More than a mine

Palabora is located directly adjacent to the world-renowned eco-tourism attraction, the Kruger National Park. Given this unique geographical positioning, we have initiated several onsite wildlife management and cultural heritage programmes as part of our ongoing sustainability drive.

Additionally, we are working diligently to minimise the effects of our operations on the environment, such as our sulphur dioxide emissions, greenhouse gases, dust and water pollution - through ongoing operational efficiency improvements, the maintenance of ageing equipment and advances in our logistics management.

As the country's only producer of refined copper, we have the capacity and responsibility to create a business that is socially innovative, ecologically aware and restorative in behaviour.

Proactive environmental monitoring

As a result of Palabora's location next to the Kruger National Park, the impact of the company's operations on the surrounding environment is closely scrutinised by the South African Government, as well as environmental groups, the South African National Parks Board and the local community.

Palabora continuously monitors and evaluates the environmental risks associated with the mine's activities, products and services so as to mitigate or minimise potential risks. For instance, the risk of exceeding regulatory gas emissions together with the risk of tailings failure is closely monitored as it has an impact on both the community and the environment.

The company actively identifies and addresses legislation relevant to the company's operations and provides employees and contractors with extensive training on relevant environmental standards and compliance issues. This creates awareness for potential environmental impacts and also encourages employees to strive for high levels of competency in their work, which in itself helps to prevent unfavourable environmental practices.

Palabora is certified for the ISO 14001 environmental management system, and maintains a plan for the eventual closure of its operations, which includes the management of social and environmental impacts. The company operates according to a strict environmental policy and has produced several fact sheets on environmental issues for public viewing - see Links below.

Environmental education

Palabora runs an environmental education programme with schools in the Ba-Phalaborwa area to raise awareness for environmental and sustainable development issues, as highlighted by the International Environmental Calendar.

Local schools participate by attending special events on the calendar (coordinated by Palabora staff), such as Arbor Day, Heritage Day and Birding Day. During Water and Wetland Week, for instance, learners participate by cleaning and monitoring water lands and discovering eco-systems inside and around wetlands. They are also encouraged to identify ways and means of mitigating the impact of human activities that could destroy the environment; and compile reports around various themes, including: resource use, local and global issues, nature and biodiversity, healthy living and, community and heritage.

With more than 20 local schools participating annually, this long-standing programme strives to instil an ethos of caring and personal accountability in as wide a base possible of local young people.