We believe in leaving our environments in a better state than when we arrived and are committed to attaining an outstanding level of environmental performance in all our operations.
In accordance with our Sustainability and Strategic Planning policies, we incorporate environmental
management into all areas of operations to manage the risks and potential impacts through all cycles of the
business. We operate beyond legal compliance to deliver against our social licence obligations and strive for leading practice to meet community expectations.
We have a social responsibility to not only achieve all legislative compliance expectations but strive for leading practice and to meet the expectations of the communities we operate within and are part of.
- Identified and workshopped climate-related risks (including transition risk) and governance, measures and mitigation opportunities across its operations
- First phase of aligning with key Task Force on
Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Principles and UN SDGs through the development of our Sustainability Principles
- Embedded accountability for our eight environmental performance standards to lift the Group’s environmental performance
- Improved management, governance and assurance practices for our TSFs
- Ongoing quarterly environmental assurance reviews and environmental team engagement to accelerate our sustainability performance
- A$400,000 contributed to improve or enhance
environmental values onsite or in communities adjacent to our operations
- Embedded risk mitigation strategies and targets for FY21 leveraging off the detailed measures captured from previous years
- Revised our Climate Risk Position Statement
- Balanced Business Plans include the requirement to accelerate sustainability performance and includes the introduction of measures and targets associated with the reduction in use of raw water and emissions against production metrics
- Increased focus on innovation, technology and
The Group has a uniform internal reporting system across all sites. All environmental incidents, including breaches of any regulation or law, are assessed according to their actual or potential environmental consequence. Our FY19 incidents can be found on our compliance page.
Environmental performance standards
Our Environmental Performance Standards consist of eight key business risk areas: Air quality, Biodiversity, Rehabilitation and Mine Closure, Resource Efficiency and Emission Reduction, Tailings Storage Facilities, Waste, Waste Rock and Ore and Water.
FY20 – Zero catastrophic
or major environmental
Our environmental care and culture is based on:
- Commitment to our Environment and Sustainability policy, with supportive funding and a belief that most environmental incidents are preventable and controllable with foresight, relevant training, purposeful attitude and appropriate equipment
- Accountability of Management with the support of all our people to ensure that the workplace and the practices comply with statutory and licence conditions
- Implementing leading industry practices and environmental management systems at all levels: including exploration, development, operations, decommissioning, closure and rehabilitation
- Regular assessment of the environmental performance of the Company’s activities to ensure compliance with the Company’s commitments and conditions; and to report findings to stakeholders, the community and regulatory authorities
- Continually striving to identify opportunities to effectively manage energy and water whilst minimising waste and reducing our environmental footprint
- Increasing awareness of personnel on the potential environment impacts of activities in which we are involved, and how those impacts can be minimised or controlled
- Maintaining appropriate emergency and critical incident response programs, and to notify the relevant authority in the event of any reportable environmental incident
- Contribute to conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use
Click here to view our Sustainability Policy
Click here to view our Tailings Storage Facility Governance Policy
Click here to view our Sustainability Performance Standards
Click here to view our Sustainability Performance Data table
We have an established, risk-based decision approach that is supported by the Sustainability and Strategic Planning Policies, Standards, Risk Management Framework and supporting sites processes and procedures that aligns to the principles of the Australian and international standards and guidance. The Group risk reporting and assurance control mechanisms are designed to ensure strategic, operational, legal, financial, reputational and other risks are identified, assessed and appropriately managed. Matters relating to sustainability are recorded in a database and communicated widely across the organisation on daily,
weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual timelines dependent on the issue. These are reviewed by our Board Risk and Sustainability Committee throughout the year, supported by regular reviews by the Leadership Team, site leadership teams and subject matter experts such as the Tailing Storage Facility (TSF) Governance Committee. Further, an integrated three level Line of Defence (LOD) program has been implemented, supported by subject matter experts and internal and external audit.
The financial reporting and control mechanisms are reviewed during the year by management, the internal audit process, the Audit Committee and external auditors. The Group has policies in place to manage risk in the area of sustainability, with individual annual Risk and Governance Assurance confirmation letters submitted at the end of each financial year by the asset management to the Chief Operating Officer and the Board Risk and Sustainability Committee.
