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Whitehaven Coal Limited : Annual Report 2013
38 Whitehaven Coal Limited Annual Report 2013 5.1 OUR APPROACH TO MANAGING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS Mining has well-understood and well-documented impacts on the environment. These impacts can be well managed. As a business our track record for managing these impacts is strong. Under our recently received approvals Whitehaven is operating under the highest environmental standards and requirements in the NSW mining industry and we are always striving to improve our performance. Our approach is two-fold. It involves both our statutory requirements and our Company-led commitment to achieve and where possible exceed these requirements. Statutory regulation of environmental impacts Firstly, all environmental aspects of our operations, including air quality, biodiversity, water, noise, cultural heritage and social impacts, among others, are tightly regulated by our consent conditions which are set by the State and Federal Governments. In addition to these approval requirements, our activities are also subject to participation and reporting in relation to Federal programs such as the Energy E ciency Opportunities Act and the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act. In recent years, these consents have become more and more detailed and in the case of our recently approved Maules Creek project we have more than 100 State Government conditions. These consent conditions for each of our projects involve the development of site-speci c management plans on each area of environmental impact, and identi ed commitments as to how these impacts will be managed. These management plans are approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DP&I) and have been reviewed by other stakeholders including government agencies, local government, and site community consultative committees for consultation purposes. Copies of all approved management plans are available on the Company's website: www.whitehavencoal.com.au/environment.cfm Whitehaven corporate approach and commitment to environmental management Our environmental management is fully integrated into our operations by both our corporate team and our site-based environmental professionals within an Environmental Management Strategy. Our overall approach to environmental management is encapsulated in our Health, Safety & Environment Policy (page 24). Whitehaven is currently reviewing its Environmental Management System to assess readiness for certi cation with ISO14001. An Independent Environmental Audit of our projects suggests certi cation based on existing processes and procedures is achievable. Our Environmental Management Strategy for our operations presents the strategic framework for environmental management including identi cation of statutory requirements, the roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of key personnel, the procedures in place to keep the community and regulatory authorities informed as to our environmental performance, how we respond to complaints, resolve disputes and respond to any non-compliance or emergency situations. 5.2 OUR PERFORMANCE Overview Whitehaven's environmental performance was strong in FY2013 -- an overall improvement on the previous year. As outlined above, Whitehaven reviews its environmental performance both by statutory regulation and our own internal measures. These measures include review of all monitoring data comparative to compliance requirements, including real time monitoring networks on a daily basis, independent assessment of rehabilitation performance and biodiversity o set management, and monthly reporting of performance to management. At a statutory level, nine environmental incidents occurred during the year. These nine incidents are summarised in the table below. Relevant government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), were noti ed of the incidents and actions taken to mitigate the impacts and reduce potential for future incidents. Two Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) totalling $3,000 were issued by the EPA in relation to incidents during the FY2013. Both of these PINs related to a wet weather surface water discharge at our Melville site -- approximately 6km to the south of the Company's Gunnedah Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP). The Melville site, an old open cut mine site, is used to store ne rejects from the dewatering process at the CHPP. Nine incidents is unacceptable to us, and to the community, and Whitehaven is continually working to improve its performance. Our aim is for zero environmental incidents. We understand that environmental incidents are not acceptable to our workforce, our community and our shareholders, and we continue to review our procedures accordingly in order to achieve our aim of zero environmental incidents. 5 Environment
Annual Report 2012