Environmental & Social Services

Issue: 
#49
Early stakeholder engagement in Sierra Leone to mitigate social impacts from mining projects
Current trends in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector are strongly influenced by the International Finance Corporation and the International Council of Mining and Metals. These organisations emphasise sustainable community development, promoting the following main objectives: • Catalysing economic and social change in areas with limited opportunities for...
Economic Impact Assessments monetise environmental impacts and indirect employment and benefits from mining projects.
Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) look at the impacts of proposed projects, and there is often a tendency to focus narrowly on adverse biophysical impacts. But projects have benefits too, particularly economic benefits, and few competent professionals have the expertise to identify and assess benefits. Since 2005, SRK consultants...
SRK’s recent experience on two controversial projects in South Africa demonstrates the importance of determining which stakeholders to engage early and what information to disclose.
Effective stakeholder engagement requires communicating with stakeholders early in the decision-making process to foster constructive relationships, provide opportunities for collaboration and facilitate stakeholder’s ability to participate early in decisions that may affect their lives. Providing proactive and transparent information to stakeholders early also reduces risks of rumour, speculation, misinformation and...
Adopting the Performance Standards (PS) of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a condition of project financing arrangements with Equator Principles Financial Institutions. Auditing compliance with these standards has highlighted a disconnect between corporate commitments and operational implementation. Much of SRK’s auditing experience throughout Africa is based on regular loan...
Regional infrastructure requires upfront environment and social planning to ensure national buy-in.
For projects of regional significance, strategic assessment in upfront planning is essential. SRK South Africa used this approach in a long-haul fibre optic data cable and a solar energy photovoltaic plant. In 2011 FibreCo Telecommunications appointed SRK Johannesburg to undertake environmental studies for the prefeasibility and feasibility phases of a...
SRK works with national, provincial, and local governments, and land owners to monitor development and environmental impacts in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
Since becoming a democratic state in 1994, South Africa’s policy makers have systematically strengthened the country’s environmental policy framework. South Africa’s environmental laws guiding natural resources management and pollution prevention are world class; however, the lack of capacity, shortage of skills and limited understanding of sustainable development have undermined the...
SRK Consulting looks forward to higher Chinese environmental standards in stormwater management, Acid Mine Drainage, and site contamination.,
SRK China has conducted numerous environmental due diligence projects in China’s mining industry. Based on our site observations, some major environmental issues are either not covered by current Chinese Environmental regulations or not dealt with properly due to a lack of law enforcement. Site contamination assessment has not been required...
Proactive risk management and beyond compliance standards encourage innovation and long-term company success.
While beyond-compliance strategies designed to meet international standards do not always appear to make commercial sense, increasingly companies have trouble justifying a business-as-usual approach. With globalisation and the financial crisis, business is recognising the strategy’s benefits, and the need to manage risk more proactively, particularly in Africa. At Cornell University,...
Implementing environmental management systems requires empathy and persistence to achieve project aims.
Implementing an environmental management system (EMS) can be a tough mission, even for a consultant with experience in about 20 EMSs at mines and processing plants, and who has reviewed environmental management at several mines worldwide. Environmental management is usually not the highest priority at a mine, and, achieving ISO14001...
Air quality assessment for mines requires collecting in depth baseline data and projected particulate matter emission rates.
Air quality impacts traditionally receive less attention in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies since most mines are located in relatively sparsely populated areas. However, in more densely populated countries, an increasing number of mines are situated near residential areas, and most mines create residential development to support their economic activities...
Environmental assessment (Section 20) is crucial component of NI 43-101, including water and waste management and environmental permitting.
The National Instrument (NI) 43-101 is a standard of disclosure developed by the Canadian securities regulatory agencies for mineral projects. Section 20 of a NI 43-101 technical report summarises the available environmental information related to the project; the Qualified Person (QP) then discusses the potential material impacts. Topics required include...
SRK evaluates Kazakhstan uranium mine for compliance with World Nuclear Association's Uranium Stewardship and Sustainable Development standards.
The World Nuclear Association (WNA) has developed a program for Uranium Stewardship and Sustainable Development. It defines Uranium Stewardship as “a program of action based on continued commitment to ensure uranium and its by-products are managed in a safe, environmentally responsible, economically and socially acceptable manner.” Uranium Stewardship entails building...
Mining is a transient activity, prompting critics to doubt the ability of the industry to live up to ambitious claims of sustainability, especially in the communities that host or neighbour the mines and feel the impacts of mining activities. Many former mining towns in Africa and around the world have...