The Board delegated committees and Leadership Team regularly review the risk portfolio of the business and the effectiveness of the management of those risks.
We believe in the power of partnerships, which is why we contribute to projects that are relevant to our communities and leave a positive environmental impact.
In FY20, over A$400,000 was contributed to improve the environment at our operations or in communities adjacent to our operations.
Partnerships with North Queensland Dry Tropics and James Cook University were developed to support two projects which aim to protect and enhance the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system. We contributed:
■ A$200,000 over two years to a project which enhances bush scrub tributaries to the Great Barrier Reef
■ A$218,000 over 2-3 years to support the protection and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef’s Conservation Park (Yellow) Zone
We are pleased to report that there were no material environmental incidents during FY20.
All environmental incidents, including breaches of any regulation or law are recorded in a Group wide reporting system. Incidents are assessed according to their actual or potential environmental consequence. Environmental incidents are tracked and managed based on risks factors such as spill volume, incident location (onsite or offsite) potential or actual environmental impacts and legal obligation.
■ No fines were received for environmental events
■ No environmental events which lead to operational interruptions with substantial (more than US$10,000) impacts on costs/revenues
■ Quarterly Environmental Assurance Visits were conducted at each operation, with findings shared with both site and Group leadership
■ Monthly Environmental Network meetings undertaken to share and learn from incidents and review assurance findings
Our Environmental Assurance Audit Program is undertaken by Group and other subject matter experts with quarterly assurance visits to each of our operations. Assurance visit and audit recommendations are tracked and followed up via our Group-wide incident management system.
Our Environmental Performance Standards consist of eight key business risk areas. All our sites and workplaces are required to meet the performance standards which are audited on a regular basis.
The eight key business risk areas are:
1. Air Quality
3. Rehabilitation and Mine Closure
4. Resource Efficiency and Emission Reduction
5. Tailings Storage Facilities
7. Waste Rock and Ore
Environmental data (water, air emissions and energy) reported from our operations is collated and verified by external environmental accountants Greenbase.
|1. Air quality|
Our operations develop, implement, communicate and adhere to their air quality management plan. This includes developing and implementing strategies, operational controls, management practices and monitoring/inspections programs to verify that air emission controls are operating properly and to provide relevant, traceable data for internal and external reporting. We manage point and non-point source air emissions to ensure we are protective of human health and the environment. Ambient dust, noise, odour, and spill light impacts on our surrounds and are closely monitored at our operations.
Protection of our local communities means that we operate above compliance in these areas within our community surroundings. We report our air emissions as per our legal and other requirements then communicate the outcomes in the various consultative forums for our operations.
In FY20 Evolution will be trialling a new air quality measurement program with enhanced technology at our Cowal site to monitor particulate matter in real-time.
|5. Tailings Storage Facilities
Tailings are the fine waste slurry residue of the crushed solid mineral ore that is fed into the process plant grinding mills. Tailings Storage Facilities need to be operated and rehabilitated with due care for a range of potential issues.
Our performance standards and governance process incorporate the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) six key components of the Tailings Governance Framework.
■ Accountabilities, Responsibilities and Competency; all sites are now equipped with a responsibility matrix
■ Planning and Resourcing; Tailings life of mine project teams are in place at each level of the organisation
■ Risk Management; considered a high priority risk for the organisation all sites have completed Principal Hazard Management Plans, Bowtie risk assessment and Critical Control Plans for each facility
■ Emergency Preparedness and Response; Dam break studies have been completed for all active Tailings Storage Facilities
■ Review and Assurance; tailings governance assurance meetings have been formally introduced during FY19 and will continue at each level of the organisation
Regular inspections and audits ensure that operations meet the requirements for the characterisation of tailings, protection of wildlife, protection of groundwater, prevention of uncontrolled releases to the environment, management of process fluids and the closure and rehabilitation of Tailing Storage Facilities.
Ongoing efficient recovery of tailings decant water back to the processing plant water supply is essential to manage the water balance and minimise new water intake to operations.
