The Group aims to minimise the environmental impact of its mining operations and is committed to the rehabilitation of land affected by current and historical mining activity.
The mining processes used at Sierra Rutile have a relatively limited impact on the environment and no large-scale mining pits are created.
Although the Group’s mine life extends to over 20 years, mining is a temporary land use. The Group’s closure planning is integrated into its operational activities as it progressively rehabilitates as much land as possible prior to closure. Sierra Rutile plans ahead for the closure of its operations after the commercially recoverable ore is exhausted.
Sierra Rutile’s land rehabilitation aims to restore the agricultural potential of the areas that were previously mined in an effort to provide long-term agribusiness opportunities for the local communities. The various types of trees that were planted in previous years on former mine works, as part of both the Darwin Initiative and the Group’s own projects, have all been successful, and the Group will continue to observe their growth rates to determine the best strategy going forward for land rehabilitation. The Group achieved its land rehabilitation target by successfully rehabilitating a total of 142 ha of disturbed sand tails in its mined-out Pejebu-North deposit comprising filling of sand tailings and barrow pits, through the planting of various types of trees. It is intended that the trees will, in due course, provide the basis for local communities to develop agribusiness opportunities. The land rehabilitation project collaborates with the School of Forestry and Horticulture of Njala University for technical assistance, and also draws labour directly from local communities to the rehabilitation sites. The Group’s land rehabilitation project not only targets sustainable ecosystem restoration of mined–out areas, but also provides other sustainable development opportunities for the mining communities through job creation.
The Group also successfully exceeded its 2015 fish stocking target of 250,000 by stocking into the lakes around 338,000 fish comprising tilapia, catfish and nine different native fish species.
The introduction of the native fish species is Sierra Rutile’s strategy to promote heterogeneity to restore the aquatic ecosystem of the mined-out lakes.