Home  >  Sustainability  >  Community & People  >  Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a legacy

Our approach to mine closure begins before mining starts, carries on throughout each mine’s life and reflects our goal of sharing benefits and maximizing value for local communities.

How we close our mines is just as important as how we build and operate them. When done well, mine closure can leave a lasting, positive and sustainable legacy.

All our policies and procedures in this area are detailed further in our Closure Approach.

Our closure plans are designed to be iterative and agile, to consider long-term principles and are regularly updated. Our General Managers are required to set and achieve closure planning and concurrent targets and performance indicators so progress can be tracked. A proportion of each mine’s annual budget is also set aside to ensure closure obligations are met. 

A New Start for Buzwagi

Our Buzwagi mine was an economic powerhouse for Tanzania’s Shinyanga region for nearly 15 years, but its operational life ended in July 2021, with the mine officially closing in July 2022. From our perspective, however, that is not the end of the story.

During 2022, we focused on Buzwagi’s physical and environmental closure and plans to transform the mine into a special economic zone. In 2021, a feasibility study showed the creation of a special economic zone could:

  • Create more than 3,000 jobs annually.
  • Generate more than $150,000 each year from service levies for the local municipality
  • Deliver more than $4.5 million in employment taxes each year.

In 2022, we joined forces with the municipality to establish teams to drive the planning, preparation, and development of the Special Economic Zone. We have created:

  • An implementation team to tackle the financial, logistics and operational hurdles of transformation
  • A technical team to drive interest from local, regional and global businesses
  • A steering committee to take overall responsibility for the project.

We also invited representatives from a range of companies and potential investors to visit the site and explore options, and have received commitment from two large firms and interest from many more. We have worked also alongside the municipality to build a new airport terminal to boost the number of flights to other hubs in the region to increase ease of access.

Management approach: Closure

Governance and accountability

Our President and CEO is ultimately responsible for environmental and social management with our Group Sustainability Executive and our Director, Reclamation and Closuretaking a lead in driving the implementation of our environmental and social policies, the associated procedures and overall performance – including for closure planning.  

The Group Sustainability Executive is supported by regional-level environmental leads as well as dedicated site-level environmental teams who drive implementation at the operational level, and our social teams who help drive develop programmes throughout the mine life that deliver positive social closure. 

Policies and procedures

Our approach to mine closure reflects our ambition to share the benefits with stakeholders. Even in closure, our goal is to maximize the value for the local community. How we manage both the environmental and social aspects of closure is set out in our Closure Standard – which was refreshed in 2022. This requires us to:

  • Apply a mitigation hierarchy to manage our negative environmental impacts, so we avoid these wherever possible and minimize those which cannot be avoided;
  • Minimize our use of water and control our impacts on water quality;
  • Engage with stakeholders including local communities to support sustainable management of water resources for the benefit of all local users; and
  • Use energy as efficiently as possible.

To deliver on our commitments under our Closure Standard and applicable regulatory requirements, we establish closure plans for all our mines before construction begins. These plans outline the steps to be taken throughout the mine life to deliver an effective and environmentally sound end to operations, including rehabilitation of the surrounding area and protection of water resources. These plans are regularly updated, and a proportion of each mine’s annual budget is set aside and ringfenced each year to ensure all closure obligations are met.

All operational sites develop detailed and quantifiable concurrent rehabilitation plans each year and we report annually in our sustainability report on the total amount of land disturbed and not yet rehabilitated at our mine sites.

Our closure plans identify steps to be taken throughout mine life to deliver safe and sustainable closure from an environmental perspective, as well as elements of social closure.   The plans are designed to be iterative and agile, while considering long term principles, and are regularly updated.  

We regularly undertake Closure Cost Assessments to review and update each operations closure costs and update budgets and financial planning. These reviews are undertaken both internally and by external consultants and reviewed by our auditors.

Key targets and metrics

  • Proportion of operational sites achieving annual reclamation targets.
  • Annually we also report:
    • Total land disturbed and not yet rehabilitated
    • Total amount of land newly disturbed
    • Total amount of land newly rehabilitated or divested
    • Total land disturbed and not yet rehabilitated
back to top