Management of wildlife access and safe egress from tailings storage facilities is a key business imperative for our operations. Our fresh water-based operations have cyanide destruction and slurry dilution to reduce weak acid dissociable (WAD) cyanide levels to safe levels for avifauna and terrestrial animals. Fencing, bird deterrent systems and regular monitoring and perimeter patrols provide early warning of such issues.
FY19 Ore processed: 14,211kt (dry tonnes) to produce 654,312oz Au, excluding Ernest Henry.
Tailings Storage Facility Governance Policy – https://evolutionmining.com.au/tailings-gov-policy/
Sustainability Performance Standards – https://evolutionmining.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/20190715-GRP-STD-Sustainability-Performance-Standards.pdf
We acknowledge that the nature of our operations can have significant environmental impacts on the flora and fauna that we share the landscape with. We believe that we all have a role in demonstrating our environmental responsibility by minimising impacts and contributing to enduring environmental benefits through every stage of our operations.
We have developed land and biodiversity management plans at each of our operations. These plans are risk-based. The Management Plan for our Cowal site can be viewed on our website at https://evolutionmining.com.au/cowal/ under Environmental Management Plans.
Adaptive strategies include the voluntary and prescribed biodiversity offset areas that are actively maintained for fire, pest and weed control at our operations.
|6. Waste Management
Our waste goals aim to reduce, recycle and reuse our resources occurring in our normal site waste management practices.
The on-site management of organic and industrial/inorganic waste streams has progressed to a stage where bioremediation and general landfill facilities and management practices are now relieving pressure on local government authority facilities. Generally septic waste solids are transported to local government authority facilities.
Our operations use specialist, government approved waste management service providers and tracking arrangements for the approved, safe disposal of transfers of obsolete or used hazardous material waste/dangerous goods substances. Generally, chemicals are consumed in process. Hydrocarbons in the form of dirty rags, crushed oil filters, used engine coolants or used bulk lubes are transferred off-site for industrial re-refining (for re-use) or conversion into energy.
A site resource recovery strategy has been implemented at our Cracow project in central Queensland to reduce waste to landfill and enhance our custodianship of the environment.
Effectiveness of the strategy is monitored using our environmental database system to capture and analyse the data collected. Initial data will be shared in FY20.
|3. Rehabilitation and Mine Closure|
We acknowledge that we are only visitors in our communities and mining is a short-term land use. Our project planning cycle begins with ensuring our minimum disturbance of ground during the exploration drilling phase (10 to 30 years) and needs to look forward to what the operation’s future land uses will be and what the site should look like when the operational areas are ready for relinquishment.
Each of our sites has a closure plan in place which outlines the process to rehabilitate the site and performance criteria required before a tenement can be handed over to Government. These plans take into consideration both environmental and social impacts. Rehabilitation and land use management plans for our Cowal site can be found at https://evolutionmining.com.au/compliance/#cowalpart
In addition to the post mining plans Evolution are actively seeking ways to ensure the land is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable at relinquishment in preparation for future land use.
■ Partnering with six other operators in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region to support regional development including recreational and tourism. The project aims to add economic and environmental value and is then transferred to an external entity and ultimate relinquishment of mining tenure
■ Our Mt Rawdon site is working closely with CSIRO to develop a wetland project to provide a natural treatment of mine affected water that could be reused for irrigation purposes or released back to the natural environment. The CSIRO has developed a synthetic clay called ‘Virtual Curtain’ that reduces the number of contaminants in the water column by binding to the
sediment, thus making it non-toxic
■ Our Mt Carlton team has partnered with environmental specialists in refining quality control in the placement of waste rock as a final landform to ensure potentially problematic material is encapsulated in the most efficient manner for future land use
■ At Cowal we rehabilitated 18.2 hectares of land in FY19. Rehabilitation was complete for waste rock emplacement which stabilised batter slopes with rock armour and provided a stable layer able to support long-term vegetation growth
|7. Waste Rock Management
Waste rock is identified as the extracted mineral bearing ore that does not meet a site’s minimum concentration of mineral. This performance standard addresses the characterisation of waste rock, design and construction of waste rock disposal facilities, potential acid generation, storm-water controls, monitoring, rehabilitation and closure.
