Sustainability is a priority at Wescoal. Sustainability isn’t part of our work – it’s a guiding influence for all of our work. Wescoal is committed to the rehabilitation of mining activity on an ongoing basis, in accordance with mine rehabilitation plan. To date, Wescoal has met all rehabilitation requirements. Reaching and maintaining a balance between continuing with mining while conserving the environment and looking after the communities in our footprint remains a priority.
Empowering our communities in part of our daily activities. This is achieved through ongoing workshops and presentations as neighbouring schools and during flagship days such as Arbor Day, where we communicate the importance of conservation and taking care of our environment. It is important that the current generation is able to provide for itself without compromising the ability of future generations to provide for themselves. With the aim of conserving the environment and protecting employees and communities, the company is proud to detail its record as follows. Wescoal sustainability is underpinned by its growth strategy from a junior miner with one opencast mine to the owner and operator of multiple mines. The flagship Elandspruit Colliery which realised steady state production of 2mtpa in the second half of 2015 joining the Khanyisa and Intibane collieries in the fold. The Wescoal processing plant provides significant operational flexibility to the mining division and has been operating since the second half of FY15. Distribution centre The Wescoal Distribution Centre assists in reducing the Group’s carbon footprint by switching coal transportation from road to rail. It also reduces the impact on the national road structure and ensures that the product does not go to ground during transportation, trans-shipment or bulk storage. The facility allows 10 000 tons, or the loads of 300 road vehicles, of coal per month to be taken off the long haul road network and transported by rail. The approach enhances the company’s environmental protection policies which together with aggressive safety audits and social responsibility programmes form the backbone of our ongoing sustainability for the Group.
Water licenses issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation DWS issued water use licences to Wescoal for operational activities. The licences are governed by strict adherence and compliance measures, which include a series of specific management guidelines, internal audits and submissions to DWS. Biological monitoring of the potable water is conducted regularly. During the period under review, Wescoal has had no water or liquid spills or contamination of water sources. Mine rehabilitation The process of mining coal disturbs the land. Wescoal is committed to the rehabilitation of mining activity. To date, Wescoal has met all rehabilitation requirements. Rehabilitation plans are actively executed in accordance with planned and audited schedules across all its mining operations The Intibane 1 rehabilitation was completed to the planned levels prior to the commencement of the mining of the Intibane 2 area. The Intibane 1 and 2 areas are now managed as one integrated mining area. At the Intibane Colliery, Wescoal mines alongside farming activity in partnership with a farmer. This means that once Wescoal has rehabilitated the land after mining for coal, the farmer will have the first right of refusal to buy back the land for farming purposes. This is just one of the ways in which Wescoal is striving to ensure the sustainability of land usage in South Africa, as well as acting as a responsible corporate citizen.
Our daily activities are governed by the National Environmental Management Act, Act 107 of 1998, which explicitly details the limits of conducting various activities that have the ability to have adverse impact on the environment. Mining is regarded as major contributor to environmental degradation. Wescoal is setting a good precedence by taking into account the environment in our day to day activities and ensuring that all our activities are sustainable with a strong emphasis on rehabilitation and preservation wherever possible. Waste management Wescoal has receptacles in place for hazardous waste which is then professionally removed. Dust control Dust levels are monitored and measured regularly by environmental consultants. In accordance with management processes, all abnormal variations are managed within regulatory guidelines. In compliance with DMR regulatory requirements, Wescoal established a system of monthly occupational hygiene measurements. The results show a steady decline in the personal noise and dust exposure levels for high risk activities and job categories according to the independent assessments. Economic indicators Wescoal has not received any financial assistance from government or quasi-government organisations. Cash flow required to run the operation and to pay for capital expenditure is generated from current operations and facilities arranged with bankers. The introduction of cost-saving strategies and careful cash flow management contributed to reducing overall debt and freeing up working capital enabling the group to fund growth from internal sources. Wescoal, being involved in coal mining and trading, understands that in order to extract product, it will impact the environment. Its cause, effect and rehabilitation initiatives are discussed in the section covering environmental indicators.