We recognise the importance of protecting ecosystems and avoiding or minimising the impact we have on biodiversity. It is our responsibility to minimise the impacts of land clearing and to rehabilitate land disturbed by our activities.

We support biodiversity conservation, have effective systems for designating protected areas and integrated land use. We have committed not to explore or mine in World Heritage Areas and to respect legally designated protected areas.

Our approach

Our approach is guided by ICMM Mining Principle 7 – Conservation of Biodiversity and the associated Position Statement on Mining and Protected areas, as well as other relevant industry guidelines.

Our commitment to land management and biodiversity is stated in our Sustainability Policy and managed through our internal environmental and closure standards, which includes a commitment to not explore or extract within World Heritage listed properties. When we develop our operational procedures, we also take regional and local biodiversity needs and regulatory requirements into account.

We report annually on our land and rehabilitation performance, in our Sustainable Development Reports.

Risk and opportunity screening

Our internal environment standard specifies that all operations and major projects must complete a risk and opportunity screening exercise at least every five years to assess:

  • projected changes in climate conditions that may impact the bioregion;
  • our current and predicted land footprint;
  • the proximity of the operation to areas of high conservation value;
  • interactions with threatened animal and plant species;
  • broader contextual factors, for example cumulative impacts or changes to land use;
  • the perceptions and concerns of local communities; and
  • regulatory framework and compliance.

The collection of this information enables a more holistic assessment of the potential biodiversity risks relevant to the operation and provides the scope for a more formal assessment to be undertaken if deemed appropriate.


Managing biodiversity risks

Operations that face material risks related to biodiversity are required to put in place management and control measures that support the mitigation hierarchy – avoid, minimise, rehabilitate, offset – along with ways of verifying that these are effective. For all major expansions and new projects, we work towards a no net loss outcome. The design of the controls must reflect potential cumulative impacts connected to local use, for example climate change or planned developments.

In line with our internal standards, we also apply the mitigation hierarchy – avoid, minimise, rehabilitate, offset – across all of our operations, and have committed to work towards a no net loss outcome for all major expansions and new projects.

In the 2021 financial year, we implemented new minimum performance requirements for land disturbance and rehabilitation activities in our internal environment standard. The new requirements include:

  • Mapping and grading the significance of biodiversity features within and beyond operating boundaries;
  • Incorporating progressive rehabilitation of vegetation, topsoil and other elements into operational plans;
  • Setting performance criteria for progressive rehabilitation activities, measuring actions against them, and adapting processes to achieve better outcomes;  
  • Implementing an effective ‘permit to clear’ process, reflecting all biodiversity features, their significance, and all relevant legislation; and
  • Undertaking research to close biodiversity knowledge gaps and support better performance and outcomes.

Closure

Just as we take action to avoid or minimise environmental impacts when our operations are running, this commitment continues at closure.

We aim to optimise our closure outcomes by planning for closure during the design of our operations. Our activities during operations are consistent with achieving our closure objectives, which includes progressive rehabilitation. Our closure management activities support the UN Sustainable Development Goals 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities and 15 – Life on Land.

We are guided by the ICMM Integrated Mine Closure Good Practice Guide. Our approach aligns with our performance requirements and is codified in our internal Closure Standard.

Every one of our operations has a closure plan, which is reviewed and updated regularly. These plans set out closure criteria and final land use options. They provide the basis on which we estimate closure and progressive rehabilitation costs. We work to align our closure planning approach with other industry leaders and are active participants in several industry forums, including ICMM’s closure working group and the Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME)


S32 GEMCO - 073
Working to keep Groote Eylandt cane toad free

We've formed a partnership to help protect the local environment.

Read more
CMSACerroMatoso edPRMIMG_5600
Sustainable Future Planning

Cerro Matoso is undertaking a pilot Intelligent Land Management Project.

Read more
cerromat-mayo2img_6629
Getting schools excited about biodiversity

We're helping young people understand the importance of biodiversity.

Read more