The performance standard is applied as required based on each ore body and the surrounding waste rock. Each operation is generally quite different in terms of potential for acid mine drainage (AMD) and salinity impact on the surrounding environment. Operations maintain material balances for topsoil, waste rock types throughout the lifecycle of operations for rehabilitation closure criteria requirements.
Where Potentially Acid Forming (PAF) waste rock is suspected or known to occur, the operation will place it inside and under Non-Acid Forming (NAF) covers.
Progressive rehabilitation activities are conducted as areas of the waste disposal facility become available. Full rehabilitation of these areas is conducted as soon as practicable.
FY19 waste rock produced: 37,501kt representing an 6%
reduction on waste rock produced in FY18 (39,905kt).
|4. Resource Efficiency and Emission Reduction|
Evolution acknowledges that climate related risk has the potential to impact our business and communities.
Evolution is committed to understanding and proactively managing the impact of climate related risks to our business and our environment. This includes integrating financial, physical, regulatory, reputational, market, and climate related risks, as well as energy considerations, into our Life of Mine strategic planning and decision making.
We will work to build the climate related risk resilience of our assets, our communities and our environment.
We will implement sound risk management practices across all areas and activities in our business and apply Board level governance.
Our Sustainability Principles include improving the disclosure of, and actively managing, climate related risks and opportunities, improving energy efficiency and the responsible management of water usage. Climate related risks have been identified as key risks on the Evolution Mining Risk Register which are regularly reviewed and monitored by the Risk and Sustainability Committee.
We will transparently report emissions and energy consumption performance and disclose material climate related risks. The Company has completed a process to identify and assess climate related impacts to our business, with the main areas of focus in the near term to be improving energy efficiency and responsibly managing water use.
We recognise the importance of water to our business and our communities. Evolution believes in taking a proactive approach to responsible water management. Our standards aspire to reduce the demand for new water and the overall requirement for water in our operations.
In FY19 our total water withdrawn increased by 6%. This increase was in line with the cumulative total dry tonnes milled which also rose by 1%.
Total water recycled and reused increased by 21% between FY18 and FY19. We use recycled water primarily to process ore and in other activities such as paste fill, irrigation, dust suppression and construction.
Our water management performance standard ensures that our operations effectively manage water, including process water, stormwater, discharges and dewatering activities. As a minimum we comply with all relevant water licensing requirements set by Government and industry regulators.
We utilise probabilistic site water balance models to predict water flow and requirements during droughts and stormwater flows. Our operations prepare for seasonal variations in water flow and maintain routine dewatering activities to satisfy water licence conditions.
In addition, there are water management requirements associated with tailings and waste rock management designed to manage risks associated with unwanted events. Each of our operations separate clean water (rainfall runoff in non-disturbed areas) and potentially mine affected waters (rainfall runoff within the mining footprint). Waters which are captured within the mining footprint are reused in an effort to reduce the demand on our external supplies.
The various streams of water have specific water management requirements. The performance standard guides operations to ensure that clean water is kept separate from contaminated water (a similar management strategy is used for other waste by-product streams).
Evolution acknowledges that climate-related risks, both transitional and physical, have the potential to impact our business, communities and the environment. We are committed to understanding and proactively managing these risks.
Sound risk management practices and strategic planning are integrated across all areas of our business, leveraging
off technology to ensure projects return long term value. Comprehensive Board-level governance and oversight are applied.
In FY20, as a first step towards the TCFD framework, emerging climate-related risks were identified and included in the Risk Register.
Climate-related risks are actively reported, and targets have been developed for FY21 to build on opportunities, improve energy efficiency and water security, prepare for extreme weather and health events, (including pandemic and smoke impacts from fires) and adopt responsible water management practices. Specific targets have also been captured in the Balanced Business Scorecard, including implementing community plans, year-on-year reduction of CO2-e emissions per tonne of material mined, and year-on-
year reduction of raw water demand per dry tonne milled based on historical data. The case studies for water efficiency at Cowal, extreme weather at Mt Carlton and the management of COVID-19 demonstrate our ongoing commitment and mitigation of climate-related risk.
