Environmental, Social And Governance
Bushveld Minerals is dedicated to the long-term sustainability of our operations, not because it is a requirement but because we sincerely believe in creating value for all our stakeholders
1. Health and safety
Bushveld Minerals recognises that the wellbeing of employees and communities is key for our long-term success, and we intend to build on the foundations already put in place at Vametco and Vanchem. We are determined to make our operations sustainable. This includes ensuring our employees enjoy a healthy and safe working environment, operating in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, and adding value for all stakeholders.
Our guiding principle is zero tolerance for deviations from safety regulations, whether by our own employees or contractors. We have instilled a work culture based on behavioural management that views safety and health as being of paramount importance. This was achieved through various safety campaigns implemented in 2019.
Training is directed at making sure our employees not only work responsibly for their own wellbeing, but also look out for their colleagues’ health and safety. Our safety drive entails visible leadership and behavioural change coaching, inspections and training programmes that are conducted on site by both management and employees. We believe that measuring ourselves against industry-leading practices and implementing good safety and health systems and conditions will keep us in the forefront of health and safety in the industry.
For the most recent Health and Safety statistics, please see the latest Annual Report.
2. Environmental management
Bushveld Minerals’ environment stewardship is guided by the Environmental Management Programmes (‘EMPs’) that it is required to develop before commencing any mining and processing activities. The EMPs identify and address environmental impacts that could occur during the exploration, mining and mine closure phases. Incorporated within the EMP are reports and plans to proactively address the management of water, land, waste (non-hazardous and hazardous materials), air quality, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Our objective is to align our activities with international standards, including those of the International Finance Corporation and ISO 14001:2015, which sets out guidelines and requirements for how an environmental management system should operate to achieve continual improvement.
Annual environmental performance assessment audits are conducted by an external environmental specialist and by regulatory authorities to assess the level of compliance with the conditions of the EMP and the mine’s Environmental Authorisations. Environmental legal compliance audits were also performed by an independent specialist. No major findings were reported from any of these audits and no environmental penalties were imposed by the regulatory authorities.
3. Local procurement
BUSHVELD MINERALS LAUNCHES e-PROCUREMENT PORTAL SYSTEM
Bushveld Minerals has launched e-Procurement portal system. On the portal you will be able to maintain all your company information, upload key documents and complete your online company profile to maximize your Profile Score when interacting with Bushveld Minerals and or any of its subsidiaries. You will be also able to respond to e-RFQ’s and e-Tenders through the secure online tendering solution.
Registration on the portal does not guarantee business opportunities and that it is merely an expression of interest that will allow Bushveld Minerals buyers to reach out to you to procure a quotation/proposal as a potential supplier/service provider. Bushveld Minerals and or its subsidiaries reserves the sole rights for selection and appointment of service providers for Bushveld Minerals and or its subsidiaries. Selection of service providers remains strictly competitive and the bidder must be able to demonstrate ability to deliver the required quality goods or service at a competitive price.
Please use the following link to complete your applications https://bushveld.procure.co.za, click on “register” to complete your registration as a potential vendor.
Should you need any assistance with your self-registration you can email us on: email@example.com
Water management is integral to our licence to operate, so compliance with all our obligations on our Water Use Licence is a priority.
Vametco adheres to an ongoing surface and groundwater monitoring programme. Sampling and analysis of various chemical constituents and groundwater level measurements are conducted on a monthly and quarterly basis, as required by the IWUL and South African National Standards drinking water quality standards, to ensure effective management of the water resources on site and in surrounding areas. We implement best practice measures for effective clean and dirty water separation, optimised recycling of used water and water balance.
For the most recent water utilisation statistics, please see the latest annual report.
In general, our waste management is centred around separation at source, recycling and re-use.
Regarding mineral waste, particularly the tailings dam and magnetite tailings storage facilities, an independent external specialist conducted audits to ascertain the facilities’ structural stability. Both facilities were found to be stable and with no risk of unexpected failures, demonstrating our operational effectiveness and good controls.
For the most recent waste recycling statistics, please see the most recent Annual Report.
Air quality and environmental dust fallout
The Bojanala District Municipality granted Vametco an Atmospheric Emission Licence and we are dedicated to ensuring that we comply with it. This includes monitoring our stacks emissions and implementing management plans if they exceed the designated limits.
Capital projects, including the installation of off-gas scrubber systems and bag house systems, demonstrate our commitment to keep our emissions within standards. Our effectiveness is evident in the results of stack emissions monitoring conducted by independent third-party specialists.
Our fall out dust sampling points continuously present sample results which are below industrial limits of 1,200 mg/m2 per day at the fence boundaries and therefore comply with the South African National Dust Control Regulations, 2013.
Vametco conducts annual plant and animal assessments as part of the biodiversity impact assessment. This includes an Invader Species Eradication Programme, in which we employ people from the local community. Establishment of vegetation and grass planting on areas meeting final rehabilitation criteria is conducted during the summer season.
Mine rehabilitation and environmental liabilities
Concurrent rehabilitation is practised wherever possible to minimize environmental impacts during operation and reduce the final environmental liability.
Quality Management System (‘QMS’): ISO 9001:2015
Bushveld Vametco has continuously maintained its ISO 9001 certification.
The QMS is audited annually by the certification body, Bureau Veritas (‘BV’). During the audit, Bushveld Vametco fulfilled its objectives of receiving no major nonconformities.
