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Environment

Our Environmental Policy focuses on continuous improvement, risk reduction, use of best practice, and compliance. It also covers the management of key environmental issues, including incident and emergency control and the use of environmentally friendly materials.

As with all mining companies, our work involves a number of environmental risks, and to manage these, our Group-wide Environmental Management System (EMS) focuses on driving resource and energy efficiency across the business.

Our in-house engineering company, Polymetal Engineering, works to ensure that all environmental aspects are taken into account during the design, construction and operation of our mines and processing facilities.

Who is responsible

Who is responsible
Securing our energy supply

We monitor power supply and consumption against approved budgets and energy efficiency targets. We also conduct regular energy efficiency audits, and appoint external agencies to inspect our operations and resolve power supply issues.

We refurbished our main power infrastructure and install new equipment to help improve our operational efficiencies.

Air quality

Many of our core activities, including stripping, mined waste storage, ore processing and energy use, generate air emissions. These emissions include carbon dioxide and nitrogen, sulphur oxides and,inorganic dust, the main type of pollutant emissions produced by our activities.

In order to minimise future emissions, we set a corporate goal in 2017:

By 2020 to decrease sulphur dioxide emissions by at least 1% compared to 2016

Corporate goals are part of our Environmental Management System (EMS) and Energy Management System and are met at operations by annual action planning.

Operations with targeted programs for 2018-2019

GHG emissions reduction Renewable energy use Air emissions reduction
Svetloye V V V
Amursk V V
Albazino V V V
Okhotsk hub
Mayskoe V
Dukat hub
Omolon hub V V
Voro V
Komar V
Varvara V V
Kyzyl V
Kapan V

We are especially proud of our following programs aimed at GHG and air emissions reduction:

  • A solar power plant construction and integration with a diesel generator
  • Installation of a wind farm
  • Installation of the additional plates of a heat exchanger in order to update the heat recovery system
  • Installation of a hybrid wind and solar power generator to lighten the pit
  • Installation of dust filter for the ventilation in mill unit
  • Udgrade of the gas and dust catching facilities with hydrocyanite removal
Greenhouse gases and energy management

One of our priorities is to increase energy efficiency at our production sites. We work according to an action plan, which we update every year, to reduce energy consumption, ensure efficient use of energy resources, and implement energy-efficient equipment and technologies. Corporate goals are part of our Environmental Management System (EMS) and Energy Management System and are met at operations by annual action planning.

By 2020 we aim to decrease GHG emission intensity by at least 1% compared to 2016 and generate at least 1 MW of renewable energy.

To reach this target, we conducted a feasibility study into the use of alternative energy sources at all our Company sites.

As a result, two pilot projects have been approved for implementation: a solar power plant at our Svetloye field; and a wind farm at the seaport of Unchi. We aim to launch both in the second half of 2018.

Water

We set our corporate goal by 2020 to reduce water withdrawal and water discharge for at least 1% compared to 2016 by rational water use programs

Under our corporate standard on Identification of environmental aspects, risks and opportunities, we assess all aspects annually, where water is one of the key aspects. The aspects are managed and targets are set as a part of environmental program developed for each operation site.

We monitor our performance and conduct internal audits and comprehensive checks which reveal violations and risks. Once the violation has been detected, we report on that, develop mitigation plan of corrective measures and investigation takes place. If the correction measure is complex, then it becomes a part of environmental program.

As a part of our environmental compliance and efficiency assessment standard, we count water withdrawal and discharge and report on quarterly basis. We also measure water consumption for drinking and technology, fresh water from underground, surface sources, recycled water and discharged. We also take into account effluents sent to water bodies, ponds, collectors, tailing dams and sewage.

Waste reuse Water management
Svetloye V
Amursk V
Albazino V
Okhotsk hub V
Mayskoe V V
Dukat hub V
Omolon hub V V
Voro V V
Komar V
Varvara V
Kyzyl V
Kapan V V

We are especially proud of our following programs for water management:

  • Construction of mine water treatment facilities
  • Update of water supply system which allows to replace fresh water with mine water in processing
  • Inclusion of 40,000 m3 of storm waters from collecting pond in processing
Waste

Under our corporate standard on Identification of environmental aspects, risks and opportunities, we assess all aspects annually, where mineral waste is one of the key aspects. We always strive to implement new technologies of waste management, we also have waste treatment projects as a part of environmental program.

At every Polymetal's operation, we implemented waste management standards which also covers waste ore and tailings.

We set our corporate goal by 2020 to re-use at least 20% of total overburden and waste ore annually.

To achieve this target, we use overburden and waste rock for backfill in developed chambers, for construction and maintenance of roads, for construction sites preparation as well as for enforcement and construction of tailing dams.

Biodiversity

We are committed to treading lightly in the regions where we operate and work hard to minimise our impact on local biodiversity. To this end, as a matter of policy we do not operate in or adjacent to protected or vulnerable areas. We respect, and will not encroach upon, land that has particular value — natural, historical or cultural — for Indigenous Minorities of the North (IMN). We also engage in comprehensive land rehabilitation once we have finished working in a particular area, focusing on the reparation of any environmental damage that our operations may have caused.