Environmental and social inputs are increasingly important parts of due diligence studies.
The scope of environmental and social (E&S) input to multi-disciplinary due diligence studies has changed radically in the last decade. In the past, the scope was often undefined but now the terms of reference for E&S input can run to several pages. This trend can be partly attributed to the...
The challenge is to manage and limit the impact of mining on water resources and energy needs while still providing sufficient coal to meet power demands.
Extracting coal can often have significant environmental impacts including altered landscapes, lowered air quality and deterioration of water resources by extracting clean water, decanting dirty water and Acid Mine Drainage (AMD). While advances in mining techniques have reduced many negative impacts traditionally associated with coal mining, the paradox exists: industry...
Engaging with local stakeholders and exceeding environmental requirements in early exploration are increasingly important factors in investment.
A trend is growing for exploration companies to be “custodians of value” for their projects. While demonstrating technical value has always been a driver of funding for exploration projects, prospective investors are increasing the pressure to provide environmental and social value as they gradually place more weight on these aspects...
Traditionally, mining companies have based their budgets for closure and rehabilitation on unconditional performance bonds lodged with the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), Western Australia. This can leave companies unprepared for the cost of closing a mine site, as bonds only provide for a portion of rehabilitation costs. In...
SRK understands environmental impacts of underwater oil and gas projects, particularly sound levels and oil spills.
Driven by high oil prices and advances in technology, previous predictions of peak oil appear premature. New exploration frontiers are being opened, and the increasing focus on unconventional resources (e.g. shale gas) is heralding unprecedented changes in the global oil and gas landscape. The environmental risks are generally well known...
SRK facilitated development of Integrated Closure Plans to return disturbed areas to productive and sustainable use.
SRK was appointed by Suralco LLC, a subsidiary of Alcoa, the world’s largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina, to work closely with Alcoa staff in preparing an Integrated Closure Plan (ICP) for its landholdings and concessions located in the Commewijne, Marowijne and Para Districts of Suriname. The ICP...
SRK conducts environmental and social baseline studies to assess impact of Udoken copper project in Russia.
In 2010 SRK Russia started work on the Udokan Copper Project, the biggest copper deposit in Russia, located in the Kalarsky District of the Zabaikalye Region. The sparse population settled near the Baikal-Amur railway in the 1970-1980s, with an expectation of industrial development, including the proposed Udokan Project. Currently, the...
To implement a successful environmental management plan, consider three things: 1. Know what is in your plan: Presumably, you know what commitments have been made in your environmental management plan. But do you know what other commitments have been made in other documents associated with your plan? Are they consistent...
Working with stakeholders and environmental specialists, SRK included ecosystem services into environmental and social impact assessment to meet new international standards.
Ecosystem services are the benefits derived from services within ecosystems that contribute to people’s well-being. If no one benefits from the ecosystem, there is no ecosystem service. Ecosystem services include provisioning (food, freshwater, medicine), regulating (erosion control, flood protection), and cultural services (sacred sites, tourism, recreation), all of which are...
Identifying required information for both environmental and engineering project descriptions ensures project is completed in timely manner.
Regardless of the jurisdiction, a good project description is critical to any environmental and social impact assessment study. Detailed project background information included in the ESIA is mostly extracted from the information generated during the engineering prefeasibility and feasibility studies. However, acquisition of some critical background information may not usually...
SRK fully integrates engineering and environmental / social programs to save time and ensure better results.
Most mining projects follow a typical pattern of evolution. The project begins with a scoping study, followed by a prefeasibility and a feasibility study before moving into detailed design. From an engineering perspective, this process has not changed significantly for decades, with the exception of adding a focus on environmental...
SRK uses tablets, ArcPad, and ArcGIS online to create accurate, paperless, and efficient data collection workflow.
Consultants often use handheld GPS technology to capture simple point information in the field, cross-referencing additional information recorded on a field notebook and field map. The GPS, notebook and map data require time-consuming integration back in the office. With improvements in GIS/GPS technologies, SRK Australia has developed paperless workflows/techniques, using...
Social responsibility in Peru is demonstrated by Ponderosa and their support of Vijus, town nearby, in developing for an independant future.
SVS Ingenieros (SRK’s Peru based subsidiary) has been performing environmental studies for the mining and energy sectors in Peru since 1992 and social studies since 2000. The company has carried out these studies for over 50 clients, including large, medium and small mining companies. Corporate Social Responsibility has gained major...
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