Environment

Environment [icon]

We act in a manner that is sustainable and environmentally responsible, applying professional and innovative methods.


Climate Action [icon]

UNSDG13

Climate Action:

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Sylvania is aware of both the growing demand for ESG transparency and the needs of our investors; seeking investments characterised by risk-adjusted financial returns, long-term value, and environmental resilience. Practically this makes for good business and simultaneously serves our investors, wanting long-term value from their investments during this climate transition and reduced carbon emissions.

In anticipation of this Sylvania pro-actively carried out its Pre-Feasibility Investigation into a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Compliance exercise for its South African operations. Even though there is a carbon tax levied on the mining industry in South Africa, Sylvania has ensured that its operations are below the current threshold. Furthermore, following on from this feasibility exercise, Sylvania management and operations have begun the following:

  • Greenhouse gas data collection (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, refrigeration gases), in anticipation of reporting in metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) for Scope 1 and 2 emissions in the coming financial years; and
  • Engaging with our supply chain to estimate and report material upstream and downstream (GHG Protocol Scope 3) emissions where appropriate. Management expects to be able to report on scope 3 in three to four years.

Sylvania’s journey includes expanding its ESG reporting commitments (beyond water, energy, and employee and community development) for its 2022 financial year, integrating fit for purposes metrics, environmental performance, climate risk mitigation, and where practical – alignment at corporate and operational level.

On this basis the following is proposed:

  • Combatting climate change risks and impacts in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 –
    • Through an updated strategy which will consider Sylvania’s ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, ensure climate resilience and move towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions;
    • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards by including these in current risk management framework; and
    • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction.
  • Reliable, and sustainable energy in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17 –
    • Investigate solar and heat exchange energy opportunities for the offices at each of the operations; and
    • Report on energy efficiency projects implemented in the last five years at each of the operations.
  • Sustainable management of water resources in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 –
    • Investigate increased water-use efficiency, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater at each of the operations;
    • Awareness and demarcation on site plans of the water resources at the operations (water-related ecosystems – wetlands, drainage lines, aquifers and clean and dirty storm water); and
    • Report on increased water-use efficiency over the last 5 years at each of the operations.

Clean Water and Sanitation[icon]

UNSDG6

Clean Water and Sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

In terms of water management, all Sylvania plants are included in the integrated water reticulation circuits of their host mines. The figures listed below do not take any water consumption figures of the host mine into account. Water enters the Sylvania circuit through the current arisings it receives from the host mine, and it leaves the circuit through either its products (Cr2O3 concentrate or PGM concentrate) – or it is lost to the process (consumed) or alternatively through the tailings stream. The tailings are deposited onto a tailings dam, where most water is recovered into the return water dam, and recirculated to the host mine process. Losses on the tailings dams take the form of evaporation into the atmosphere. Make-up water is derived from the dewatering of the host mine underground mining areas.

Table 2: Total water usage at Sylvania operations (excluding host mine)
 FY2021FY2020FY2019
Water consumed in products (m3) 71,113 60,500 62,000

The increase in water consumed is attributable to the increase in both feed and product.

Sylvania Tailings Dam Risk Mitigation Measures [PDF - 508KB]


Affordable and Clean Energy [icon]

UNSDG7

Affordable and Clean Energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Table 3: Average tons treated per kWh
Power consumption 2021 [graph]

Energy supply remains a concern for the company, given the ongoing power interruptions from the South African power utility, infrastructure vandalism and cable theft. Despite this, the teams have kept the plants running with minimal interruptions, and the throughput in tons of material per kWh consumed is increasing.

The installation of Power Factor Correction (PFC) equipment at both the Lannex and Doornbosch plants during September 2020 and March 2021 respectively was completed during the financial year. This equipment serves to reduce the amount of real energy drawn by the plants. These were the last two plants to have such equipment installed, with the exception being Tweefontein, where a much larger PFC system was built on the mine’s main supply when the plant was originally built.

All three Eastern Limb plants have had their power supply from Eskom upgraded, with the Lannex upgrade completed in September 2020, and Doornbosch coming on line during March 2021. Tweefontein came online during April 2021. At all three plants this has enabled us to keep the plants running without the need to co-generate power, and generators are now used for standby duty only. Presently only Tweefontein is capable of running the entire plant utilising generators. A second generator is being upgraded to supplement the unit already at Lannex, and together these two machines will be capable of keeping the major portion of the plant running.

The Tweefontein line upgrade has not been able to make any real significant improvement to the supply required by the mine, and although the Company is presently running on Eskom power, the mine is planning extensions which will require additional power. The Company is currently considering how best to deal with these constraints in the future.

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