We are committed to attaining an outstanding level of environmental performance in all
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
In FY18 we achieved our goal of implementing Environmental Enhancement projects with a primary purpose of improving or enhancing environmental values onsite or in nearby communities. The following projects were either commenced or progressed:
We have partnered with North Queensland Dry Topics to sponsor the Burdekin waterways environmental enhancement project. The project involves the extraction of weeds in the Kalamia Creek to reinstate an open body of wetlands, restore fauna diversity and improve farm productivity.
Wildlife rescue – Online training courses
We have partnered with WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information Rescue Education Services) to develop online training for volunteers in NSW, SA, QLD and WA. This initiative will improve access to training, reduce costs incurred by WIRES and the volunteers, and enhance the services provided.
Mallee fowl recovery in the Bland Shire
The Mallee fowl population in the NSW is listed as endangered. Evolution has partnered with the Lake Cowal Foundation and the NSW Government to support the revitalisation of the Mallee fowl species in regional NSW as part of a greater National program which is being led by the Commonwealth Government.
Rehabilitation and land care
We have partnered with the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Urban Land Care Group to upgrade the nursery and expand communication programs for enhanced awareness of rehabilitation programs being undertaken.
Voluntary nature refuge reserve at Mt Perry
This project involves the voluntary preservation of approximately 10 square kilometres of land owned by Evolution near our Mt Rawdon operation at Mt Perry to create a nature refuge for local fauna (e.g. koalas and gliders). This project will help protect otherwise at-risk native fauna.
Evolution acknowledges that Climate Change is occurring and its effects have the potential to impact our business. In FY19 we plan to identify and assess climate-related impacts to our business.
As a mining company, we can contribute to global efforts to combat Climate Change by promoting energy efficiency and reducing emissions. Each year we create and submit annual reports for the National Pollutant Inventory (NPi) and the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER) to estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy use.
In FY18 Scope 1 emissions decreased by 5%, Scope 2 emissions decreased by 9%, and energy consumption decreased by 7% compared to FY17. The decreases in emissions and energy are largely due to divestment of the Edna May asset in October 2017.
A summary of FY18 results is provided in the tables below. For historic information of NGER results, please click here.
NGER – FY18 summary
The Evolution Environmental Assurance Audit Program is undertaken by our corporate office. The program reviews different risk areas and
aspects from the site operating licence each quarter. This assurance program assists in the effective management and monitoring of environmental risk across the organisation.
Quarterly assurance visits to our operations focused on hydrocarbon and chemical management. Small leaks and spill volumes have been focussed on to ensure that incidents are being reported and the causes are promptly addressed.
Rehabilitation success and failures are reviewed with the view that other Sites share the learnings during subsequent Site visits or during our monthly Environmental Professional Network teleconference and our annual face-to-face gathering.
Assurance visit and audit recommendations are tracked and followed up via our company incident management system.
As part of our environmental management, Evolution’s activities are governed by conditions detailed in mining approvals, lease conditions and licences set out by regulatory authorities.
Periodic voluntary independent environmental performance audits are also conducted.
Our Environmental Protocols consist of 11 benchmarks for best practice management in key business risk areas, such as Waste Rock Management, Cyanide Management and Mine Closure and Rehabilitation. All our sites and workplaces are required to meet the protocol requirements, which are audited on a regular basis.
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 social licence to operate
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 and
communicate the outcomes in the various consultative
forums for our operations.
7. Waste rock management
This protocol 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 protocol is applied as required given that our goldsilver-
copper ore bodies and their surrounding waste
rock are generally quite different for each operation
in terms of their potential for AMD and salinity impact
on the surrounding environment. Operations maintain
material balances for their topsoil, waste rock types
throughout the lifecycle of operations in order to
provide certainty for meeting eventual 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
FY18 waste rock produced: 39,905kt1.1. Exclugin Edna May, divested in October 2017
2. Biodiversity management
We acknowledge that the nature of our operations can
have significant environmental impacts. Additionally,
our operations and growth strategy are dependent on
obtaining and maintaining access to environmental
resources. 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
We have developed land and biodiversity management
plans at our operations. These plans are risk-based.
Adaptive strategies include the voluntary and prescribed
biodiversity offset areas that are actively maintained for
fire, pest and weed control at our operations.
8.Rehabilitation and closure management
We acknowledge that mining is only a temporary use
of land and the 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 use/s
will be and what the site should look like when the
operational areas are ready for relinquishment.
Each of our sites have 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.
