The Group’s sustainability priorities are those issues of material risk to the business, its employees and contractors, to the environment in which it operates and to the Group’s national and international stakeholders. In 2015, the Group built upon the materiality assessment carried out in 2014 addressing high risk and high impact areas.
Specifically, the Group focused on the following:
- implementing its new community engagement approach, strengthening its social license to operate on the basis of regular dialogue and agreed contributions to the communities in which the Group operates;
- developing human capital – finding, developing and maintaining a high-quality and committed workforce to achieve the Group´s business strategy;
- auditing and assessing business operations to ensure safe work practices and strengthening leadership and operating procedures in higher risk areas;
- identifying opportunities to improve the efficient use of water, energy and other natural resources; and
- developing the first Group-wide response to climate change.
The Group's main sustainability issues are:
Building and maintaining a high quality and committed workforce.
In a world of volatile markets and talent shortages, recruitment and retention are a constant challenge. Antofagasta seeks to be a preferred employer and to achieve this the Group’s human resources strategy is to develop, promote and maintain a strong value proposition for employees.
Why it matters
The Group’s management strongly believes that internal mobility, training and professional development opportunities foster engaged employees. This increases employee retention and promotes sustained productivity and growth.
76% internal recruitment for key positions over total job openings.
Maintaining positive relations with communities near the Group's operations and investing in local development.
Over the last few years Chile has faced growing opposition to industrial projects, often including legal action. The Group has recently adopted a new approach to stakeholder engagement and community relations, declaring a long-term commitment to enhancing local development in conjunction with public sector and other private stakeholders.
Why it matters
Both operational continuity and future growth depend on the Group’s capacity to become a preferred partner for all stakeholders, particularly its neighbouring communities. Due to the location of Los Pelambres in a narrow, populated valley, the challenge is particularly acute at this operation.
$31.3 million was invested by Antofagasta during 2014 on community projects near to its operations.
Being efficient, using sea water and ensuring the availability and quality of water for other users.
Continental water is scarce in the central and northern parts of Chile where the Group operates. The situation is aggravated by rising demand, non-sustainable practices and climate change. The mining industry is a significant consumer of water and its activities can affect not only the availability of water but its quality due to the leaching of heavy metals and sulphates from waste dumps and tailings dams.
Why it matters
Prolonged drought in central Chile is a growing concern for all stakeholders and makes water an increasingly costly key input.
Although copper production increased, water consumption decreased from 45,482 to 44,666 (’000s of m³) due to the mining division’s focus on improving water efficiency.
44% of the water used at the Group's operations is sea water.
Identifying, preventing and managing the Group's operations' environmental impact on air quality, water quality and availability, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and cultural heritage.
Mining operations generate significant quantities of waste rock, spent ore, leached minerals and tailings. As a result, natural habitats, local vegetation and animal species can be affected. Antofagasta has a strong track record in preventing and managing this impact while striving to add environmental value wherever possible.
Why it matters
The Group’s legal permits, social licence to operate and reputation depend on its ability to prevent and manage any negative impact of its operations. Even when an operational incident has a limited environmental impact, it can damage community relations and trust between the Group and its stakeholders.
Zero incidents with environmental impact in 2014.