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SUSTAINABILITY

Land management

ENVIRONMENT

To minimise potential impacts of our activities on the environment, we continuously seek opportunities to progress responsible resource management. We commit to the stewardship of the lands in which we operate and to address potential impacts on biodiversity by applying the mitigation hierarchy with the ambition of achieving no net loss of biodiversity.

Watch Lucy Roberts, Head of HSEC and Human Rights, speak about our approach to rehabilitation

Our approach

To reduce the potential impacts of our assets on the land, we require all to, at a minimum, comply with relevant regulations. We conduct detailed studies of the environment in which we work, and undertake monitoring to ensure the early identification of potential issues and development of solutions according to the principles of adaptive management. We support the principles of progressive rehabilitation, requiring the setting and achievement of restoration targets throughout all phases of an assets lifecycle.

We recognise that we are temporary stewards of the land and, as such, require our industrial assets to implement and maintain risk-based land stewardship and biodiversity management plans.

Biodiversity impact

Mining activities can directly impact the surrounding land, flora and fauna throughout the lifecycle; our goal is to minimise and manage those impacts and, upon completion of our activities, return the land to a sustainable use. Our assets’ land stewardship and biodiversity management plans can include measures for preliminary clearing works, habitat relocation, flora and fauna conservation, weed and pest control and fire and grazing management and associated monitoring programmes. Where possible, these plans support the continuation of existing land practices, including natural buffer areas grazing and other agricultural activities.

Assets typically engage with local stakeholders, such as local communities and conservation organisations, in developing these plans. Our management plans and procedures for site exploration, development and construction include fully integrated biodiversity baseline surveys and protection measures, often in association with the completion of Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, a key public regulatory approvals process in most jurisdictions. If our activities cannot avoid or mitigate significant biodiversity impacts then offsetting measures are applied.

Our assets also continuously monitor and assess potential biodiversity impacts throughout the asset lifecycle, such as when permits change or a significant expansion project is planned.  We commit to addressing potential impacts on biodiversity by applying the mitigation hierarchy with the ambition of achieving no net loss of biodiversity.

Assets develop and implement processes and procedures for the effective management and conservation of biodiversity and landscape functions in the areas affected by our operations. We support species’ preservation and biodiversity conservation through partnerships, research, and integrated land use planning and management practices.

Our assets work to avoid the loss of any International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List threatened species.

High biodiversity areas

We own, lease or manage 83,550 hectares adjacent to protected areas and 188,285 hectares adjacent to high biodiversity areas. Our assets located in or near areas identified as having a high biodiversity value include:

  • Our PASAR copper smelting operation in the Philippines is located in an area adjacent to areas of high biodiversity value. It maintains a forest reserve that support mangrove species and associated fauna such as hermit crabs, mud crabs and birds like the kingfisher. PASAR’s mangrove reforestation programme has been in place since 2015. It is currently participating in a national remediation programme for mangrove propagation and planting, as well as supporting a local regulatory greening initiative.
  • A number of our Australian coal operations are close to or located within areas with a high biodiversity value. In Queensland, our Rolleston coal mine is located adjacent to the Albinia National Park, which includes a large protected area of the endangered Bluegrass community. Clermont coal mine is near to the adjoining Blair Athol and Apsley State Forests and our Hail Creek Mine is adjacent to the Homevale National Park, which protects important biodiversity and historic fossil locations.

