PERFORMANCE

NATURAL CAPITAL

Natural Capital includes the natural resources and processes needed by an organisation to produce its products.

Energy

  • Pricing and the availability of electricity
  • Business continuity and profitability
  • Investing in new technologies to increase energy efficiency

Climate change

  • Environmental aspects of climate change
  • The Venture production of significant quantities of indirect and direct greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs)
  • Investing in new technologies to reduce emissions

Health and safety

  • Safety of employees
  • Health of employees
  • Training
  • Remuneration

Water

  • Use and availability
  • Recycling

Waste

  • Incidents and compliance
  • Disposal and recycling

This includes renewable (timber and water) and non-renewable (fossil fuels, minerals and metals) resources and processes such as energy consumption, waste creation, emissions, etc. Without access to the natural capital contained in our mineral reserves and resources, our business would not exist.

We maintain and enhance natural capital by:

  • reducing our dependence on fossil fuels;
  • reducing waste by reusing or recycling it whenever possible;
  • protecting biodiversity and ecosystems;
  • wherever possible, using renewable resources from well-managed and restorative ecosystems; and
  • managing resources and reserves efficiently.

NATURAL CAPITAL: CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY


Key points – 2021

The CO2e generated per tonne of ferrochrome produced was
5.29tCO2e

2020*: 5.45tCO2e)

The energy use per tonne of ferrochrome produced was
14.35GJ
(2020: 15.16GJ)

* Restated (5.3 to 5.45)

Stakeholder impact

The Venture stakeholders benefit from its energy efficiencies, which have made it one of the lowest cost ferrochrome producers in the world and the lowest cost producer in South Africa.

Managing climate change and carbon emissions

The Venture's focuses on understanding the current and future impact of climate change on its operations. Climate change risks are included in each operation's risk assessment. It measures and interprets energy and GHGs data to identify areas of opportunity. The Venture continuously researches and identifies potential energy and GHG reduction opportunities and evaluates the feasibility of implementing these opportunities. It also actively participates in discussions on climate change legislation via various industry organisations.

The Venture's efforts to continually evaluate and improve its energy efficiency are in line with the societal demand to reduce the emissions of GHGs. The Venture uses the Greenhouse Gas Protocol as an accounting and reporting standard for our emissions, which uses the 2019 location-based emission factor of 0.932kgCO2e/kWh from the IEA. This protocol was developed in partnership with the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. It divides GHG emissions into different types, categorising them as either direct (scope 1) or indirect (scope 2) emissions.

A representative of the Venture served on the council of the Energy Intensive User Group during 2021. The Venture, which participates in the Minerals Council of South Africa and the Ferro Alloys Producers Association environmental forum, represents the ferroalloys industry at Business Unity South Africa. The Venture's representatives play a leading role in these forums and they comment on climate change and carbon tax legislation. The Venture also engages with government via these forums to ensure that the potential impact the proposed legislation will have on our industry and Company is understood.

During 2021, the Venture again played an important role in the engagement process between business and the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and the Environment, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and National Treasury on matters relating to GHG emissions, Carbon Tax, Just Transition and Renewable Energy Generation.

Climate change performance is included in the health, safety, environment and community performance indicators that the Venture uses as part of its performance appraisals.

We are working with global specialists and draw on local expertise within our operational teams to identify value accretive abatement opportunities to further reduce our carbon footprint.

The Glencore Alloys Group Environmental Manager is responsible for climate change-related issues in the Venture.

See the Stakeholder engagement section on our website for more information on our stakeholder impact and engagement with government, our investors and business partners.

The Venture's focus for 2022

The Venture will continue with its engagement processes and identify and further evaluate potential GHG mitigation projects.

The Venture forms part of Glencore's 1.5°C pathway aligned target of an absolute 15% reduction of total emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by 2026 and a 50% reduction of total emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3) by 2035 on 2019 levels. These targets are consistent with the midpoint of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 1.5°C scenarios and the 1.5°C pathways set out by the International Energy Agency. Post 2035, the ambition is to achieve, with a supportive policy environment, net zero total emissions by 2050.

