We are committed to protecting the environment in which we work and consider compliance with applicable laws and regulations as a minimum standard. We recognise the importance of our role, in an energy-intensive sector, to work to minimise our operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate impact. In time, we anticipate extending our GHG emissions focus beyond our operational boundaries and into our value chain.
We have a good understanding of our local environment from environmental monitoring conducted during South Crofty’s former operational and closure years, supplemented by more recent studies during the successful 2017 permitting process for mine dewatering and water treatment. Once mine dewatering has commenced, monitoring will be conducted to measure the anticipated improvement in the water quality in the Red River downstream of our treated water discharge point. Our current environmental focus is the development of a formal management system for minimising any risk of impacts from the permitted operations and the preparation of environmental monitoring plans and procedures.
We plan to progress initiatives to develop modern, innovative solutions to ensure responsible use of resources, minimise our impacts and, where practicable, achieve positive benefits to the environment. A selection of initiatives identified for investigation include:
- Designing for safe disposal of all mineral processing tailings underground rather than in surface impoundments.
- Potential to heat company buildings using heat exchanged from the warm water pumped from the mine and the air ventilated through it.
- Potential for improvement to the Red River water quality downstream of our discharge point.
- Use of modern ore-sorting technology which will reduce energy consumption during subsequent mineral processing of mined ore.
- Sale of mined non-mineralised rock as aggregate if not stored underground.
- Opportunities for energy efficiency and low-carbon energy where feasible, such as solar power.
- Potential to generate hydro power from discharge of the treated mine water.
We envisage that Cornish Metals’ legacy at South Crofty will be the development of a modern mine with robust environmental protection controls and procedures appropriate to each stage of the mine life.