Operating to stringent environmental management approvals, licences and conditions, Yancoal continues to work with Federal and State Government departments and regulatory bodies to ensure full transparency in its environment and community performance and reporting.
With the significant acquisitions of the Coal & Allied assets in 2017, in 2018 Yancoal developed and implemented a corporate Environmental Management System (EMS), which is an umbrella document that incorporates the Yancoal Environment and Community Policy and other relevant environment and community polices and standards. The EMS has been designed to complement and support each operation in the management of environment and community affairs.
GOING BEYOND COMPLIANCE
Yancoal has an Independent Environmental Assurance Audit (IEAA) program that operates on a two-year cycle. The purpose of the IEAA program is to provide the Yancoal’s Board of Directors (the Board), the Board’s Health, Safety and Environment Committee (HSEC) and Senior Management with an overview of environmental compliance, performance and assurance across its owned and managed coal mining operations. The IEAA assists Yancoal in maintaining a culture of excellence in environmental governance, compliance and performance across all its operations. The IEAA Program assesses, using a risk-based approach, the effectiveness of each site’s EMS and supporting management plans along with a review of compliance with relevant approvals and licences, with a focus on each site’s identified environmental risks.
The scope of each IEAA considers:
- The general environmental performance of each operation including relevant site EMS documentation, environmental management plans and actions from internal and external audits as undertaken; and
- Key relevant State and Federal legislative and regulatory requirements.
In 2018, four IEAAs were completed. These included Moolarben, Mount Thorley Warkworth, Ashton and Austar. Findings from each of the IEAAs were communicated to HSEC and the wider Yancoal Environment and Community personnel via the bi-annual Environment and Community Forums. Stratford, Duralie and Yarrabee will be audited under the IEAA in 2019.
Yancoal acknowledges it has a role to play in mitigating the emissions generated by its operations. Further, Yancoal has continued to support research into low-emission technology to assist the reduction of downstream emissions from the consumption of coal products.
Yancoal also recognises the growing interest by stakeholders regarding the potential risks and opportunities posed to our business and the broader sector because of an anticipated global shift towards a lower-carbon economy.
Recognising this, the Board continues to consider the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations, established by the G20 Financial Stability Board, as the framework to guide our climate-related disclosures. The considerations include the desire for greater transparency in the way we are identifying and mitigating the potential risks posed by any changes to our external environment such as from policy, legal, market demand, reputational and technological perspective.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AND ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Yancoal reports its operational direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) emissions and energy consumption data on an annual basis in line with the Australian National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) legislation and has implemented systems and processes for the collation and calculation of the data required by the Federal Clean Energy Regulator (CER).
In 2018, on an operational control basis, Yancoal’s total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for the period ended 30 June 2018 totalled 1,957,514 tCO2-e. The emissions intensity per tonne of ROM coal produced decreased when compared to the previous year at 0.046 tCO2-e/ROMt.
The majority of the company’s Scope 1 emissions relate to fugitive emissions associated with its operational underground mining operations and open cut mines, decommissioned mines, and combustion of fuel. Scope 2 emissions stem from the consumption of electricity purchased from the grid.
While Yancoal does not currently calculate its Scope 3 emissions associated with the consumption of its coal products, we actively support the development of technologies aimed at reducing the emissions intensity of these downstream activities. This stance includes supporting the research and continued development and installation of high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) technologies in coal fired power stations.
Yancoal’s energy consumption is driven predominately by its diesel fuel consumption across its operations, followed by electricity consumption. Again, driven by the acquisition of the Coal & Allied assets in 2017, the company’s total energy consumption for the reporting period to 30 June 2018 increased significantly compared to the previous year. The overall energy intensity per tonne of ROM coal produced also increased by 5%.
REHABILITATION AND BIODIVERSITY
Yancoal recognises its stewardship role in the temporary ownership of lands and the important part we play as land stewards. We ensure that the land we use is rehabilitated to a standard in accordance with regulatory criteria and closure commitments as prescribed in various approvals.
Yancoal manages across its operations approximately 14,000 hectares in biodiversity offset lands. Biodiversity offset management plans are in place to manage and improve the quality and integrity of offset lands to assist in the management of key ecological communities. Yancoal also has approximately 30,000 hectares of agricultural lands that are managed in strategic partnership with key lessees. Our current agricultural land holdings support commercial agricultural operations in beef, sheep (both wool and lambs) and dairy. Yancoal’s rural property strategy aims to support local communities associated with each of our mine sites and to create sustainable rural holdings.
AIR AND NOISE IMPACTS
Yancoal acknowledges that potential impacts from operational activities in the form of both air and noise emissions is a matter of interest to both our internal and external stakeholders.
At Yancoal, all operations strive to minimise the emissions of dust as a result of operational activities and to comply with relevant statutory obligations. Operations which generate air quality impacts have an Air Quality Management Plan to guide and assist operational personnel in the day-to-day management of activities to minimise emissions and mitigate against potential impacts on the general health and amenity of the surrounding environments in which we operate.
At operations close to communities, Yancoal has implemented continuous, real-time air quality monitoring stations that send notification alarms to selected operational personnel of real-time air quality results. This enables personnel to make real-time operational changes as required. Real-time weather stations are also deployed across operations to provide accurate site weather conditions, which assist in the management and mitigation of emissions from activities. Selective sites also employ predictive weather forecasting tools.
Noise emissions from the operation of large-scale industrial machinery are also managed in a proactive manner across all Yancoal operations. Real-time noise monitoring networks, with response alarms, are in place at key operations to assist in the management of noise emissions. Noise attenuation of selective machinery and infrastructure is also employed where reasonable and feasible, to minimise noise generation and emission. Regular service and maintenance schedules are also in place to ensure that machinery is continually operated in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.
Other common industry leading practices adopted across various Yancoal operations to minimise and mitigate against excessive noise generation and emissions include:
- The operation of support fleet during the daytime only;
- The procurement of sound attenuated principal equipment;
- The utilisation of Dura Tray fleet7 in noise onerous areas;
- The use of targeted acoustic bunding;
- The adoption of multilevel dumping operations; and
- The reduction in volume of reversing sirens and startup alarms.
Every community complaint is investigated in accordance with the relevant operation-based policies and procedures. In exceptional cases, a response from operations may include the reallocation or rescheduling of activities into areas less sensitive to the community. In the case of extreme weather events, this may involve the temporary relocation or stoppage of operations to minimise air and noise emissions. Selective operations have employed designated Community Response Officers who liaise between community members and site operational personnel to ensure a direct interface and response to community concerns.
Yancoal’s approach to waste management is outlined in each site’s Environmental Management Plan and/or Strategy, to ensure relevant legislative requirements are met as required. Hazardous and non-hazardous waste is collected and either recycled or disposed of by third party providers. For Yancoal, hazardous waste is mainly comprised of effluents and waste oils, while non-hazardous waste includes scrap steel, mixed solid waste and timber.
TAILINGS DAM MANAGEMENT
Yancoal recognises stakeholder interests in the safe management of Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs) and is continually updating operational plans and procedures to ensure the adoption of industry leading practices in the safe management, rehabilitation and closure of our TSFs. TSFs across Yancoal operations are managed in accordance with relevant regulatory obligations. Each site undertakes comprehensive risk assessments and scheduled inspections as part of the management of its TSFs to identify risk areas with the storage and management of tailings. Statutory safety inspections form an integral part in the management of TSFs and are conducted by government regulatory bodies in each jurisdiction as required.