A summary of FY20 results is provided in the tables below.
|Energy consumption (GJ)||FY20||FY19||FY18||FY17||FY16|
|Energy intensity (ore processed -GJ/tonne)|
Ore processed does not include our financial stake in Ernest Henry.
|Total direct and indirect emissions||FY20||FY19||FY18||FY17||FY16|
|Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 1 (t CO2-e)*||157,857||155,085||159,061||167,734||157,584|
|Greenhouse gas emissions Scope 2 (t CO2-e)^||398,187||383,449||394,144||430,993||472,257|
|Total of Scope 1 and Scope 2 (t CO2-e)||556,044||538,533||553,205||598,727||629,841|
|Sulphur oxide SOx (kg)||932||916||926||1,002||936|
|Nitrous oxide NOx (kg)||1,492,143||1,397,676||1,395,277||1,521,718||1,627,006|
|Carbon Monoxide (CO) (kg)||722,095||719,005||701,930||886,918||788,636|
|Particulate matter <10um (kg)||4,730,467||4,260,114||4,323,757||5,163,574||5,585,918|
|Particulate matter <2.5um (kg)||96,844||88,471||86,683||95,254||104,208|
|Total volatile organic compounds (VOC) (kg)||100,959||90,036||86,380||97,958||110,103|
|Emissions of lead and lead compounds||688||577||639||812||1,147|
|Emissions of mercury and mercury compounds||1.29||1.55||1.48||2.25||3.64|
|Emissions intensity (ore processed -t CO2-e/tonne)|
The energy and emissions boundary is based on operational control as defined by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) Act 2007. The applied global warming potential (GWP) rates and emission factors are based on the NGER Act (2007) and the National Pollutant Inventory.
*. Scope 1 refers to emissions produced directly by operations, primarily resulting from combustion of various fuels and includes CO2-equivalent values for greenhouse gases such as CH4, N20 and SF6.
^. Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions resulting from the import of electricity from external parties; commonly the electricity grid.
Evolution Mining GHG and Energy Summary
Evolution creates and submits annual reports under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act to estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use. All methods used to estimate GHG emissions and energy were drawn from the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (Measurement) Determination 2008, as amended for the relevant financial year. All results shown are based on Evolution’s own estimates, and may differ slightly from results published by the Clean Energy Regulator due to differences in rounding.
For historic information of NGER results, please click here.
|Energy Use |
|Energy Use |
|Energy Use |
|Energy Use |
1. In FY16 Other refers to Blue Funnel Operations and Wirralie Exploration
2. In FY15 Cowal returned submitted by Barrick and Mungari return by La Mancha
We are committed to improve our transparency about tailings facilities information. As part of this commitment, we have responded to the Church of England Pensions Board and the Council on Ethics Swedish National Pensions Funds’ request for specific disclosures of our tailings facilities and in FY20 have publically made this available on our website.
To view the tailings dam management disclosure, please click here.
Evolution acknowledges that Electricity is a significant cost to our operations, and it is constraining us from expanding mill capacity at two of our operations. We believe there is an opportunity to analyse our power consumption and correlate it with our production patterns to develop techniques which
optimise our electricity usage, reducing our costs and enabling improved throughput and recoveries of our mills.
To view the Electricity Usage Summary for FY16 – FY20 results, please click here.
We recognise the importance of water to our business and our communities and take a proactive approach to responsible water management and security. Our standards aspire to reduce the demand for fresh water and the overall requirement for water in our operations. The water management performance standard ensures that our operations effectively manage water, including process
water, stormwater, discharges and dewatering activities.
■ 85% water utilised for operations was recirculated for reuse onsite
■ 11% increase in water reuse between FY19 and FY20
■ 0.74kL average water demand per tonne of ore milled at all operations
Our total water withdrawn increased by 21% in FY20. The increase in water withdrawn was due to mine dewatering at all operations with increases at Mt Carlton and Mungari.
Total water recycled and reused increased by 11% between FY19 and FY20. We use recycled water primarily to process ore and in other activities such as paste fill, irrigation, dust suppression and construction.
Operations prepare for seasonal variations in water flow and maintain routine dewatering activities to satisfy water licence conditions. Probabilistic site water balance models are used to predict water flow and requirements during droughts and stormwater flows at operations.
In FY20, one uncontrolled release of water of more than 10kL occurred. Cracow had a 11.7kL release of mine affected water which was contained with no environmental harm or enforcement action.
