Mining and industrial processes have the potential to cause significant environmental consequences if not managed responsibly. At Emirates Global Aluminium, activities with potential environmental impacts are overseen by a dedicated team of in-house environmental specialists. Working together, our operations and environment teams are responsible for managing all necessary controls, monitoring plans and audits plus constantly finding opportunities for improvement.
Across all operations and project sites, EGA actively identifies potential environmental risks and suitable controls. Our management plans establish requirements for impact identification, monitoring and controls in order to manage risk, avoid impacts and ensure an appropriate level of mitigation where necessary.
At EGA, all of our smelting and casting operations are certified to ISO 14001:2015 with plans to certify our alumina refinery in the future.
In Al Taweelah, the environmental performance of our smelting and casting has been confirmed as meeting ASI Performance Standards. We have plans to certify all of our operational facilities in the future.
EGA’s core policy includes a commitment to a low-carbon future through reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. This commitment is reflected in our current Carbon Abatement Strategy that includes specific targets for reduction in emissions intensity from our aluminium smelting, casting and power production operations
Fuel consumption at our natural gas power plants accounts for most of our greenhouse gas emissions, along with greenhouse emissions generated by the consumption of anodes and the generation of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) during the electrolysis process.
In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions associated with our metal production were 38 per cent lower than the published global industry average. Our PFC emissions intensity was more than 91% lower than the global industry average
We are also anticipating a significant decrease in our greenhouse gas emissions intensity in the not-too-distant future.
We depend on healthy, functioning ecosystems and must maintain these for future generations. The protection of the natural environment is part of our core policy at EGA.
In the UAE, our facilities at Al Taweelah are approximately two kilometres from Ras Ghanada, a nationally protected marine reserve. Our Jebel Ali site is approximately seven kilometres from the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary. Both these protected areas support important clusters of coral, mangrove and seagrass. At both our sites in the UAE our discharge monitoring efforts take account of these valuable conservation areas and to date we have not identified any adverse impacts associated with our operations. In 2019, we continued our conservation efforts associated with the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle, including regular surveys and implementation of protection measures to safeguard the turtles' nests and habitat, in addition to rescuing any diseased or distressed turtles.
In Guinea, our biodiversity assessments have confirmed that habitats in and around our mining and port concessions support rich assemblages and important species of mammals, reptiles, herpetofauna, avifauna and flora, including 27 critically endangered species. These species include the West African chimpanzee, the hooded vulture and the Atlantic humpbacked dolphin. All our associated biodiversity conservation work is governed through our Biodiversity Management Plan, prepared in accordance with IFC Performance Standards, which includes a commitment to achieve no net loss for biodiversity and a net gain for critical habitats
Power generation and industrial processes associated with aluminium smelting can create adverse air quality impacts if not adequately controlled. In the UAE, protecting air quality is a key focus area for our environmental management system. We monitor emissions and local ambient air quality to ensure the effectiveness of our controls and regularly communicate the results to relevant environmental regulators.
Potential air quality impacts from our mine and export facilities in Guinea are predominantly associated with dust generation from the movement and the processing of large quantities of earth and rock as well as emissions from mobile equipment and power generators. We have run simulated computer dispersion models in order to help us avoid potential local impacts associated with NOx and SOx emissions and identify suitable locations for air quality monitoring stations to ensure controls for dust suppression are sufficient
At EGA, the waste hierarchy is at the core of our waste management decisions. In boh the UAE and in Guinea we have a comprehensive Waste Management Plan, with a long-term aspiration of sending zero waste to landfill.
In the UAE we are exploring and developing various opportunities for our waste streams to be used as feedstock for other industries and have already had proven success in recycling 100% of our generated spent pot lining, one of the aluminium industries most significant and often most problematic waste streams.
In Guinea, diverting waste from landfill is particularly challenging given that our mining concession is in an isolated area with minimal opportunity to access sophisticated waste treatment infrastructure. Much of our waste is currently securely stored and controlled onsite until we are able to confirm a suitable means of reuse or recycling. Meanwhile, we are actively engaged with local waste recycling organisations hoping to expand their businesses.