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
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.
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.
As an ICMM member, we are committed not to conduct any exploration, drilling or mining in World Heritage areas and IUCN category I-IV protected areas (‘no- go’ areas), and not to put the integrity of such properties at risk. Our assets work to avoid the loss of any International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List threatened species.
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 (EISA) process. The EISA take place ahead of the start of the project and supports the application for environmental permitting. During the EISA process, financial provision is made and held in reserve for the purpose of rehabilitation and closure efforts once operations have ceased.
During the EISA 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.