Our approach


Environment_our approachEffective environmental management is essential – not only for our business, but for all our stakeholders. We are committed to protecting natural resources including water, air and biodiversity aspects as well as the surrounding ecosystems.

Our approach to environmental management is embedded within our Code of Business Conduct, Sustainability Policy and internal environment standard, and is guided by ICMM Mining Principle 6 – Environmental Performance and other recognised industry guidelines and statutory frameworks. Our internal environment standard applies to all exploration, major projects and operations under the operational control of South32, and requires that clear roles and responsibilities for environmental management are established. Our systems and internal standards are regularly reviewed to ensure they reflect current legal requirements and industry guidelines. We work hard to be responsible stewards of the environment and treat natural resources with care so that they are available for future generations. Our environmental considerations span the full life cycle of our business, from exploration through to the closure of our operations and beyond, the preservation and rehabilitation of the surrounding landscapes remains front of mind. Learn more in our 2022 Sustainable Development Report.

Our internal environmental standard requires that processes are in place to enable continuous improvement relevant to environmental performance, at both the Group and the operational level, including key environmental performance targets and objectives. It also requires that processes to track and monitor progress against the agreed plans are in place. Our environmental management is supported by EQuIS, a global environmental data management system that enables data recording and information sharing across the business. Our environment-related data and management systems are subject to both internal and external assurance processes. These processes assist us to evaluate the efficacy of our management approach and we use findings to continuously improve.

Biodiversity and land management


We recognise the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems, and have committed to no net loss for all new projects and major expansions. It is our responsibility to minimise the impacts of land clearing and to rehabilitate the land that is disturbed by our activities. We proactively manage contamination risks and undertake effective mine closure planning

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Water is a valuable resource that we all share and a critical input for our operations. In many of the areas where we operate water is scarce, so we need to carefully manage our use. Water is vital for local communities and the environment, and we must take action to minimise, and where possible, avoid any negative impacts on its availability and quality.

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Waste and Tailings

Waste and tailings

The safe management of waste from our operations and projects is essential to operating responsibly. We are committed to reducing waste generated from our operations.

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Non-Greenhouse Gas air emissions

We are committed to managing other non-greenhouse gas emissions to minimise any impact on neighbouring communities and the environment.

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Energy, emissions and air quality