Gold mining generates a large amount of mineralised waste, the majority in the form of waste rock and tailings. Mine operation also produces a variety of non-mineralised hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials.
We recognise there is a significant opportunity across our business to be smarter, to draw the maximum value from materials. This will require the application of a systematic and structured approach to material and process optimisation in each business area. Key initiatives related to the optimisation of raw materials and waste minimisation and re-use include: reducing cyanide consumption, extending the tire-life of our trucks and the use of high production trays on our truck fleet.
At Sukari we have detailed waste management plans in place to ensure all hazardous and non-hazardous waste generated is managed in a manner that minimises environmental risks and promotes and reduces closure and reclamation liabilities. Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are segregated at source to enhance the identification of opportunities for waste reduction, reuse and recycling.
Gold mining creates a significant amount of tailings waste as mined ore is crushed, milled and processed to separate the gold from the ore. These tailings form the bulk of Centamin’s hazardous waste and are pumped into a specially designed and engineered impoundment known as a tailings storage facility ‘TSF’. TSFs need to be carefully managed and monitored to ensure the stability of the embankment walls and to prevent seepage of possible contaminants into the local environment.
We are committed to the highest standard of responsible tailings management and employ a robust governance approach based on good industry practice, risk management, and review and assurance. Centamin’s Tailings Management Standard sets the minimum requirements for the management of tailings to protect human health and the environment through facility design, operation and closure. The standard also covers incident and emergency response, management of change processes, performance reviews and independent audits.
In late 2020, we commenced a systematic review of our tailings governance and management framework against the requirements of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (“GISTM”) and the preparation of a roadmap to address any gaps in aligning with the standard. Centamin voluntarily commits to implementing the GISTM and aspires to be in conformance with the Tailings Management Standard by 2023.
At Sukari, there are two active TSFs that are designed and operated to provide permanent and secure containment of all solid tailings material over the life of mine. To ensure facilities are performing as designed, we have several programmes for inspecting, auditing and reporting on the safety of our tailings facilities. The operation of the TSFs is managed by a dedicated team of people who conduct daily performance monitoring including visual inspections to confirm the operational and structural integrity of the facility. This is supplemented by annual performance reviews conducted by Centamin’s nominated Engineer of Record and periodic independent safety audits.