World Environment Day 2020

Author: Glencore | Date: 05/06/2020

Our commitment to land stewardship and biodiversity

We take our responsibilities to our people, to society and to the environment seriously. As part of our Group sustainability strategy, we aim to become a leader in environmental performance, including in land stewardship and biodiversity management.

We recognise that we are custodians of the land on which we operate, and are committed to responsible land ownership and meeting community expectations.

All operations are required to develop closure plans, which can include progressive rehabilitation in previously disturbed areas once active operations have completed.

Below you can find information on two of our projects - Botany Marsh in the UK and Ulan Coal in Australia – and what we are doing globally to fulfil our ambition.

Our latest Sustainability Report provides more detail on how we enact our value of responsibility for environmental good, our progress to date, and our sustainability agenda for the future.

Sustaining biodiversity at Botany Marsh

Sustaining biodiversity at Botany Marsh

Glencore subsidiary Britannia Refined Metals (BRM) owns the last untouched piece of marshland adjoining the River Thames in Kent, UK. 

Since 2016, BRM has worked with Kent Wildlife Trust to implement a Habitat Management Plan on the land, and to help the Botany Marshes achieve the best possible condition for nurturing biodiversity.

This included, for example, creating a new open water area exclusively for birds, and egg-laying sites for grass snakes.

Ongoing maintenance activities are also carried out, like cutting reed beds and bankside vegetation to preserve natural habitats, and removal of shrub to create sheltered conditions for invertebrates and basking locations for reptiles.

Educational field trips for local schools

The marshland was opened to the local community, and is used by local schools for educational field trips.

Since 2019, ecological surveys found that the area has become home to a new resident – the water vole. This was a fantastic development, as the water vole is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species, and is protected by wildlife legislation.

Land rehabilitation and biodiversity offset work at Ulan Mine

Mining the coal isn’t the end of it. It’s putting it all back together again.

Ken Dixon, Environment & Community Manager, Glencore Coal Australia

Our Ulan Coal complex in central-west New South Wales (NSW) has a long history of mining, dating back to the 1920s. 

The site currently supports two underground mines and a coal processing plant. The site’s open cut mine ceased operating in 2014. 

The site now has almost half of its footprint revegetated with species appropriate to the local environment. Overburden areas at Ulan are rehabilitated specifically to support the communities of Greybox and Ironbark woodlands; native species consistent with the pre-disturbance environment.  

Three interconnected Biodiversity Offset areas, totalling 1,345 hectares, were established in 2012 to enhance the direct rehabilitation efforts and support ecosystem recovery. 

In these areas, regeneration of endangered White Box Woodland, Yellow Box Woodland and Blakely’s Red Gum communities has also been progressed. 

Seeds for the rehabilitation are sourced from within the Ulan-owned land and processed to high levels of quality control by a local supplier. 

Rehabilitation of the Acacia ausfeldii threatened species, previously untried, has also been successfully introduced into the site’s rehabilitation, and the species is thriving. 

Ulan’s White Box Woodland planting programme is one of the largest ever undertaken in NSW. It sees 100,000 trees planted in offset areas to connect extensive areas of native vegetation with the Durridgere State Conservation Area and Goulburn River National Park.

Land rehabilitation

The rehabilitation of these lands is now providing sustainable outcomes for endangered species, ecological diversity and protection of water flows and quality for the life in the area of the mine and beyond. 

In fact, 50 hectares of this rehabilitation has now successfully achieved certification from the Government.