Xstrata has been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since 2006. Xstrata Coal has a robust track record of leading practice social, environmental and ethical performance at our operations around the world, and of working cooperatively and respectfully with local communities.
By following and implementing internationally recognised standards of sustainable development wherever we operate, we are improving our productivity, maintaining our licence to operate and simultaneously helping address the specific needs of individual cultures.
Through such actions, we have become recognised as one of the most responsible mining companies in the world, with a global reputation for excellence.
We take responsibility for the environment very seriously and we are committed to preserving the long-term health, function and viability of the natural environments affected by our operations.
Going beyond legislative requirements, we proactively manage any potential impacts upon the local environments in which we operate, implementing specific initiatives to address matters such as dust, noise, greenhouse gas emissions, subsidence and water management.
Our operations generate financial benefits and contribute towards the economic development and prosperity of the countries in which we operate and the communities close to our sites, through the direct and indirect creation of jobs, royalties, taxes, wages, benefits, goods and services and port and rail.
Our approach to sustainability
Sustainable mining is both complex and challenging to get right. Our approach has been to create a robust framework for integrating sustainability into our business strategy. Extracting and processing non-renewable natural resources, often from remote sites or emerging economies presents sustainability challenges. We believe that mining can be conducted in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable over the long term.
To achieve this, sustainability must be fully integrated into all our business practices. We do this through our sustainability framework, known as GlencoreXstrata Corporate Practice. We assess sustainability risks as part of our enterprise risk management process and our sustainability strategy is an integral part of our business strategy.
Minimising our impact on the environment
Mining inevitably has some impact on the natural environment. We aim to minimise these impacts, rehabilitate the areas we disturb during our operations and preserve or restore the long-term health and viability of the environment around our mines. Steps we take include:
- restoring mine areas to conditions as much as possible like those before mining started and, where we can, creating protected areas like the 30 hectares set aside at the United coal mine in New South Wales, Australia
- reducing our contribution to climate change by being more energy efficient and using more renewable energy
- using water more efficiently to ensure there is enough for everyone who needs it
- managing wastes and closed mines to avoid contaminating land
- researching ways to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions when our customers use coal as an energy source
Management accountability is central to our approach and we undertake regular internal and third-party audits to assess performance against our standards and how we are managing sustainability risks.
Living and working with local communities
We interact with many diverse communities around the world and we recognise the importance of involving local communities in decisions that affect them. In short, listening to the needs and concerns of local people helps us to run a more successful business.
We seek to engage openly and honestly with communities to address concerns and we respect local laws, customs and culture. Before we start operating in an area, we conduct studies with local people, governments and other stakeholders to determine both the potential positive and negative impacts of our operations on the community. Topics covered include:
- indigenous peoples and cultural diversity
- community health
- our funding of community initiatives
- our contribution to the regional economy
- artisanal and small-scale mining operations conducted by other companies in the region
By continuing to engage with local communities throughout the lifecycle of a mine from before early exploration through operation to closure, we can involve them in developing solutions to address the changing risks and opportunities that arise.