Sustainable development and responsible business practices are some of the core values that guide Sibelco. We recognise that today’s decisions can have long-term consequences, and we need to proactively manage our operations and resources to ensure a beneficial and sustainable future for our employees, customers, community members and stakeholders.
Sibelco is managed with a long-term perspective. We invest for the future, with an emphasis on attracting and retaining the best people, value-creation and sustainable development. Our sustainability programs facilitate the balanced pursuit of economic performance, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
Sibelco is committed to the efficient use of the natural resources that we are privileged to use. Consistent with our Operational Excellence and sustainable business model, our plants operate to optimise our operational performance with a minimal operational footprint.
We work closely with local authorities to meet their environmental regulations and to ensure there is as little disruption as possible. This enables us to fit into local environments and communities quickly and easily.
Just as important to us is how land is used after our operations have stopped. We undertake studies and conduct careful planning to ensure land is reusable and productive for the local communities.
Water is an essential component of our mining and mineral processing. We understand the finite quality of this vital resource and work diligently to ensure that water is managed in a way that is cost effective for the business as well as sustainable for the community and environment.
Sibelco strives to optimise our water balance by conserving and recycling our process waters in closed loop systems. In arid regions, storm water management represents an opportunity to put natural precipitation to productive use. Many Sibelco locations operate rainwater collection systems to supplement recycling efforts, with an objective to minimise volumes drawn from the local aquifer. We are equally committed to control effluent water quality and diligently monitor and manage permitted discharge to meet local regulations.
Our objective to improve our energy efficiency is consistent with our culture of continuous improvement and Operational Excellence. Sibelco plants operate to minimise energy consumption, including renewable energy sources such as hydropower and bio-gas to help preserve finite hydrocarbon resources. Several plants utilise exhaust gases to pre-heat dryer circuits for additional energy efficiency.
Our objective is to balance economic objectives with environmental conservancy, in a manner that ultimately returns mined land to an ecologically appropriate landscape. We employ three-dimensional mine modeling to plot unique geologic features in a way that maximises the land’s productive potential while minimising waste. Data from the modeling process is compiled in a mine plan that provides technical guidance for the safe and efficient extraction of the raw ore.
Each deposit plan is continuously reviewed and adjusted to ensure the extraction and beneficiation processes are aligned with customer requirements. The mine plan provides quality assurance information to our customers and validates our performance as a sustainable supplier.
Sibelco strives to be the ‘neighbor of choice’ for local communities. Locally formulated community action plans are one way to be a respected and contributing member of the community. Action plans can be as diverse as our organisation; ranging from financial support for heritage projects, to construction of a regional school, to providing safe drinking water for drought-stricken communities.
We also recognise that the economic and social viability of our communities is an important part of our sustainable performance, and regard local spending to source goods and services as an investment in our future. We’re proud to play a role in the local economy by being a sustainable source of employment, cash flow and revenue for the benefit of our communities and the surrounding regions.
Sibelco sustainability programs include metrics and resources to minimise the potential impacts of our operations on surrounding communities. Each Sibelco plant undergoes a comprehensive environmental audit and comparative impact study to identify potential sources for concern and proactively take corrective or mitigating action.
We accomplish this by using cleaner alternate energy sources and installing control devices that reduce emissions. We also monitor our operations to minimise noise, vibration and visual impacts upon our immediate neighbors and surrounding communities.
A safe and healthy work environment is the cornerstone of our sustainability initiatives and is achieved through programs that promote and reinforce best practices for our employees, contractors and visitors. We encourage best practices and celebrate the achievements of our team in delivering on this core company value.
“Going for Zero” is Sibelco’s worldwide safety improvement program with the objective to eliminate all injuries from our business. Going for Zero takes a comprehensive approach to safety that combines global safety standards and behavioral training with peer practice to make every employee a safety leader. The goal is to increase awareness of potential risks in a work environment where each employee feels responsibility for the safety of their colleagues. As safety is Sibelco’s number one priority, every Sibelco employee will undergo Going for Zero training.
In April 2018, Sibelco completed a “Sustainable Employability – Confined Spaces Project” in cooperation with our partner MaxPrevent. This Netherlands-based project was made possible by the European Social Fund of the European Commission. The project’s goals included:
- Identifying safety risks of working in confined spaces
- Ensuring employees can safely enter and perform their tasks in confined spaces
- Increasing safety awareness
The input of all project teams resulted in the necessary procedures and documents for safely working in confined spaces. This is an important contribution to our Going for Zero Safety Program.