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Biodiversity

 

The key biodiversity aspects for Paladin’s operations are water, air, flora, weeds, fauna, land use and rehabilitation; all of which are considered in the early stages of project development, right through operations, to eventual closure.

Paladin aims to conserve biodiversity by obtaining knowledge of local ecosystems, so as to avoid or minimise the impacts its activities may have on biodiversity. Prior to project development and expansion projects, environmental baseline studies are conducted, potential impacts assessed and environmental management plans and monitoring programmes established, to minimise impacts on biodiversity over the life of the mine

 

 

 

LAND USE AND MANAGEMENT

Paladin’s operations are located in very different land use and climatic settings. LHM is located within a National Park in a desert environment, while KM is situated within a subsistence agricultural region in a tropical climate. Prior to disturbance for project development or expansion projects, baseline studies are conducted to determine land use and land values, including the biodiversity, ecological, social and cultural heritage values of the area proposed for activity. Land clearance processes and procedures are in place at both LHM and KM.

Where impacts are unavoidable, rehabilitation measures are, or will be, undertaken to return disturbed land to a stable, self-sustaining landform compatible with the surrounding environment. Wherever practicable, progressive rehabilitation of disturbed areas is conducted at all of Paladin’s exploration sites and mining operations. Areas disturbed and rehabilitated at LHM and KM are shown in Table 7.

Table 7: Areas of Disturbance and Rehabilitation

Areas (ha)

LHM

KM

2015/2016 

2014/2015

2015/2016

2014/2015

Leased

4,890

4,890

5,500

5,500

Impermeable Surface

86

83 

15

15 

Area Disturbed

Annual

49 

160 

Total

970 

921 

233 

233 

Area Rehabilitated

Annual

3

Total

28

25 

Total area disturbed and not yet rehabilitated

Total

970

921

206

208

At LHM, approximately 970 hectares (ha) of land used for the mining and processing facilities are classified as ‘disturbed’. Of this area, impermeable land [14] comprises approximately 86 ha, with 57ha of that area for mine roads. No rehabilitation was completed at LHM during the reporting period.

At KM, approximately 233 ha of land used for the mining and processing facilities are classified as ‘disturbed’. Of this area, the impermeable land comprises approximately 15 ha. There was no additional disturbance of land during the reporting period as the mine is on care and maintenance.  Approximately 3 hectares of land were rehabilitated during the reporting period, bringing the total rehabilitated land to date to approximately 28 ha.

PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY

LHM has a Biodiversity Management Plan, with associated programmes and procedures, in place to address and manage potential impacts in areas where species were identified as needing protection. As LHM is located in the Namib Naukluft National Park (NNNP), extensive biodiversity studies have been conducted in the area to establish biodiversity composition, structure and processes. Using the results from these studies, analyses have been undertaken and management measures proposed to avoid areas ranked as high sensitivity and to minimise negative impacts on biodiversity in general. The entire 4,890 ha Mining Lease Area can be considered a protected area as it is located within a National Park. The NNNP is classified as a desert biome that supports a high number of endemic plant, insect and reptile species. The NNNP is also a conservation area for the Mountain Zebra. Approximately 68 ha of the Mining Lease Area has been designated through biodiversity studies as sensitive and requires special management.

903 Flora and fauna species listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and 1,159 listed on the Namibian ‘special status’ lists have been identified as likely to occur within the LHM Mining Lease Area. Of the species listed on the IUCN Red List considered to be potentially impacted by the mining activities twenty-eight species are endangered, nineteen are vulnerable and eight are near threatened and 841 of least concern. The species listed on the Namibian ‘special status’ lists that have been observed in the area total 1,159 comprise twenty-five classified as protected, six endemic protected, 213 as endemic least concern, two near endemic vulnerable, 71 near endemic of least concern, and 841 as least concern. None of these species are actually affected by the operation.

KM is located within an area that has been extensively modified by local agricultural and burning practices for subsistence farming. KM is not located within a protected area or an area considered of high biodiversity value and, as such, has no habitat protected areas. There are also no special habitats identified in the KM area. Seven species listed by Malawian legislation have been recorded in the KM area, three of which are listed on the IUCN red list. Two species, Orchidacae and Aloe vera, are considered endangered and the other species Pterocarpus angolensis is near threatened. Management procedures are in place to ensure that searches are undertaken for plants of these species prior to disturbance and any listed plants identified are managed accordingly. KM’s Environmental Management Plan includes a Biodiversity Management Plan.

Aquatic invertebrate monitoring is undertaken to assess the health of the rivers located in the vicinity of KM. One monitoring point, close to a village, is within the section of river used by village residents for domestic purposes such as bathing and washing using detergents, and also for fishing technique using poisonous leaves. Monitoring results during the reporting period indicated that this monitoring point was considered by the evaluation system being applied to be impacted with the most likely cause due to the use of detergents and poisonous leaves for fishing. Monitoring scores from other monitoring locations downstream of the mine indicated a warning of potential impact. However, low flows in the river affects habitat suitability and there was generally very low flow in the river during the reporting period


[14] Land covered by permanent facilities and not available for progressive rehabilitation.

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