    Across New South Wales, our United Wambo Joint Venture mine is near to the Wollemi National Park. Bulga Mine is near to both the Wollemi and Yengo National Parks. The Wollemi and Yengo National Parks are part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Our Ulan surface operations are close to the Goulburn River National Park and our Mount Owen mine is partly within the Ravensworth State Forest.
  • The Raglan Mine is close to a meteoritic crater filled with exceptionally clear blue water that sits within the Parc national des Pingualuit.
  • Our Koniambo nickel operations in New Caledonia are located in an area of high biodiversity value where 80% of the plant species are endemic, as well as most of the reptiles in the mine site area. In addition to undertaking progressive site rehabilitation, we produced a detailed biodiversity management plan in 2007, followed by a protected area management plan in 2011 and a rare species management plan in 2014. Our objectives are to avoid net loss of biodiversity, maintain large conservation areas onsite (approximately 825 hectares) that minimise the risk of fire and invasive exotic species, and perform in-house research into these rare species.
  • Our Mutanda copper operation in the DRC is located in the Basse-Kando Hunting Zone, at a distance of 5km from the Kando River. Mutanda seeks to limit any impact of its operations through diligent environmental management, a biodiversity management plan and developing and implementing progressive rehabilitation plans, which include the protection of endemic species (copper flora) through an onsite flora conservation garden.
  • In South Africa, the Helena and Thorncliffe and Magareng chrome mines are located within the Sekhukuneland Centre of Plant Endemism, the third-richest ultramafic induced Centre of Plant Endemism in southern Africa. At Kroondal Chrome 
  • Mine, the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve is located in its concession. The current operational footprint of the Lydenburg Chrome Smelter is 5 km from freshwater critical biodiversity and ecological support areas, as defined by the 2014 Mpumalanga biodiversity plan. 
  • In Spain, the San Juan de Nieva zinc smelter is close to the Monumento Natural Dunas El Espartal, home to a dune ecosystem. 
  • The Britannia Refined Metals zinc plant in the UK is close to marshland. 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. More detailed on Glencore’s commitment and actions to preserve biodiversity at Botany Marshes is presented in the case study in this section.

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 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.
The marshland is open to the local community, and local schools use it 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 protected by wildlife legislation.

Progressive rehabilitation and closure transitioning

We recognise that we are custodians of the land on which we operate and are committed to responsible land ownership and meeting community expectations. Our mining assets are required to have robust closure plans and associated financial provisioning, to support a responsible transition from the operational phase, and undertake progressive rehabilitation where possible.  

Progressive rehabilitation is conducted prior to formal closure in previously disturbed areas once active operations have completed. Assets develop their closure plans and submit financial provisioning early in the assets’ life cycle, and are required to regularly review it to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose. Assets develop and maintain their closure plans to align with good practice, such as the ICMM’s Integrated Mine Closure Good Practice Guide. Assets develop their closure plans in consultation with local communities, to take into account their needs, and in accordance with regulatory requirements. Assets also monitor the societal risks and opportunities associated with closure.

In addition to the assets we have constructed and developed, Glencore has acquired, through mergers and acquisitions, a number of older mines and legacy operations. We have a specialised management process for these legacy operations, which supports the identification and implementation of appropriate monitoring and responsible restoration.

Planning for land rehabilitation starts prior to the disturbance of operational areas. The land rehabilitation plans are a fundamental component of our environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) process. The ESIA take place ahead of the start of the project and supports the application for environmental permitting. During the ESIA process, financial provision is made and held in reserve for the purpose of rehabilitation and closure efforts once operations have ceased.

During the ESIA process, our assets undertake baseline data collection and monitoring programmes, which include collecting pre-disturbance data, to support the eventual restoration efforts. Assets use this data to understand the potential impacts of the operation on the local ecosystem and to identify opportunities to manage and mitigate these potential impacts. Assets develop action plans to minimise disturbance to the ecosystem and engage with local communities to identify appropriate post-mining land uses.

After mining stops: land rehabilitation in Westside, Australia

Excellence in mine rehabilitation: Mount Owen, Australia

Land rehabilitation and biodiversity offset work at Ulan Mine

Our Ulan Coal complex in central-west New South Wales (NSW) has a long history of mining, dating back to the 1920s. The site now has almost half of its footprint revegetated with species appropriate to the local environment. 

In 2012, Ulan established three interconnected biodiversity offset areas, totalling 1,345 hectares, to enhance the direct rehabilitation efforts and support ecosystem recovery. 

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, was successfully introduced into the site’s rehabilitation, and the species is thriving. 

Overburden areas are rehabilitated specifically to support the communities of Greybox and Ironbark woodlands; native species consistent with the pre-disturbance environment.  In these areas, regeneration of endangered White Box Woodland, Yellow Box Woodland and Blakely’s Red Gum communities has also been progressed. 

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.

Principles we follow
UN Global Compact
Principle 7

businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges

Principle 8

undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility

Principle 9

encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

Environmental performance
Conservation of biodiversity
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Climate action
Life below water
Life on land