Antofagasta Minerals was accepted as a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (“ICMM”) in May 2014. The ICMM was founded in 2001 to improve sustainable development in the mining and minerals industries. Member companies are required to improve their sustainability performance based on ten guiding principles and to report on their progress annually using the GRI G4 standard. In 2015, Antofagasta Minerals worked towards closing the gaps identified during its application to ICMM.
In June 2015, the Company was added as a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index. This index is made up of companies with strong Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) practices as measured against 300 indicators, 14 themes and three pillars as assessed by FTSE International.
Los Pelambres has two tailings dams. Since 2008, its tailings have been deposited in the Mauro Dam, located in the Pupio Valley 13 km from Caimanes, the nearest community. With a capacity of 1.7 billion tonnes, it was designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and severe earthquakes. This was tested in September 2015, when a major earthquake of magnitude 8.3 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of Chile, some 100 km from El Mauro. The dam continued to operate as normal and there was no structural damage to the infrastructure. Immediately after the earthquake, Los Pelambres invited representatives from the local community to verify the structural integrity of the dam.
Antofagasta’s new climate change standard establishes a strategy to mitigate its carbon emissions, despite the Group’s increasing use of sea water. With 75% of its emissions associated with electricity consumption, the first priority was to diversify its energy sourcing and by the end of 2015, Los Pelambres was receiving 33% of its energy from clean sources. By 2019, this will increase to 80%.
The new standard guides the implementation of initiatives to mitigate CO2 emissions at current operations and future projects. To achieve this, the Group has identified the critical activities and designed projects to reduce emissions that are both technically and economically feasible according to the marginal abatement cost curve. This methodology allows for the comparison of the benefits of each project, measured in terms of potential reduction against cost savings per tonne of copper abated, which is particularly relevant in the current cost control environment.
In 2016, Antofagasta will start executing specific projects to increase energy efficiency in its operations which allow it to set goals for GHG reduction.
The Group’s new engagement model aims to strengthen its social licence to operate and grow. It is based on a methodology to sustain ongoing dialogue between the Company, local communities, authorities and other local stakeholders to enhance the Group’s contribution to local development and social capital.
The model´s key characteristics are:
1. Engaging with the communities, the local authority and other local stakeholders to:
- identify local challenges and opportunities (whether related to mining or not);
- build a shared vision for the region´s development; and
- design a portfolio of projects and programmes to fulfil this vision.
2. Taking an integrated and long-term approach to the challenges faced by the Choapa province’s four municipalities, through the design and execution of a portfolio of projects instead of isolated contributions.
3. Working through alliances with national, regional and local government, using both private and public funding to implement the agreed projects.
4. Explicit commitment to transparency and accountability of decisions, management and results. Chile Transparente – the Chilean arm of Transparency International – has accepted the Group’s invitation to oversee Somos Choapa.
Somos Choapa has been accepted with growing enthusiasm by local stakeholders. By the end of 2015, some 49 discussion forums had been heldin the province with the participation of 3,600 neighbours. From this process 18 strategies emerged, involving 57 specific initiatives. A dozen were already in their tendering stage by the end of the year.
Somos Choapa constitutes an integrated platform for the sustainable development of the Choapa province and a common charter for both public and private investment in the short, medium and long term.
Training for employees enables the Group to keep improving the skills of the workforce in line with the current and future needs of the business. Providing personal development opportunities helps to motivate employees and keep them with the Company for the long term. The Company has a talent management programme to develop personnel within the Company, and a succession plan for key positions. Since 2010, the Group has a specific initiative to recruit young professionals.