Stakeholder engagement in biodiversity conservation

To increase efficiency of our Environmental Management Program on biodiversity and to identify threats to biodiversity loss, at all stages of mine life, we cooperate, exchange knowledge and experience with local, national and international scientific and expert centers, local communities, state authorities in the regions where we operate. We commit to transparency and open communication while complying with applicable legal requirements.

Responsibility on biodiversity conservation lays primarily on environmental teams, operations management, relevant managers in headquaters, and Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors. However, our communication teams are training and involving our employees and local communities having awareness programs. See more here

Under the legal requirements of countries where Polymetal operates, we are not allowed to mine or produce metals in areas with the highest biodiversity value. Our operations are regularly monitored by state authorities responsible among others for biodiversity conservation and if they detect any negative impact on biodiversity, we will develop measures together with authorities to mitigate these impacts and achieve no net loss.

Emergency preparedness

An important aspect of our health and safety programme is ensuring preparedness for any emergency that may jeopardise the well-being of our employees.

Each year, we perform simulated emergency events and deliver training at least annually within each of our 93 hazardous production facilities. Within the most high-risk sites, we conduct more frequent emergency preparation sessions, sometimes on a monthly basis.

In our processes to ensure emergency preparedness, we comply with the requirements and legal obligations of the countries in which we operate. In addition, each Polymetal facility possesses Accident Prevention plans, developed collaboratively with local emergency authorities. We also train our in-house rescuers and have contracted professional companies who specialise in life-saving services and accident prevention.

To maintain our emergency preparedness we:

  • continuously enhance our OHSMS implemented across all our operations;
  • ensure our operations possess full licensing for relevant safety activities;
  • enact safety audits across all buildings, constructions and technical facilities used in hazardous activity; and
  • sign mandatory liability insurance agreements to indemnify harm caused by potential accidents in hazardous production facilities.

To identify potential accidents that could adversely impact the environment we:

  • prepare the list of relevant accidents;
  • ensure that our hazardous facilities are included in the official state register;
  • prepare emergency response plans; and
  • provide insurance for hazardous industrial facilities.

We analyse the following:

  • historic accidents that have negatively impacted the environment;
  • audits and inspection results and reports, environmental impact assessments, project safety examinations and hazardous production facilities inspections;
  • audit reports of state controlling bodies; and
  • environmental monitoring data.
Planning for mine closures

Our long-term remediation obligations include fulfilling decommissioning and restoration liabilities and covering suspension or abandonment costs in compliance with national regulations and legislation. Costs are covered by the Company. We also carry out geological, surveying and repair works to ensure that, once a mine is suspended or abandoned, underground operations, drilling sites and buildings are not hazardous or dangerous, and that we carry out any environmental rehabilitation.

Polymetal takes responsibility for compliance with the requirements of applicable laws and strives to meet stakeholders expectations when closing a mine.

Polymetal aims to minimize negative impacts on environment and stakeholders by ensuring the safety and stability of sites and facilities after closure, and ensures that they are left in a condition which is compatible with subsequent land uses for local communities in regions of our operation without threat to human health.

The company uses a systematic approach to manage the closure process.

Polymetal’s priorities of effective closure include:

  • To provide timely and effective closure planning and implementation of related measures
  • To reduce financial, social and environmental risks when the operation closes and optimize social, economic and cultural opportunities for the host community
  • To ensure the safety and stability of structures and facilities during and after the closure and for further and subsequent use
  • To ensure that adequate financial resources are available to meet the full cost of closure
  • To ensure that business is conducted in a socially responsible way and that obligations towards the dismissed personnel are met

Polymetal adheres to the following key principles in the course of mine closure:

  • To disseminate the effective and comprehensive closure planning practices for in the Company
  • To encourage employees, management and partners to demonstrate leadership
  • To ensure that closure planning reflects legal and regulatory requirements
  • To apply state-of-art technologies for the mine closure
  • To ensure that adequate resources are available for the closure process
  • During an operation stage, to rehabilitate as much land as possible prior to closure. To decrease the level of landscape alternation (use pit for waste rock and tailings storage, backfilling and use of waste rock for construction)
  • To consider concerns of stakeholders (local communities, governments, employees and landowners) in closure plans
  • To conduct post-closure monitoring till the responsibilities are transferred to a third party
ESIA

Environmental and social impact assessment

In 2016, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Wardell-Armstrong (WAI) completed a detailed review of the social and environmental issues linked to our Kyzyl gold project in north-eastern Kazakhstan.

Based on this review, a formal Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) has been issued by WAI for meeting environmental and social requirements of the EBRD that is considering the opportunity to finance the project.

The ESIA is a comprehensive analysis of any risks and opportunities linked to all key areas of the Kyzyl project, including its environmental, socio-economic and cultural effects.

Polymetal has also agreed with EBRD on the Environmental and Social Action Plan (ESAP) which includes a series of actions that Polymetal will implement in order to avoid, reduce, control, or otherwise mitigate potential environmental, occupational health and safety, and social impacts during Kyzyl construction and operation.

ESIA summary