The Company has a long-term vision of environmental stewardship, particularly as an operator in Africa and has set up an Environmental Management Program that ensures the Company operates in line with local legislation. This means prioritising environmental risk mitigation before any initial exploration spanning through to a period after the closure of mining activities. We mitigate the impact of our operations through detailed mine closure and reclamation plans.
We believe that moving towards self-sufficiency is a long-term process but starts with the adoption of best practices amongst our employees. We continually improve and regularly monitor, audit and review our environmental performance, including the reduction and prevention of impacts and more efficient use of resources. We recognise the need to be transparent and accountable about our approach and are working to strengthen our commitments in this area. We believe a strong culture of environmental stewardship is best complemented with a self-monitoring review. We seek to exceed the minimum regulatory standards for our industry and set higher and stricter standards of our own which we continue to strive towards.
We seek to progressively develop and maintain environmental management systems that are consistent with internationally recognised standards. These processes and systems are adopted internally by senior management across all employee levels. We are striving to increase our self-sufficiency in food management through internal growing practices and the consumption of foods (produce and meats) grown from local villages. We are striving to limit our waste impact through practices including composting and recycling. We work tirelessly to reduce the impacts of our operations on the environment – whether, through best-in-class Tailings Storage Facilities (“TSF”), community-focused water stewardship programmes or a shift towards the use of lower-carbon power sources in our operations. We routinely monitor water, air, and soil quality.
In Tanzania, we report on our environmental performance at New Luika in an Annual Environmental Monitoring Report which is submitted to the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) in Dar Es Salaam. This is completed in accordance with the Tanzanian Mining Act 2010 and our Mining Licences which require that accurate records are kept, and annual reports submitted which contain results of monitoring activities, instances whereby limits have been exceeded according to the Environmental Management Act (EMA) together with remedial action and responses taken, and details of emissions, discharges, and wastes.
In Kenya, we adhere to the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) 1999 (Amendment 2015) and we have an Environmental Rehabilitation and Restoration Plan that outlines the process for the rehabilitation and restoration of sites where exploration activities have been undertaken.
Grid power at New Luika
At New Luika the remoteness of the site presents a challenge in connecting to the national grid electricity supply, TANESCO, a cleaner source of energy than HFO, with its generation system consisting mainly of Hydropower and Thermal based generation. Hydro plants contribute 36.6%1 of the grid’s power generation.
During 2019 TANESCO initiated the construction of a 33kV power line in the vicinity of the NLGM, opening the possibility of NLGM being able to draw some of its energy supply from the grid. The company arranged to purchase 2MVA power from TANESCO, which was facilitated by the construction of an overhead power line that connected the main TANESCO power line to the NLGM site.
In 2020, its first full year of being connected, grid power met 11% of NLGM’s energy needs which increased to 22% in 2021.
TANESCO has a sufficient power supply to provide New Luika with nearly all its power requirements. However, the actual amount that can be drawn down by NLGM is limited due to the instability of supply because of the current configuration of the network. Currently, NLGM receives power through a ring feed network from the Chunya or Mbozi power lines. The Mbozi power line runs for a very long distance and along the way supplies many customers in Mbeya and Songwe. As there is no direct line to NLGM, there are power outages and low voltages due to many customers sharing the line.
We are continually looking at ways to increase the proportion of our power supply at New Luika which comes from TANESCO, to help reduce our carbon footprint and dependence on HFO. In 2021 we upgraded the 3MVA transformer to 7.5MVA to mitigate volatility issues with power off-take from TANESCO, thereby increasing the proportion of power that can be drawn by mitigating the risk of power outages.
Increasing our proportion of power coming from TANESCO will benefit the government through payments made for grid power supply leading to increased revenues, but also NLGM’s operations through lower costs and reduced carbon footprint.
Solar Power Plant
A 693kWp Solar Power Plant was commissioned at New Luika in July 2017 to optimise the unit cost of energy generated across the operation. The 28 solar panel arrays are understood to be the largest solar power plant in Tanzania. This facility has been providing approximately 2% of New Luika’s energy demand, optimising the unit cost of power and in turn reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 50 tonnes per annum.