Understanding the Venture's carbon footprint

The Venture generates GHG emissions from its smelting processes and from its energy use. The use of fossil fuels in the form of reductants in the furnaces contributes directly to the creation of GHGs, and the electricity supplied from coal-fired power stations contributes indirectly to the creation of GHGs.

The Venture and Merafe are committed to minimising GHG emissions and improving our energy efficiency, and recognise the magnitude and importance of this challenge. The Venture also actively engages in public policy, specifically through collaboration with the DEFF on a carbon process aimed at estimating the country's annual carbon emissions.

The risks associated with climate change

Climate change remains a key longer-term risk for the Venture. The potential risks are complex in that they include operational risks such as business continuity, health and safety, environmental aspects and regulatory aspects. Risks are both physical and financial. For example, should the Venture operations be damaged by flooding and extreme storms, this could cause business interruptions. The reduced availability of water could also interrupt business operations and have health impacts.

Restatements

Restatements occur due to improvements in testing and/or methodology. If there are restatements in this report which are significant or material then this will be stated.

The Venture's energy consumption

Total energy consumption in the Venture operations increased in 2021 as a result of increased production. The energy usage per tonne of ferrochrome produced decreased from 15.16GJ/tonne to 14.35GJ/tonne. The energy consumption and performance of the Company in any year is dependent on the production performance in that year and the contribution of the most energy-efficient plants in the Venture to that production.

The Venture's energy usage*

Total energy use per tonne of ferrochrome produced*

The Venture's emissions

The Venture total scope 1 (direct) and scope 2 (indirect) emissions increased in 2021 as a result of increased production. The CO2e generated per tonne of ferrochrome produced decreased in 2021. The emissions performance of the Company in any year is dependent on the production performance in that year and the contributor of the most energy-efficient plants in the Venture to that production.

GHG emissions*

Total CO2e generated per tonne of ferrochrome produced*

NATURAL CAPITAL: ENVIRONMENT

Key points – 2021

The Venture total water usage increased due to increased production

Water conservation plans are in place at all the operations of the Venture

There were no high-potential environmental risk incidents in the Venture

The Venture had no environmental fines, penalties or prosecutions

Environment includes the natural resources and processes needed by an organisation to produce its products.

Material issues

  • Water
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Waste
  • Biodiversity and land use

As Merafe's corporate office has a limited impact on the environment, this section of our report focuses on the Venture's environmental approach, impact and performance. We rely on the Venture's effective environmental policies and procedures to ensure our investment is managed responsibly.

An integrated approach to environmental responsibilities

The Venture's long-term success depends on prioritising environmental issues and integrating environmental responsibility into its strategic planning, management systems and day-to-day operations. Management accountability is central to Glencore's integrated approach, which reviews its environmental risks and opportunities annually as part of its business strategy and planning process. Each site has a comprehensive environmental management system in place. The system provides access to aspects and the impact of all activities, from pre-feasibility to the operational phase, including closure and rehabilitation. The Venture objective is to ensure environmental legal compliance, optimise its monitoring and measurement practices and to minimise and manage any waste and emission generation in an environmentally responsible manner. Environmental responsibilities are clearly included into legal appointments and job descriptions.

Water

Water is a finite and precious natural resource essential to the sustainability of the communities in which the Venture operates. It is also necessary for its mining and metallurgical processes.

Water use and availability

The Venture's operations work with the Department of Water and Sanitation, local communities, local authorities, the farming community and other industry users to ensure the sustainability of water resources and equitable access to water resources for stakeholders.

We recognise access to safe and clean water and sanitation as salient human rights. We seek to fully understand and minimise our operational water footprint and manage our activities in a way that protects our shared water resources. We are committed to ensuring good water management is in place at all of our assets and undertake detailed assessments, monitoring and implementation of corrective actions. Our assets consult their host communities and other relevant local water users to understand local priorities and to collaborate on sustainable solutions.

The availability of water is a key consideration when the Venture plans the expansion or construction of an operation. It uses the results of the environmental and social impact assessments it undertakes to guide its decision-making and to ensure it has the least possible impact on local water resources during the various phases of its projects.

