Paladin recognises that excellence in environmental performance is essential to business success and to achieving its sustainable development objectives.
Paladin aims to minimise its impact on the environment through:
- effective environmental management across all aspects of its operations;
- preventing, minimising, mitigating and remediating any adverse impacts of its operations on the environment; and
- achieving continuous improvement in environmental performance.
Paladin’s environmental approach is managed through the Company’s Environmental Policy, which focuses on:
- complying with applicable environmental legislation as a minimum and applying corporate and industry standards;
- ensuring that an Environmental Management System (EMS) is in place for its operations;
- identifying, assessing and managing environmental risks and impacts related to its activities;
- developing and implementing environmental objectives and targets;
- implementing and assigning accountabilities for its environmental standards and guidelines and procedures;
- striving to achieve continuous improvement in environmental performance;
- preventing and mitigating pollution from its operations;
- ensuring employees and contractors are fully aware of their environmental responsibilities;
- undertaking regular inspections and audits on environmental performance;
- reporting environmental performance openly and transparently;
- establishing grievance mechanisms for all stakeholders where environmental complaints can be received and addressed; and
- making the Policy available to the public.
The Environmental Policy is implemented through endorsing Paladin’s environmental standards and conducting performance reviews and reporting. Environmental Managers at LHM and KM are responsible for site-based performance and report directly to their respective General Manager Operations. LHM and KM are also governed by site specific environmental requirements and associated management systems to further promote good environmental practice at site-level, taking into account the local operational environment.
To complement Paladin’s Environmental Policy and to enhance environmental governance, each operating site is required to develop and implement an EMS that is consistent with the
ISO14001:2004 EMS requirements . LHM has an Operational Environmental Management Plan (EMP) that has been submitted, as required, to the Namibian Government and other third parties. A Care and Maintenance EMP to be followed during the care and maintenance phase is being implemented at KM.
Mine closure planning is a key component of Paladin’s commitment to sustainable development, and a Corporate Closure Standard has been endorsed by the Paladin Board. This requires Paladin to leave its sites in a safe and stable manner at closure and to minimise environmental and social impacts. Both LHM and KM revised their Closure Strategies during the reporting period. The LHM Draft Closure Plan was also revised and the KM Draft Closure Plan is in preparation. The closure cost provision estimates were updated during the reporting period to reflect the current revised plans.
PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING
Paladin’s Environmental Audit Standard ensures that the environmental performance of each operation is monitored and that audit findings are reported to Paladin’s Board. Internal and external environmental audits are undertaken at both LHM and KM to ensure compliance with Company and regulatory requirements, as well as with environmental standards set by the World Bank’s Equator Principles and other industry bodies, particularly those specified for the uranium industry.
During the reporting period, environmental inspections and audits were undertaken at LHM and KM and management actions developed and implemented to manage the identified issues. The key issues identified during the audits during the reporting period that required specific management measures were related to tailings and water management. Two Care and Maintenance Audits were undertaken at KM during the reporting period to check that the site is being well managed and adequate environmental standards are being maintained even with the limited resources available during care and maintenance.
Both LHUPL and PAL prepare various environmental reports for the Namibian and Malawi Governments, respectively. Regulatory reporting for LHM is currently conducted bi-annually for general environmental reports and annually for specific aspects such as water. Regulatory reporting for KM is conducted on a monthly and quarterly basis for monitoring data and regulatory compliance, and on an annual basis for general environmental reporting.
A centralised environmental database, maintained at Paladin’s Perth Office, enables the Company to continually monitor, report and evaluate data. Any anomalies in the data are investigated and the causes are addressed as they arise.
During the year at LHM, an ISO 14001:2004 surveillance audit was conducted by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance. The key assessment from this audit is described below:
Audit Outcome (high level)
- The EMS at Langer Heinrich Mine continues to meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2004. The management system continues to be effectively implemented and therefore certification continues.
- The improvements to the documented system have recently been completed.
- A more focused set of quantified improvement objectives have been established for the year and progress is monitored on a monthly basis
- The completion of the Bicarbonate Recovery project has delivered significant reduction in raw material consumption
- The process of fully understanding why incidents/spillages occur, and taking effective corrective action needs to improve. This can have significant financial and operational benefits by reducing the likelihood of similar incidents in the future.
- A documented investigation and corrective action is required to understand the events that have resulted in excess surface water in TSF #3.
In essence the key findings relate to the lack of a formal environmental incident investigation tool and associated incident action management tool which aid root cause identification, implementation and tracking of corrective actions, the documented process and the lessons learned and communication of these. Since the audit, an incident investigation method, Incident Cause Analysis Method (ICAM), has been introduced site-wide to investigate all significant incidents including safety, environmental and operational.
LHU continued to operate in line with all legal and other requirements. The following two permit applications were renewed:
- LHU is currently abstracting water from the Swakop River under Permit no. 10456, which is valid for a period of five years expiring on 24 April 2021. This permit was renewed during April 2016. This permit allows for the abstraction of Swakop River water from three boreholes to an annual abstraction limit of 500 000m3.
- Waste water and effluent discharge permits, permit number 669 (valid to 30 July 2020)
 LHM’s EMS was originally certified in 2009, recertified in 2012 and recently recertified in April 2015. KM’s Environment Department is in the process of developing an EMS
 All of Paladin’s policies are reviewed and endorsed by the Board. To view Paladin’s environmental or any other policy or internally developed codes please go to: http://www.paladinenergy.com.au/corporate-governance