The minor non-conformities raised received prompt attention and were submitted to BV.
Occupational Health and Safety
One of our priorities is to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our employees, contractors, suppliers, and everyone who visits our operations.
One of our first priorities following our acquisition of Vanchem was to update our Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Procedures. The updated policy and procedures are meant to provide the leadership and resources required for all our workers to go home safe and well every day. The procedures also aim to ensure a systematic approach to anticipating, identifying, evaluating, controlling, monitoring, and managing occupational health and safety risks to make them “as low as reasonably practicable”.
We have set a goal for our operations to have an Occupational Health and Safety Management System aligned to the ISO 45001:2018 standard by the end of 2020 and certified by the end of 2021.
Our operations impact the physical environment, including the land, air, water, and other important resources that we share with others. Our stakeholders expect us to manage and minimise any negative impacts our operations may have on the environment and we are committed to doing so through international best practice, including the IFC Performance Standards.
Since acquiring Vanchem, we have commissioned independent consultants to conduct various EIAs to evaluate the current status quo on environmental impacts and risks of our operation. For projects which need to progress to construction and operation, the EIA forms the basis of the site-specific environmental management system (‘EMS’).
We have set the goal of having an EMS aligned to the ISO 14001:2015 standard by the end of 2020 and certified by the end of 2021. This will ensure that we have systems in place to monitor and improve our environmental performance.
Participating in the circular economy
Through our subsidiary, Bushveld Energy, we are actively driving adoption of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (‘VRFBs’) in the global energy storage industry. Bushveld Energy’s activities stretch over three key areas: electrolyte production; battery investment and manufacturing; and project development.
Bushveld Energy is developing a 1 MW mini-grid at Vametco, consisting of 2.5 MW of solar photovoltaics and 1 MW/4 MWh of VRFBs. The additional benefit of this project for Bushveld Minerals is that it is expected to contribute towards the reduction of the Company’s carbon gas emissions through the use of renewable energy and storage.
VRFBs are designed to last for 20 years or more, so fewer batteries need to be deployed than would be the case for lithium batteries. The unique technical design allows full re-usability of the chemical electrolyte in the battery once the electrical and mechanical components wear out. That means that even after the 20-year lifetime of the battery is reached, the electrolyte can be redeployed into another battery. The electrolyte can be easily reprocessed by existing vanadium processing facilities, at minimal cost, into products such as ferrovanadium and vanadium-pentoxide for use in high-strength steels and specialty alloys and chemicals.
Vanadium electrolyte is primarily made of water, allowing for easier processing than from other compound states. Only one mineral is extracted from vanadium electrolyte, whereas lithium, nickel, manganate, cobalt, etc. need to be separated out in a lithium battery. These opportunities may make vanadium the most circular economy-friendly mineral.
3. Socio-economic development
Bushveld Minerals is not immune to global economic pressures and various domestic and international socio-political dynamics that affect the business sector and the community. All of these challenges contribute towards high levels of inequality, unemployment, and poverty and as a result raise our stakeholders’ expectations of what the business sector can deliver.
Socio-economic development contributions: labour profile
Bushveld Minerals’ subsidiaries pay special attention to sourcing labour from host municipalities, which contributes directly towards local socio-economic development.
Further detail can be found in our Sustainability: Value beyond compliance on page 58 of the Annual Report.
Socio-economic development contributions: human resources development
Human resources development (‘HRD’) is one of the Company’s important socio-economic goals. Bushveld Minerals invests in developing the skills of its employees and members of the host communities. The aim is to improve the quality of life of workers and members of the community while increasing their labour mobility and prospects of self-employment beyond Bushveld Minerals. The HRD programmes include learnerships, internships, bursaries, portable skills and Adult Education and Training. Below are the HRD programmes:
- Portable skills
- Adult Education and Training
For the most recent socio-economic statistics, please see the most recent Annual Report
Socio-economic development contributions: Community Socio Economic Investment project
Socio-Economic Development (‘SED’) is aimed at raising the standard of living of our host communities, in particular the previously disadvantaged. SED contributions are any monetary or non-monetary contribution implemented for individuals (natural individual or group of natural individuals) or communities, where at least 75 per cent of the beneficiaries are classified as black people.
Our socio-economic development initiatives in 2019 amounted to over ZAR13 million and were targeted towards poverty alleviation, education, and skills and SMME development.
4. Stakeholder Engagement
Bushveld Minerals has developed a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy which forms the blueprint for building relationships with stakeholders, including our host communities and local landowners. The stakeholder engagement strategy was developed to enable Bushveld Minerals to develop a collaborative relationship with key stakeholders in support of its strategic objective – to become a fully integrated vanadium company.
The stakeholder engagement strategy builds on Bushveld’s strategic intention to identify key stakeholders, their interests and requirements to develop appropriate engagement models. There were meaningful, transparent, and honest engagements with stakeholders in 2019.
Four key stakeholder engagement outcomes were set to support Bushveld Minerals’ strategy:
- Socio-economic development, regulatory compliance, and creation of value beyond compliance in communities where we operate;
- Development of a strong South African vanadium industry, inclusive of a broad base of stakeholders (including support of Vanchem pre- and post-acquisition);
- Development of a policy and regulatory framework for the battery energy storage systems industry, including VRFBs, in the South African electricity market; and
- Expansion of VRFB deployments into the African continent and exports of vanadium, electrolyte, and the electrolyte rental product to key global markets (US, UK/EU and China).