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Anglo American and the seven steps to sustainability

Anglo American as a business has historically been a leader in encouraging sustainable mining practices. To discover more about how the company puts ide...

Dale Benton
|Sep 16|magazine14 min read

Anglo American as a business has historically been a leader in encouraging sustainable mining practices. To discover more about how the company puts ideas into practice, we spoke with Anglo American, to see how the business is continuing to encourage sustainability in a difficult pricing environment. From shrinking its environmental footprint to encouraging socio-economic development in developing communities, the business is striving to deliver sustainability through each of its seven pillars of value:

1.Safety and health: According to Rene Aguilar, group head of safety, Anglo American “has a zero harm vision.” Through stringent workforce safety and health programmes, it aims to make safety a way of life, inside and outside of the workplace.

  • The company recently won a prestigious IABC Gold Quill Award for its annual Global Safety Day. The final activity last year took place in October 2015 and involved all employees and contractors across Anglo American.
  • Anglo American also runs the world’s largest private sector testing and treatment programme for HIV and AIDS. In 2015, a record 88% of HIV-positive employees were enrolled in the programme – a more than 10% increase on the previous year. 

 

2.Environment: Anglo American has reiterated its commitment to manage the environment in such a way that host communities benefit from the mining activities today and in the future.

  • For the third consecutive year, Anglo American exceeded its 2020 water savings target of 14%, achieving an estimated 16% water saving against projected water usage.
  • Through its ECO2MAN energy efficiency programme Anglo American is also reducing its own carbon footprint. In 2015, in relation to its business as usual consumption, Anglo American was able to reduce its GHG emissions by 22%, thereby exceeding its reduction target. This amounted to 4.6 million tonnes of avoided CO2e, which is equivalent to displacing the emissions of nearly one million passenger vehicles.

 

3.Socio-political: The heart of the brand is “real mining, real people, real difference”, so it’s no surprise that the business endeavours to make a lasting positive contribution to the communities that house and support its operations.

  • Since 1989, Anglo American has been pioneering approaches to supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), starting with empowering black South African entrepreneurs, extending into Chile in 2006, and more recently into Brazil, Botswana and Peru.
  • The company has supported 110,780 jobs since 2008 in 62,394 SMEs, providing more than $130 million in funding.

 

4.People: In chief executive Mark Cutifani’s words, “people are the business.” The miner is looking to resource its organisation with an engaged and productive workforce and empowers leadership to deliver results and improve business resilience.

  • The business has a range of external and internal development programmes currently running which have received an investment of more than $100 million in 2015.
  • In an increasingly competitive market for skills, the company is investing in developing a pipeline of future talent through our support of 3,500 graduates, bursars, apprentices and trainees.

 

5.Production: In a difficult pricing environment, the business is constantly looking to innovate in order to make mining safer and more efficient, and to extract its metal reserves in a sustainable way that creates value.

  • To support performance improvements and to encourage more sustainable mining methods, Anglo American developed a new approach to innovation, FutureSmart™. FutureSmart™ will accelerate the company’s ability to use innovation and technology to address its critical challenges and find safer, more efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable ways to unlock mineral value, and has already encouraged idea sharing in water conservation.
  • The Los Bronces copper mine in Chile employed an innovative approach to production challenges in 2015 after it found itself constrained by water supply limitations. The team upgraded a water transportation system, which transports water via a 56-kilometre pipeline from the Las Tórtolas tailings dam to Los Bronces, using a special water-recycling system. Los Bronces is currently recycling more than 78% of the water that it uses.

 

6.Cost: The roll-out of Anglo American’s Operating Model to six of its operations in 2015 had a positive impact in many areas of its value chain, and continues to make Anglo American a more productive business. While the Operating Model is an essential enabler for delivering production targets, and ultimately for reducing its operating costs, at its heart is the discipline of planned work, which has also been proven across many industries to deliver substantial benefits in safety and environmental performance.

 

7.Financial: In the midst of unprecedented organisational changes, the company is prioritising long-term sustainable returns to shareholders. Over the next 12-24 months, Anglo American will adjust its focus to concentrate on a much-reduced portfolio of 16 core operating assets that produce diamonds, platinum group metals and copper. These mid- to late-cycle metals and minerals will afford the Group greater exposure to fast-growing consumer sectors, such as ‘next wave’ clean-energy and hardware technologies. By focusing on De Beers, Platinum and Copper, Anglo American’s core portfolio will comprise highly competitive assets that are positioned to deliver significant upside potential.

 

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