Environmental protection in KGHM International Ltd


In 2021, the mines operating within KGHM INTERNATIONAL LTD. met all the legal requirements and cooperated with regulators in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for the environment as well as for their operations. No irregularities occurred in connection with the mining activity that would lead to severe environmental consequences.

In the past year, the activity of the international assets focused mainly on ongoing environmental monitoring and obtaining or renewing necessary permits.

The Robinson Nevada Mining Company (RNMC; Nevada, USA) mine spent more than USD 2.7 million on environmental protection: waste management, environmental fees and consultants. Additionally, approximately USD 1.1 million was allocated for mitigation measures, which accompanied plans to expand the flotation tailings storage facility and measures linked to the Liberty open pit. The work served the purpose of protecting the areas where the sharp-tailed eagle (Centrocercus urophasianus) and the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) occur. An additional USD 57 thousand was allocated to ongoing reclamation activities.

Overall, RNMC spent about PLN 15 million for environmental protection measures, with the structure shown on the graph below:

In 2021, Carlota Copper Company (Carlota; Arizona, USA) allocated USD 1.6 million, or nearly PLN 7 million, for environmental protection. The actions were focused on environmental monitoring and renewal of permits. Work was also conducted to prepare the restoration process, which included testing of evapotranspiration covers, collection of necessary data and cooperation with consultants.

The allocation of funds is shown on the graph below:

In the Sudbury Basin mines (Ontario, Canada) activities focused on environmental monitoring, water and waste management, and obtaining of permits. Nearly USD 195 thousand, or approx. PLN 750 thousand, was spent for these purposes, with the structure shown below:

Environmental protection costs of the Victoria Project (Ontario, Canada) amounted to over USD 170 thousand, while USD 43 thousand was used for obtaining permits. Additionally over USD 4 million was allocated for work accompanying the development of the project.  Overall, more than PLN 17 million was spent on environmental needs of the project, with the structure shown below:

In 2021, the Franke mine allocated funds for environmental monitoring, water and waste management, obtaining permits as well as preliminary work on the analysis of environmental impact of expansion of the Carrizalillo project. Total expenditures for this purpose amounted to nearly PLN 6 million, with the structure as shown below

Examples of environmental measures taken by KGHM INTERNATIONAL LTD.

Protection of the air

Since 2009, SCM Franke has been monitoring PM10 emissions across the entire plant, even though it is not obligated to track these pollutants. Air quality records are not reported to any authority – PM10 monitoring is not part of any environmental commitment, but an additional internal initiative supporting the fulfilment of the requirement stipulated by the Regulation on Basic Workplace Sanitation. The average monthly concentration of PM10 particles for the individual months of 2021 are shown on the graph below:

Average monthly concentration of PM10 particles PM10 in 2021

In 2021, the average monthly concentration of PM10 never exceeded the level of 150 μg/m3 , or the threshold for regulating air quality for places of human habitation (formally, this limit does not apply at the site, as it is located in the middle of the Atacama desert). Such good air quality can be achieved thanks to continuous dust limitation
efforts: wetting mine roads, spraying water over crushers and conveyors, sealing the conveyors, performing ongoing maintenance of vehicles and machines, etc. Another example of a good approach to air protection is the Carlota mine located in the desert area of Arizona, which has not recorded a single exceedance of PM10 or H2SO4 concentrations since the beginning of the plant’s operation. This is made possible among others by imposing speed limits for low-emission delivery trucks, wetting of roads, conveyors and crushers, and using surfactants and mist balls whenever the SX-EW installation is in operation.

Also, Carlota is equipped with an advanced air quality monitoring network with six weather stations operating 24/7/365 and featuring beta attenuation monitoring for PM10 dust monitoring.

Water protection

KGHM International LTD mines also undertake numerous measures to protect water. Two of the mines, SCM Franke and Carlota Copper Company, do not release water to the environment at all. In the case of the Chilean mine, the SX-EW installation operates in a closed loop, using small amounts of water to compensate for losses. Domestic effluents is treated through reverse osmosis and treated water is used to control road dust emissions. Moreover, in 2021 Franke launched preliminary work to shift from a land-based water source to ocean-based water.

In the case of Carlota, engineering solutions ensure separation of contaminated water from clean water. Rainwater that has been in contact with the mine is captured and then used in technological processes.

The Canadian operations provide more examples of the correct approach to the protection of water. The Podolsky mine, which has been in temporary suspension since 2013, continues to treat rainwater and groundwater from the site through metal precipitation and ion exchange in order to meet strict water quality requirements. The treated water is discharged into the Norman North marsh.

A temporary reverse osmosis effluents treatment plant operated at the Victoria project site. Currently, work is underway to build a full-scale permanent effluents treatment plant to be commissioned in the spring of 2022. The installation will include, among others, metal precipitation, ion exchange, and a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR).


The international assets also focus their activities on biodiversity. The Carlota mine oversees 1.21 ha of marshlands where annual tests are conducted and improvements are made as necessary for further development of these areas. One of the marshes keeps water year round, which is rare in the desert climate of the southwestern United States.

Moreover, Carlota has grown and takes care of about 100 specimens of hedgehog cactuses, which initially grew in the windows of its office building and currently they overgrow the buttress wall of the pit. The care provided to the plants has ensured their survival rate comparable to the natural one.

The Victoria Project, as required by the Canadian Endangered Species Act, protects the whooping cottontail (Antrostomus vociferus) habitat, among other things by limiting plant development activities outside its existing boundaries during the nesting season and by providing endangered species training to all new employees. The Victoria Project also protects turtles based on its Turtle Protection and Mitigation Plan.

Another example of support for biodiversity is the fact that the Sudbury mines have joined the “Grow with Kivi” initiative. In this campaign, KGHM employees and their families planted 500 trees in the Kivi Park

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