All the Venture's operations have water conservation plans. They have previously set water intensity targets and have measures in place to help them be as water efficient as possible. In addition, its operations are identifying possible water reduction projects.

The Venture's water usage

The water use in the Venture increased in 2021, mainly due to increased production resulting from return to normal operations after the national lockdown in 2020.

Waste management and effluent and biodiversity management

The mineral waste produced by the Venture in 2021 was 4.4mt.

Mineral waste

Category 2021
tonnes
2020
tonnes
2019
tonnes
2018
tonnes
Mineral waste – produced 4 401 937 3 431 145 4 690 652 4 364 269
Non-mineral waste – disposed 12 599 9 898 13 521 15 041
Non-mineral waste – recycled 6 476 5 142 29 297 10 056

Incidents and compliance

It is always the Venture's aim to have no environmental incidents at its operations. It monitors, reports, investigates and remediates any incidents that occur and applies lessons learnt to prevent similar incidents in the future. Its operations are required to report any environmental high-potential risk incidents, including near-misses, that could have resulted in a category 4 or 5 incident, even when the actual impact was less significant. Environmental incidents recorded at the Venture operations also include incidents that occur as a result of contractor activity.

The Venture has had no environmental fines, penalties or prosecutions at its operations for the past nine years. The Venture's achieved its goal of no category 4 or 5 incidents recorded in its operations in 2021 and no category 4 or 5 incidents have been recorded in the Venture operations for the past 10 years.

Environmental incidents

Category 2021 2020 2019 2018
Category 1 – negligible (causing negligible, reversible environmental impact, requiring very minor or no remediation) 52 38 77 52
Category 2 – minor (causing minor, reversible environmental impact, requiring minor remediation) 5 10 22 7
Category 3 – significant (causing moderate, reversible environmental impact with short-term effect, requiring significant remediation) 1 2
Category 4 – major (causing serious environmental impact, with medium-term effect, requiring significant remediation)
Category 5 – disastrous (causing disastrous environmental impact, with long-term effect, requiring major remediation)

NOx and SOx performance

The Venture emissions*

Category 2021
tonnes
2020
tonnes
2019
tonnes
2018
tonnes
NOx (oxides of nitrogen)        
Stack emissions (total mass) 1 323 840 1 113 1 032
SOx (oxides of sulphur)        
Stack emissions (total mass) 4 862 3 281 3 344 4 273
Total particulates        
Stack emissions (total mass) 1 980 1 219 1 729 2 218
* The emission data is based on quarterly emission data which is used to calculate emission factors and then applied to the year. The nature of the operations at the Venture semi-closed furnaces means that dilution air enters the air pollution control equipment. NOx is formed as a secondary emission through the air pollution control equipment due to the presence of nitrogen in the air. Small process changes in terms of gas volume and temperature can result in step changes in NOx emissions. The emissions at the Venture do not exceed any ambient standards for NOx or SOx.
  The nature of the operations at the Venture's semi-closed furnaces means that dilution air enters the air pollution control equipment. NOx is formed as a secondary emission through the air pollution control equipment due to the presence of nitrogen in the air. Small process changes in terms of gas volume and temperature can result in step changes in NOx emissions. The emissions at the Venture do not exceed any ambient standards for NOx or SOx.

Product stewardship

The Venture monitors and addresses the impacts and risks associated with the use of its products throughout their life cycles, including during stages outside of its control, such as use, recovery, recycling and disposal.

It works with national and international industry associations, its customers and suppliers to understand the environmental health and safety risks of its products and to find ways to mitigate these risks.

In terms of Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), all the products that the Venture exports to countries in the European Union have been pre-registered, with the relevant pre-registration certificates and numbers available. The Venture is also actively involved in REACH.

No products produced by the Venture, or their packaging materials, were reclaimed during 2021.

To ensure the quality of its products, the Venture aligns its systems with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 and some of its smelters are certified. Its laboratories are ISO 17025 accredited, which ensures that the methods and equipment it uses are accurate.

Land use

For further information on land use, see the Mineral Resources and Reserves Statement and Appendix 1 to this report.