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Mining IQ: 3 Alternative Tips for Effective Environmental Management

Australia has been a big part of the global mining industry over the last 30 years, but the last decade has seen competition sky rocket.2014 saw one of ...

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|Feb 11|magazine8 min read

Australia has been a big part of the global mining industry over the last 30 years, but the last decade has seen competition sky rocket.

2014 saw one of the most difficult operating environments for miners in many years with falling commodity prices and rising costs putting a tight squeeze on profits. As a result, many mining companies have been going back to basics to drive efficiency and profitability with the hope of lifting the industry off the bottom by delivering sustainable growth.

Despite the emphasis on productivity and efficiency, environmental compliance and management still remains a core part of a mine’s overall operational strategy.

Below, Mining IQ has compiled top tips for environmental management in mining in 2015:

Early contractor engagement

Early contractor involvement is key to effective environmental management and maintenance. If possible, discussions should begin at the concept stage of a project to involve all parties in parts of the Environmental Impact Assessment. A knowledgeable contractor can assist a proponent in assessing impacts to cost of proposed commitments and potential conditions of approval, with the help of project planning.

Early engagement of the construction contractor cannot be underestimated – the earlier, the better. This involves collaboration between the client and the contractor. Having one united team working towards shared outcomes. Such an approach will benefit the overall project delivery, as well as environmental management.

Integrating environmental management practices throughout the entire mine life-cycle

Mining companies should incorporate environmental issues into the whole life of the mine. We’re seeing in WA good examples of this where the Environmental Managers and Mine Closure specialists are willing to integrate and share knowledge with mine planners and managers.

• 6 Sustainable Initiatives You Need to Implement in Your Mining Operations

• How-To: Implement Sustainable Development Principles in Mining

When the environmental team and operations team work together, it means good, concrete advice and be provided to mine planners; as well as ensure that environmental issues are considered in the process. It really does drill down to the integration of operations and those in the environmental teams.

Creating a community

When people talk about sustainability, generally they think of environmental issues – about saving water, reducing energy etc. But the notion of sustainably is all encompassing, both economic and social, as well as the environment. Mining companies should be trying to make a difference to all the pillars of sustainability. This can be achieved by creating a vision of a to create a safe, high quality community –oriented environment that promotes good behavior, and allows staff (miners) to relax between their work sessions, but also tries to discourage anti-social behavior.”