We rehabilitated 113.66 hectares of land in FY18 around
3. Chemical management
We use chemical substances to conduct efficient and safe operations across the Group. The safe transport (routes), storage, handling and use of these substances occurs for both small quantity and bulk commercial volumes. Our sites are linked to one management system that provides
employees with access to electronic and hardcopy point-of-use Manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheets. The system is maintained to provide advice and reports on segregation and stock quantities held. Only substances approved for use by the site management process team can be used.
A considerable amount of planning and maintenance occurs to maintain the integrity of storage bunds, tanks and pipework associated with the delivery, storage and use of chemicals. Each of our sites has emergency response teams and relevant jurisdictional mutual aid arrangements in place. Periodic exercise drills are executed to ensure preparedness.
Workplace risk assessments and inspections maintain focus on the prevention of leaks, spills and environmental impacts.
9. Tailing management
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 protocol and governance process
incorporate the International Council on Mining and
Metals (ICMM) six key components of the Tailings
Regular inspection and audit 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 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.
FY18 Tailings produced: 26,632kt1 (wet tonnes).1. Exclugin Edna May, divested in October 2017
4. Cyanide management
Our management protocol is largely derived from the International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI) – Cyanide Code. This applies to the purchase (production), transportation (routes and times), handling, storage, and the operation (leaching and cyanide destruct circuits) and decommissioning of cyanide facilities.
Cowal was the first process plant in the world to obtain both pre-operational and operational ICMI – Code Certification (16 April 2006) and has passed all subsequent independent Cyanide Code audits to date. We undertake annual licence to operate independent audits and triennial hazard audits of our operations.
Our operations maintain monitoring programs to detect any adverse effects to wildlife, surface water and ground water quality due to the use of cyanide. We use periodic or online measurement of Total and Weak Acid Dissociated (WAD) cyanide in slurry and water streams to remain within legal operating limits, or below accepted, peer reviewed industry practice limits for fresh and hypersaline Tailings Storage Facility or Integrated Waste Landform Decant Pond water recovery and storage pond infrastructure works.
Our cyanide management protocol sets Evolution’s requirements for cyanide management, aims to be protective of human health and wildlife, and to prevent uncontrolled releases to the environment.
10. Waste management
We have established an ethos to reduce, recycle and
reuse our resources occurring in our normal site waste
The on-site management of putrescible and nonputrescible
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
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 typically sent off-site under commercial service
arrangements for industrial re-refining (for re-use) or
conversion into energy.
5. Water management
Evolution takes a proactive approach to responsible
water management and as a minimum complies with all
relevant water licensing requirements set by Government
and industry regulators. Our water management protocol
ensures that our operations effectively manage water,
including process water, stormwater, discharges and
We utilise probabilistic site water balance models to
predict water flow and requirements during droughts and
Our operations prepare for seasonal variations in water
flow and maintain routine dewatering activities to satisfy
water licence conditions.
Each operation has different hydrogeological settings
ranging from fresh to hypersaline surface and
underground water and specific site licence to operate
In addition, there are water management requirements
associated with tailings and waste rock management
designed to manage risks associated with unwanted
The various streams of water have specific water
management requirements. The protocol 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).
We monitor fresh water (surface, groundwater and
rainwater intake) and recycled water volumes to ensure
controls are implemented. FY18 water data from our sites
is provided over page.
Environmental data (water, air emissions and energy)
reported from our operations is collated and verified by
external environmental accountants Greenbase.
FY18 Total Water Withdrawal
FY18 Water Recycled and Reused
11. Energy efficiency
See the tab Climate Change, Emissions and Energy for more information
6. Hydrocarbon management
Our hydrocarbon storage tanks and conveyance systems are designed and constructed in accordance with the relevant Australian or International Standard (ie AS 1940:2004). The hydrocarbons used at our operations are approved for use via the online management system that provides employees with access to electronic and hardcopy point-of-use Manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheets.
Our site hydrocarbon storage facilities are inspected during internal site-based and corporate assurance visits and by independent external audit teams.
Our workshops and service areas (including contractors that service vehicles and/or heavy equipment) have treatment or management facilities for hydrocarbon contaminated water that meet the applicable discharge standards.
An historic overview of our NGER data can be reviewed by clicking here.
Benefits include the continuity of employment for the existing workforce (average of about 385 people) for an additional eight years, providing job security for employees and contractors, and would continue to stimulate demand in the local and regional economy and provide significant additional contributions to State royalties, State taxes, Commonwealth tax revenue and applicable contributions to local councils.
Consultation was conducted with key state government agencies, local councils and the local community. Several environmental studies were completed which indicated that existing monitoring, mitigation and management measures could continue to be implemented to minimise potential impacts of the operation on existing environmental values and the nearest private dwellings. Approval was granted for mine life extension to 2032. Further details are provided on the company’s website www.evolutionmining.com.au/cowal.
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.