Kareerand expansion project

Harmony acquired Kareerand Tailings Storage Facility as part of the acquisition of a number of assets from AngloGold Ashanti (which included Mine Waste Solutions) in October 2020.

Our immediate priority upon acquisition was to reduce the volume of water on top of Kareerand so that we reduce ingress and seepage. To achieve this, we implemented a number of operational modifications and efficiencies.Further focused measures are being implemented to manage water on and around Kareerand and address dust mitigation. Some of which include:

  • A R100 million investment for additional holding capacity by constructing the East Storm Water Dam, which is due to be commissioned in November 2022. An application to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy for authorisation to install an additional pipeline, which will allow the reuse of water back into the Mine Waste Solutions plant, thereby further reducing the pool of water on top of the dam. It is anticipated that the pipeline would be commissioned within 6 months, which will prevent seepage to the Vaal River.
  • Water holding capacity is being optimised through the dredging of return water dam, which will have maximum capacity by November 2022.

Harmony announced on 14 July 2022 that key regulatory approvals were obtained to allow the Company to proceed with its Kareerand expansion project to ensure the continued retreatment of surface depositions at Mine Waste Solutions.

Through our land rehabilitation programmes, we are able to remediate and restore mine impacted land to ecological and especially, agricultural value. Biodiversity is a key consideration and falls under our 6 core Sustainable Development Goals as we aim to protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.

We have a comprehensive dust management system implemented that demonstrates effectiveness through our monitoring results. All sampling points beyond our boundaries remain compliant for residential standards. 

These measures and the other measures adopted in accordance with the approved Environmental Management Programme, limits or mitigates the spread of environmental impacts from Kareerand and ensures that Kareerand does not have a material impact on the Vaal River. 

With the approvals now in place, the Kareerand expansion will be constructed and implemented in accordance with inter alia the SANS 10286  (South African national standard for  mine residue), SANS 1200 (Specifications for Civil Engineering Construction, the Norms and Standards for the disposal of waste to landfill), GNR 636 of 2013 and the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. AS is standard practice at Harmony. We will continue to comply with these requirements, monitor our progress and report the outcomes to the competent authorities.

Sharing value

‘Mining with Purpose’ – which is the narrative that informs our decisions – is about protecting the environment, whilst at the same time, advancing the wellbeing of our host communities and our people. Kareerand expansion Project will create shared value for all our stakeholders and communities for an additional 16 years, and will allow for the continued clean-up of multiple tailings storage facilities in the particular area into a single, compliant and better engineered storage facility. 

The Kareerand expansion project will ring-fence 30% of the spend to businesses and entrepreneurs from Matlosana and Rammulotsi local municipalities, ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for the host communities who rely on Harmony each day.  

“Sustainable development is entrenched in our operating model. We are confident that because we have such an integrated approach to sustainability, our business and, indeed all our stakeholders, will continue to benefit from our enduring legacy”, said Melanie Naidoo-Vermaak, Harmony’s Senior Group Executive responsible for Sustainable Development.

Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (“Harmony” and/or “the Company”) is a company that prides itself in mining responsibly. We run operations in such a manner that promote shared value for communities, government and shareholders, as well as a duty of care for the environment.

For more info on our approach to sustainable development, please see our website: www.harmony.co.za. DM

 

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