In FY21, there is a focus on reducing the volume of fresh water used and increasing the portion of water reuse for all operations.
|Water withdrawal surface (ML) water||FY20||FY19||FY18|
|Surface water (ML)||4,948||3,506||2,077|
|Groundwater – mine dewatering (ML)||3,034||3,034||3,212|
|Groundwater – borefields (ML)||826||1,589||1,476|
|Municipal water (ML)||74||66||59|
|Total water withdrawal||11,087||9,194||8,680|
|% Total reused||85%||93%||81%|
|Water discharge (ML)||Surface water||Sewers that lead to water||Land – Dust suppression||Land – Irrigation||Groundwater||Treatment Facility||Total|
The major waste streams in mining are tailings and waste rock. Minor waste streams include industrial waste, organic and inorganic waste. The management of waste is supported by group wide policies and performance standards and local operating procedures.
All waste streams are monitored through regular inspections and waste tracking.
Operations use specialist, licenced waste management service providers and tracking arrangements for the approved and safe disposal of transfers of obsolete or used hazardous materials. Generally, chemicals are consumed in the process. Regulated waste streams are transferred off-site for industrial re-refining (for reuse) or converted into energy.
Operations seek to reduce impact to our communities and the environment through elimination, reduction, recycling and reuse of waste streams in favour of disposal.
■ Elimination: waste converted to energy (pre-feasibility studies in progress)
■ Reduction: 43% reduction in hazardous chemical use achieved at Cracow and Mt Rawdon has significantly increased their haul truck hours reducing the environmental footprint
■ Reuse: Waste rock is used for the construction of TSF embankments at most of our operations forming Integrated Waste Landforms (IWL) reducing our environmental footprint
■ Recycle: investigating sustainable recycling of tyres and PPE clothing options with community partners
FY20 Waste information
|Mineral waste||Waste material mined (kt)||Solids in tailings (kt)||Total ore processed (kt)||Explosives (t)*|
* The reporting period for liquid fossil fuels, lubricants and explosives is July 2019 to June 2020 and reported as part of the National Pollutant Inventory.
Non-mineral waste information
|Tonnes||Off-site landfill||On-site landfill||Recycling/reuse||Tyres disposed of on-site||Tyres incinerated||Composted or bio-remediated||Other – septic waste|
As the short term custodians of the land in which we operate, we recognise mining as a finite resource. As such, the need to integrate future land use into planning is acknowledged. We also aspire to relinquish our mining lands for future sustainable purposes, be it traditional land use, conservation, agriculture or future clean energy industries.
■ All operations have mine closure plans. An example of a Rehabilitation and Land Use Management Plan can be found for our Cowal Operation on our website, please click here
■ All operations engage with external stakeholders regarding mine planning
■ 3,437 hectares of land approved for disturbance covered by rehabilitation liability
■ 3,028 hectares of land disturbed by mining activity (Australian operations only as of 30 June 2020)
■ All operations are undertaking progressive rehabilitation and reclamation activities
■ External Assurance Audits have been undertaken in FY20 to verify and validate closure costs
Rehabilitation and closure management
|Land management (ha)||Land disturbed||Land rehabilitated||Sites with protected conservation status|
The first phase of Evolution Mining’s Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP) commenced in December 2017, removing 15 hectares of aquatic weeds from the Kalamia Creek wetland water body. The weed piles were transported to the composting site at a local landholder’s property who placed the material in windrows and turned the piles fortnightly using his compost turner.
All local landholders supported the objectives of the project and are keen to see the open water body return. The landholders told stories about fish previously caught in the area before it became choked up with weeds and how they would like the local children to share the same experiences. Following a rainfall event in February, the creek system received a good flood pulse.
A manager at the Pacific Reef Prawn farm located downstream said “I’m not sure of what you have actually done upstream in the creek but this is the cleanest we have ever seen the water during a flood pulse”.
The project has received interest from local landholders eager to use some of the compost product. This indicates that if the final compost product is beneficial and cost mitigation is viable, it could be a popular renewable resource in the Lower Burdekin. The project is on-track to meet its milestones and long-term outcomes.