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Main Content

Working together for the environment

A key part of our Sustainable Mining Plan is to maintain a healthy environment.

It’s one of our three Global Sustainability Pillars, alongside being a trusted corporate leader and supporting thriving communities.

Our healthy environment pillar covers three key areas: biodiversity, climate change and water usage. The stretch goals we’ve set ourselves within these areas are designed to be challenging, to deliver them by 2030.

We’re ultimately aiming for a future where we’ve created waterless, carbon neutral mines, as well as delivering positive biodiversity outcomes.

Global Stretch Goals


Our vision

Our vision is to deliver net positive impact (NPI) across Anglo American through implementing the mitigation hierarchy and investment in biodiversity stewardship.

Being a responsible land steward

Biodiversity underpins the structure, function and composition of ecosystems and the services we provide to societies and communities.

Through our longstanding partnership with FFI, we receive independent strategic advice on biodiversity and assistance on building our capacity to manage biodiversity risks. One example is our Sakatti polymetallic project in Finland, where we work with FFI to assess whether ‘no net loss to biodiversity’ is feasible.

South Africa

In South Africa, we’ve developed a framework to help us plan how to maximise the contribution and full potential of our biodiversity and non-operational land assets whilst promoting sustainable socio-economic development opportunities.


In Concei??o do Mato Dentro, Brazil, we opened a science centre as an educational resource for employees, communities, municipalities, schools, colleges and universities. It is centred on environmental and cultural themes and aims to build community relations, share knowledge of the region’s historical and archaeological heritage and create educational partnerships with NGOs and local academic institutions.

Climate change

Our vision

Our vision is to operate carbon neutral mines.

Addressing the global warming challenge

We’ve taken important steps for more than a decade to reduce our emissions.

Our 2030 stretch goals for climate change include reducing our net greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and improving energy efficiency by 30%. These ambitious targets are part of our roadmap for developing a carbon-neutral mine.

We’re committed to working in partnership and consultation with all relevant stakeholders to help address the causes and impacts of climate change. You can read about how we’re doing this in our 10 year climate change strategy, which focuses on how we can operate more efficiently, apply technology more effectively and partner with our stakeholders.

We’ve also been working with the UK Met Office and other recognised experts on climate change since 2010. Initially, we identified our highest-risk sites as Chile and Peru, with several other operations also vulnerable to extreme weather. Identifying these sites enables us to initiate climate-modelling analysis and adaption exercises across our operations.

We’ve already initiated these exercises in South Africa and there are more planned for Debswana’s Jwaneng and Orapa in Botswana.


Our vision

Our vision is to operate waterless mines in water scarce catchments

Making a difference through efficient water usage

With predicted global water shortfall of 40% by 2030, pressure on shared freshwater resources is as a global concern. Therefore, our vision is to reduce freshwater abstraction in water-scarce regions by 50%.

We can’t operate without water and 70% of our mines are in places where it’s scarce. This means that looking after water is a significant challenge, as without careful management, mining can have a negative impact on its quality.

That’s why we’re using less water, and then recycling and purifying it so we use and bring it to communities where it’s scarce. We’ve made progress so far, with our total water withdrawals amounting to 306.3 million m3 in 2017.

Stewards of our water catchments

We’re also taking the lead as stewards of our water catchments, helping preserve access rights and water quality for the communities near our operations. For example, In Limpopo, South Africa, we’re actively involved in partnerships through the Olifants River Water Forum and Lebolelo pipeline, to source water into the Northern and Eastern Limb platinum operations and communities.

Creating new water sources

Another important opportunity for us is to create water sources. To do this we must work with regional stakeholders to optimise re-use at a catchment scale near our sites, continue with regional desalination projects and manage aquifer recharge. In South Africa, we’re already exploring the feasibility of using excess mine-water discharge and water stored on operational mines as a water source option for the Limpopo province. In Peru, we’re constructing a dam to create a water-supply reservoir to serve the Quellaveco mining project, the local community and agricultural industry in the future.

Finding better ways to deal with waste and emissions

Mining creates a lot of mineral waste and some of our operations put gas and particulates into the air.

However, by managing these by-products carefully, we can prevent harm to people’s health and the environment.

We’re finding new ways to cut waste by re-mining or reusing it. We apply the ‘avoid, reduce, re-use and recycle’ management hierarchy to ensure the least possible impact on human health and environment during both the operational and post-closure phases. Once waste-reduction opportunities are exhausted, we actively explore the re-use of by-products.


Going beyond the life of the mine

Our mines create opportunities and a whole way of life wherever they are. They can operate for decades – but eventually the mining will come to an end.

We use our Mine Closure Toolbox to plan far beyond the life of a mine.Our approach focuses on every stage of a mine’s life, ensuring that the way we operate today puts us in the best position to leave a positive environmental and socio-economic legacy for the communities.

Mine Closure Toolbox

We launched the Mine Closure Toolbox (MCT) in 2007. It is now used throughout our managed operations and also at some of our non-managed operations in partnership with other mining companies. The tool reinforces our desire for improved community relationships and engagement. Some of the more immediate benefits from our updated MCT can be lower closure liabilities, lower rehabilitation costs and more effective social investment and engagement.

Our updated MCT aims to further improve the quality of our closure planning and is now publicly available to download.