■Adequate funding is important to environmental protection
Zijin’s policies state that environmental protection mechanisms should be implemented in all of its mines and should not be restricted by geographic, climate environments or operational conditions. Funding is crucial in particular, with focus on prevention of ecological deterioration.
Since 2001, more than 20% of the Group’s capital expenditure budget has been allocated for environmental protection purposes, including construction and installation of environmental protection facilities, implementation of sophisticated monitoring systems, and various training programs.
Two key examples include
▲Over $160 million has been spent on the flagship Zijinshan Gold & Copper Mine, to build high-standard ecological and environmental protection systems.
▲A total of $112 million was allocated to the construction of environmental facilities in Zijin Copper Smelter.
Zijin considers these decisions provide long-term benefits for the health of the environment and eco-system of the area, and hence demonstrate Zijin’s determination to uphold high environmental standards.
■Technology is key to effective implementation
Recently technologies have been increasingly used to assist environmental protection, consistent with Zijin’s goal of “becoming a leading international mining company featured with advanced technology and innovation”.
Zijin emphasizes energy conservation and benefits by applying the latest energy saving technologies. Examples include:
The Zijin owned Inner Mongolia Zinc Company was among the first in China to have adopted the internationally advanced roasting-smoke for heat-recycling technology in its zinc smelter. As a result, it achieved 30% energy saving and conserved 10 Million kWh per year. The company was subsequently selected by the Chinese government as a national model for energy conservation.
▲Redesigning and reinstalling aspects of processing and flow sheet systems, the 200,000 ton-per-year Zijin Copper smelter made significant improvements in minimizing impacts on environment: this has seen carbon dioxide discharges at 20% of the national standard or this type of industrial plant. In addition to this tailings at the plant are recovered for cement production, heat is recycled for power generation (35M kWh per year) and waste water is reused for production and other purposes (fresh water conservation of 1million cubic meters per year). Energy consumption of copper cathode production is now 238kgce/t, 56% below China’s national standard for this type of plant.
▲Zijinshan Gold & Copper Mine, by applying new processing technology methods has increased recovery of gold and copper metals from otherwise uneconomic low grade ore. By recovering up to 1.6 million ounces of gold and 800 thousand tons of copper, Zijin has been able to remove large areas of stockpiled low grade ore and other waste, paving the way for land reclamation.
■Re-vegetation as a cornerstone practice
Zijin believes that clean air, water and land that support a re-vegetated and beautiful environment are fundamental in our society. Our environmental protection practices should not be restricted by geographical or climatic environments, though they will be tailored for the ecosystem that they are within. In most areas of China, forest coverage is key to a sustainable eco-system and healthy natural environment.
In the Zijinshan area, through funding by the mining operations in continuous re-vegetation programs, the forest cover rate has increased year after year such that now the re-vegetation is significantly higher than before the mine was developed. This has seen noteworthy improvements in soil erosion, water management and the natural ecosystem.
In arid region such as the Aletai area of the Gobi Desert, Zijin in conjunction with its copper mine has built a greenbelt area of around 40 acres by planting 65,000 trees, achieving over 60% green coverage rate in the mining district. After visiting the area, Mr. Xu Shaoshi, Minister of Ministry of Land and Resources, commended that Zijin has created an oasis in the desert and turned a barren area into a vibrant new city for community happiness.
■Environmental management built into corporate decision making
China is a victim of pollution and environmental damage from its rapid economic development. In response the country has dramatically raised environmental standards and vigorously enforced laws and regulations. The mining industry has adopted a series of high standard regulation and practices to enhance environmental protection.
Zijin considers that proper planning in the development stage is imperative to the sustainability for any mining projects, and believes potential environmental risk should be identified and properly addressed at the start of the decision making process. In order to do this, Zijin has incorporated environment impact assessment into project evaluation systems and prioritizes adequate measures to prevent adverse environmental consequences.
In addition, senior management commit themselves to durable environmental protection. This is reinforced by an internal accountability mechanism so that decision makers are personally held responsible for any adverse decisions.