The mining industry remains one of the key primary industries in most economies. In most of the countries where we operate, the mining sector is a major contributor to national GDP in terms of primary income and secondary income through related activities such as the establishment of small and medium enterprises and flow on job creation. In many instance mining becomes the lifeline for the establishment of new and surrounding communities.
Due to the large sphere of influence mining can have on its surrounding environment, we are aware that with mining comes great responsibility, a responsibility we gladly acknowledge and embrace with the aim of making a positive difference wherever we go.
We take this responsibility seriously and commit to fulfilling our obligations by developing and implementing relevant and best practice measures at all our operations.
Preceding the development of any mining operation comes much entrepreneurialism, financial risk, testing, financial modelling and the securing of debt and regulatory approvals.
Each of the above facets of assessing a mining project takes time and community engagement has become a very important aspect of any proposed mining development. We believe that a transparent approach to engagement with stakeholders across all areas of a proposed development can have major positive social and financial impacts for communities in the long term.
Mining operations consume varying quantities of water throughout the various stages and processes involved in the operations. We are committed to ensuring that any water that is used and discharged at our operations are treated to acceptable quality before it is returned to the environment. In some cases, we are even able to improve the quality of water returned to the ecosystem. As part of our water-saving measures, wherever possible we implement recirculation and re-use measures to minimise the amount of fresh water consumed by our processing activities.
As part of our objective to build a sustainable mining environment, we are actively contributing to reducing our carbon footprint. Additionally, we commit to implementing the use of alternative energy sources where ever and whenever economically possible. Therefore, we are continuously looking for alternative energy sources, suitable to the running of our operations. We believe that truly taking part in sustainable mining means continuous improvement by keeping up with trends in alternative energy as well as finding processes and equipment that are more energy efficient.
Tailings & Waste Management
Common by-products of mining operations are waste rock, process tailings and regular industrial waste (oils, greases, metal, packaging etc). Having sustainable mining entrenched in our work ethos, means that we are using industry best practices when it comes to tailings management. At our new operations, we are actively seeking more environmentally friendly and safe options for treating, handling and storage of tailings. Rigorous and continuous monitoring programs are followed to ensure minimum environmental impact results from tailings disposal. Waste rock is another type of waste material of which mining operations generate in varying volumes. As with tailings, we are researching and developing innovative ways to handle our waste rock to prevent any adverse impact on the environment. With our objective of being a sustainable miner, we subscribe to a reduce, re-use and recycle principle. Particularly when it comes to everyday waste generated by the day-to-day operation of a mine. As part of our reduce, re-use and recycle principle, improving efficiency is critical to reducing the generation of waste. We believe in separating waste at the source to facilitate more effective recycling. Storage areas comply with and in some instances exceed environmental legal requirements to prevent adverse impacts on the environment.
Cyanide remains a fundamental chemical used in the gold production process. Cyanide chemistry and its fate in the environment is well known and documented.
Importantly cyanide can be considered as a simple salt. It is an effective lixiviant for gold and silver, is not biologically cumulative and can be effectively removed from tailings streams by well-known and practiced detoxification processes.
Key members of the OroTree have been handling and managing cyanide in processing operations for many years. The well-known health and safety risks posed by cyanide requires professional management. As such, we implement industry leading practices when it comes to the transportation, delivery, handling, storage, use and detoxification / disposal of cyanide. Compliance with legally required standard codes of practice for cyanide is our minimum standard. In-line with our reduce, re-use and recycle principle, we are continuously seeking innovative processes in the production process that would reduce the amount of cyanide used.
Reclamation & Rehabilitation
Mining operations typically occupy large areas of land to accommodate administration and office buildings, shafts, declines (portals), metallurgical treatment plants, engineering and maintenance facilities, waste rock dumps, tailings facilities, etc. In the case of open cut mining, operations typically disturb large areas of the environment in the process of mining the ore to be processed for recovery of the contained valuable mineral or metal.
As part of our commitment to be a sustainable mining company, we endeavour to minimise our disturbance footprint. Open cut mining is done using concurrent mining and rehabilitation practices to reduce the disturbed area of land to a minimum with rehabilitation of the highest standard. We strive to return the landscape to at least the same and preferably a better state than it was found. Suitable and mutually agreed rehabilitation plans are developed and implemented, which sometimes involves the creation of artificial lakes. The rehabilitation of land is always done in consultation with local communities to ensure that our activities are also to their benefit long after mine closure. We are committed to building operations that can easily be re-purposed after mine closure, thereby ensuring that buildings and infrastructure can be utilised long beyond the life of any mining operation.
For mining to be truly sustainable, it requires a co-operative spirit and a willingness to engage with all stakeholders. Our success will be determined through stakeholder engagement building solid relationships to include employees, local communities, regulators, government/s, suppliers, shareholders and interest groups. It is only through continuous, transparent and honest interaction with all stakeholders that we can be successful.
From the very beginning of an operation we aim to establish stable communication channels using methods such as websites, Facebook pages, periodic newsletters, local telephone numbers and WhatsApp, dedicated email addresses and open forum meetings. These methods of communication are available for stakeholders to raise concerns or simply just interact with us.
We take pride in our programs for local community engagement. Years of experience has taught us the importance of actively listening to the needs of sub-groups within a local community. We identify individuals that are sensitive to the needs, culture and traditions of our local communities to constantly engage with them. OroTree plays a key role in balancing the needs of all stakeholders, even sub-groups within a community, to the mutual benefit of everyone.
Local Sustainable Development
We have a self-acknowledged local sustainable development responsibility in the areas where we operate. To encourage and stimulate local sustainable development, we believe in implementing programs that will truly make a difference such as enabling local communities to acquire portable skills whether through sponsorship, subsidy or bursary. Our collective future is in the hands of our children and therefore we believe in investing in education. Educated children become educated adults. We work closely with local government to identify community specific needs and assist with the progression of local economic initiatives. Providing stability through job and financial security is one of the main building blocks of any community. It is therefore a priority for us to employ from local communities and to provide the necessary coaching, training and upskilling to ensure the successful growth and development of the communities.