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Environment

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Environment

We know an effective Environmental Management System (EMS) is key to sound environmental practice, reducing environmental risk and achieving continual improvement.

First Quantum is implementing an EMS at each of our operations. These are aligned with the ISO14001:2015 Standard and are subject to external compliance audits.

Key aspects of our environmental program include:

  • Compliance with host country laws and regulations, our own environmental policy and international guidelines and standards, where appropriate
  • Sound baseline environmental and social risk assessments and mitigation strategies
  • Regular auditing of environmental management plans and systems
  • Efficient use of natural resources
  • Proper management of effluent, emissions, waste and biodiversity
  • Frequent and regular stakeholder engagement, including at key project stages
  • Emergency preparedness and response plans
  • Climate change management and strategies – see our 2019 FQM Environment,Safety and Social Data Report for details
  • Safe design, construction, operations and management of our Tailings Storage Facilities – click here to learn about our approach to tailings storage

Waste

We carefully manage waste generated as part of our operations through our commitment to sustainable operations.

Our operations generate waste in a number of ways which are carefully managed as part of our commitment to sustainable operations.

  • Hazardous wastes typically include used lubricants and process related chemicals, while non-hazardous wastes include organic matter, wood and plastics;
  • Waste from mining activities include overburden, waste rock, tailings, slag and waste treatment solids. Waste rock is stored in waste rock dumps adjacent to pits or safely used on site. Processing operations generate tailings which are deposited in tailings storage facilities. Smelting activities generate slag which is stored in dedicated slag dumps. Waste treatment solids are generated during the treatment of water;
  • Recycled waste includes waste oil and scrap metals.

We manage 23 Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs), of which 10 are active and 13 are closed. We recognise potential TSF failure as one of our most significant risks. That’s why all our TSFs have therefore been designed in accordance with the guidelines of the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD), the guidelines of the International Council on Metals and Mining (ICMM) and the Canada Dam Association (CDA).

Water

We consider minimising water consumption to be a core commitment and achieve this by improving efficiencies and re-use.

We measure water inputs and outputs in accordance with the Water Accounting Framework (WAF) for the Minerals Industry (Minerals Council of Australia, 2014). Ongoing initiatives to increase efficiency and reduce losses are reflected in improved water reuse percentages.