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Whitehaven Coal Limited : Annual Report 2013
22 Whitehaven Coal Limited Annual Report 2013 1 Sustainability Overview We want to ensure that the overall impact of our business, our people and our operations is positive for the world in which we live. Our challenge, every day, is to conduct our business in the most ethical, e cient and sustainable manner possible. Our business Whitehaven has been operating in partnership with the north-west New South Wales community (where all our production is located) since 1999. We are the largest coal producer in the Gunnedah Basin, with our coal travelling by rail to the Port of Newcastle before being shipped to our customers in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India and China. Coal is not only one of Australia's largest export industries, but one of the world's most reliable sources of cost-e ective energy -- underpinning economic growth and increased standards of living in many countries around the globe. We believe coal has an important long-term role in the global energy mix. Coal is currently the cheapest, lowest risk energy source available. Our coal is relatively clean and high in energy. It is used in the production of electricity, steel, specialty metals and in general industrial markets. Whitehaven's coal has low trace elements, low-ash, low-sulphur, low-phosphorus. As the world moves towards cleaner sources of coal it actually bene ts both Whitehaven and Australian coal producers more broadly. Economic, environmental and community impacts Whitehaven makes a signi cant economic contribution to the community, through long-term employment, royalties, contributions to local councils to support infrastructure, contracts with local businesses and the investment we make each year in running our business. We understand that it is not just bringing these bene ts that assists the north-west New South Wales community, but the way we conduct ourselves in bringing those bene ts. Like all extractive industries, our operations do impact on the environment and communities. We aim to minimise, and where possible, eliminate these impacts -- and to ensure that our presence delivers the communities in which we operate the greatest net bene t possible. Our target is to ensure we have zero environmental incidents. We want to do this in the most ethical and rigorous manner possible and this can only be achieved through open and honest consultation and partnership with our broad range of stakeholders. We are running a sustainable business within a sustainable industry. We understand that our social licence to operate is dependent on operating not just technically within our approved conditions, but through endeavouring to listen, understand and genuinely engage with members of our broader stakeholder community. We measure our stakeholder engagement performance through the strong support we have obtained from the majority of local stakeholders. We are committed to earning and maintaining their ongoing support. In addition to our proactive approach to managing the sustainable development of our coal resources, our industry and our operations are working within an increasingly stringent regulatory environment. This regulatory environment covers all aspects of our operations from our engagement with communities, including social impacts and cultural heritage, to our speci c environmental impacts -- air quality, noise, biodiversity, surface and ground water, visual amenity, and land rehabilitation. In Whitehaven's case, four of our ve mining operations have been through the full approvals process in the past two years.1 This sets us apart from our peers and means that our mines are now operating under the highest environmental standards and requirements in the NSW mining industry. The stakeholder consultation undertaken as part of these approval processes was broad and detailed, and exceeded the standards required by general compliance. All of the documents associated with these approvals, including independent studies, consent conditions and management plans are available publicly on our website. www.whitehavencoal.com.au/environment.cfm 1 In the past three years Whitehaven has completed the full Federal and New South Wales approvals process for: the Narrabri underground mine; Rocglen extension; Tarrawonga Extension; Werris Creek Extension; and Maules Creek project.
Annual Report 2012