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Case Studies

Bettercoal is developing case studies of coal suppliers' experiences with the Bettercoal Assessment process to identify lessons learnt, benefits and results. The first case studies were developed in May 2016, and more case studies will be added over time.

Canyon Coal

Established in 2006, Canyon Coal is a mid-scale coal exploration and mining company with operations and projects in the Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces of South Africa. The company currently produces around 2.5 MT coal per year from various operations and employs over 300 people.

Following the completion of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire in May 2015, the Site-Assessment, the first Bettercoal Site-Assessment in South Africa, took place in December 2015. Three assessors from Synergy Global Consulting Ltd., a Bettercoal approved assessor, carried out Site-Assessment between the 7th-9th of December 2015 at the Hakhano Colliery in Mpumalanga and offices. The Site-Assessment included a tour of the entire mine site, visits to the offices, the sidings used to transport the coal to clients, the Bonginhlahla Centre in Middleburg and interviews with senior management, employees, union representatives, contractors and consultants, representatives from the local government and from the local community council and neighbouring farmers. 

The assessment found that Canyon Coal has a strong compliance focus: areas where there are clear legal requirements are managed well and the company invests in doing things properly. The company has a small close-knit team, the contractors are treated as part of the team and they are committed to the company. Though the area is relatively water stressed, water management was also identified as an area of good practice. As a mid-scale junior mining company, the assessors identified that Canyon Coal can benefit from further formalising its systems and procedures and local stakeholder engagement, whilst maintaining its close, quality team. 

Canyon Coal has been very collaborative in the assessment process and Bettercoal looks forward to working with the company on further improving their ethical, social and environmental practices and performances through their participation in the Bettercoal Assessment Program.

An important benefit that Canyon Coal sees is that they have been exposed to international assessments and standards, and that the advice and recommendations they received during the assessment have added value to company processes:

"The impact of mining on the environment and surrounding people cannot be ignored by companies; we are constantly made aware of the fact that we have only one Earth. As a coal mining company, we have always strived towards sustainable practices in our mining and in giving back to the communities. Canyon Coal values the additional and international perspective that can be gained from Bettercoal through the assessments and the continuous feedback and opportunities for improvement, and is proud to be able to contribute to the sustainable development of the coal industry." (Canyon Coal, May 2016)

Download the PDF case study here.

 

Drummond Ltd.

Drummond Ltd. is one of Colombia's largest exporters of low ash, low sulphur thermal coal with a high calorific value, which is sought after by power generators required to meet stringent emissions criteria. The mine producers some 30 MT coal per year and has approximately 5,000 employees.

Drummond Ltd. is the first company to have completed the full cycle of the Bettercoal Assessment Program. Following completion of a Self-Assessment, ERM-CVS was appointed by Bettercoal to conduct both the Site- and Re-Assessment at Drummond's Colombian mines. The Bettercoal approach is one of engagement and continuous improvement, examining a company's management systems, behaviors, sustainability performance and impacts against the Provisions of the Bettercoal Code. Best practices are also acknowledged, such as the creation and management of the Paujili Reservoir at mine site, constructed by the company as a protected area with high biodiversity.

Following the 2014 Bettercoal Site-Assessment by ERM-CVS, Drummond agreed on a timetable for the Continuous Improvement Plan which identified a number of area which could strengthen existing processes and lead to higher levels of performance. During 2015, Drummond reported to Bettercoal on the progress and implementation of the Continuous Improvement Plan.

In November 2015, an assessment team from ERM-CVS visited Drummond Ltd. again to independently verify the improvements that were made. There was evidence of:

  • greater engagement of both employees, unions and external stakeholders on company business and sensitive issues;
  • an improved policy framework with employee training on, for example, occupational health and safety, human rights, bribery and corruption;
  • progress towards the implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights;
  • improved waste and recycling management;
  • water conservation.

At the initial Site-Assessment, Bettercoal also discussed external reporting with the mine leadership. Drummond has published a GRI (G4 guidelines) Sustainability Report for 2013-2014, which is externally verified.

On their return to the mine site for the Re-Assessment, ERM-CVS commented on the commitment, progress and investment that the company had made in strengthening their management systems and corporate responsibility performance. In parallel, Drummond Ltd.'s Colombian mining operation has now obtained OHSAS 18001:2007 certification granted by Lloyd's Register (LRQA), an international certification provider and risk analysis organisation.

In line with our model of engagement and continuous improvement, Drummond Ltd. remains in the Assessment Program which is designed to be a re-enforcing loop of improvement and recognition in the coal supply chain. 

"Today's world energy market in which commodities are currently going through a down-cycle, safe, efficient and cost-effective performance is a top priority. This needs to go alongside actions that promote social and environmental sustainability, working with the communities and ensuring that any impact stemming from our operations is avoided or mitigated. An external assessment such as Bettercoal's helps companies like Drummond to continuously improve its performance. It also provides our clients with a level of assurance that we act responsibly, promoting human rights and contributing to a better standard of living in our neighbouring communities." (Drummond Ltd., May 2016)

Download the PDF case study here.

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