Integrated Annual Review 2012 Annual Financial Report 2012 Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Regional overview  

5.3.1 Managing our impacts across the mine lifecycle

Our approach to managing the environmental impacts of our operations and exploration activities is defined by our sustainable development framework, as well as the ISO 14001 international environmental management standard. In 2012, we spent a total of US$152 million on environmental management.

All of our operations are certified to the ISO 14001 international environmental management standard and the International Cyanide Management Code.

During 2012, we initiated an Environmental and Legal Due Diligence exercise across all of our regions using a team of independent internal and external environmental and legal experts. The task was to:

  • Reassess our understanding of the environmental baseline conditions at each of our operations
  • Identify potential legal/permitting and environmental related liabilities and risks (if any) that may have arisen since the last due diligence exercise
  • Identify potential opportunities for improving our existing environmental management practices

Figure 5.15: Group environmental performance (pre-unbundling)

Group   2012   2011   2010   2009   2008  
Environmental incidents (Level 2 and 3)   69   56   143   235   330  
Water withdrawal (Ml)   88,477   78,236   76,326   72,403   75,950  
Water discharge (Ml)   45,911   42,482   48,080   n/a   n/a  
Closure costs (US$m)   492   440   443   366   304  
CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2) (’000 tonnes)1   5,112   5,298   5,350   5,507   5,212  
CO2 emissions (scope 3) (’000 tonnes)2   1,172   792   7823   458   n/a  
Carbon intensity (tonnes CO2-e/oz)4   1.68   1.43   1.39   1.41   1.49  
NO, SO and other emissions (tonnes)   5,892   5,358   5,871   5,379   5,528  
Ozone depleting emissions5   n/a   n/a   n/a   n/a   n/a  
Cyanide consumption (tonnes)   19,662   23,750   21,487   22,165   18,922  
Mining waste (’000 tonnes)   188,120   189,409   193,577   167,569   103,856  
Materials (’000 tonnes)   314   336   325   269   264  
1 Figures exclude fugitive mine methane emissions
2 The increase in Scope 3 emissions is mainly attributable to an increased range of materials included in the ‘purchased goods and services category’, as well as changes in operating conditions, which increased emissions from ‘fuel and energy related’ activities
3 Enhanced calculation methodology implemented in 2010, meaning 2010-2012 figures not comparable with 2009 figure
4 Scope 1 and 2 emissions only
5 Although no data exists for ozone-depleting emissions by weight, this has not been identified as a relevant/material issue under our ISO 14001-compliant Environmental Management Systems

Figure 3.15.1 Level 3 environmental incidents

Operation Date Description Impact Remedial action  
KDC > 4 April 2012 Bursting of disposal slurry pipe due to general wear and tear Tailings spillage into the surrounding environment, resulting in soil contamination. The volume of the spillage is not known
- Plant stopped immediately and pipe replaced
- Laboratory analysis of affected water
- Transportation of spilled tailings back to plant for safe storage
South Deep > 8 May 2012 Overflow of pollution control dam due to a technical failure within the power pump system Discharge of an unknown quantity  of water from the pollution control dam to the Kariegaspruit stream
- Full chemical analysis carried out on samples from the overflow and stream
- Power pump repaired
- Enhanced monitoring and maintenance programme
South Deep > 12 July 2012 Failure of both pumps at the sewage plant, compounded by heavy rainfall Release of approximately 2,453m³ of untreated sewage effluent into the Leeuspruit stream
- Pumps repaired and  spare pump stored onsite to address future failures
- Enhanced management of sewage, including additional maintenance of sewage plant equipment and infrastructure
South Deep > 15 November 2012 Exhaustion of chlorine gas supplies at the sewage plant resulting in e-coli in the sewage effluent exceeding the water use licence limit of 500mg/l Release of 1,490 KL of untreated sewage water
- Change of chlorine gas supplier to ensure timely delivery of supplies
- Storage of increased numbers of chlorine gas cylinders onsite to mitigate future shortages
South Deep > 5 December 2012 Sinkhole (measuring approximately 3.94m by 4.60m and 21m-25m in depth) created near to access road due a to a build-up of water. Possible triggers include a blocked storm water channel, a leaking sewage pipe and/or heavy rainfall Loss of vegetation and potential safety hazard
- Access road closed
- Sinkhole backfilled
- Ongoing settlement monitoring implemented
South Deep >18 December 2012 Rupture in the tailings pipeline due to abrasion Spillage of 2.5 KL tailings into the storm water trenches and surrounding area
- Contractors deployed to clean up spillage
- Thicker rubber lining fitted to tailings pipe
South Deep > 23 December 2012 Power failure at the sewage treatment plant due to a burnt-out transformer Approximately 3,400KL of untreated sewerage released into the environment between 23 and 26 December
- Electricians deployed to repair the transformer
- Chlorine tablets used for effluent disinfection during the power outage
- Investigation of potential application of standby generator to address future power failures