PanAust acknowledges that the environmental challenges for a mining operation are significant, and excellence in environmental performance is an essential component of success.
PanAust is committed to respecting the environments in which it operates by preventing or minimising pollution and promoting the efficient use of natural resources; reusing and recycling waste; minimising release of contaminated emissions to air, land and water; and progressively rehabilitating land.
PanAust’s environmental management approach is guided by commitment to the Mineral Council of Australia’s Enduring Value, Principle 6: Seek continual improvement of our environmental performance and Principle 8: Facilitate and encourage responsible product design, use, re-use, recycling and disposal of our products.
PanAust aligns with the International Council on Mining and Metals policy on climate change, and recognises that minimising human-caused climate change is an important international goal that is of increasing interest to many of the Company’s stakeholders.
PanAust assesses and manages environmental impacts across all stages of the business from exploration to development, and operation and through to closure. The Company uses its Environmental Management Systems to develop appropriate management and monitoring plans for each site. The management systems align to ISO14001 and progress against the plans and monitoring results are assessed at regular intervals and, for key material issues, external audits and/or review of performance is undertaken (for example, tailings and waste rock management).
The Company recognises that an environmentally aware workforce is integral to achieving continual environmental improvement. Each year, PanAust delivers numerous environmental awareness programs through inductions and other training to employees and contractors working at operations in Laos.
PanAust encourages the reporting of all environmental incidents as it reinforces a risk-aware culture and ensures minor issues are investigated and appropriately addressed. Incidents are recorded and processed (followed up and closed out) through PanAust’s incident management system to ensure corrective actions are implemented and trends identified to assist in avoiding repeat occurrences.
Given PanAust's activities in Laos are located in a mountainous setting adjacent to important waterways, risk management processes have identified surface water and mine waste as key environmental challenges for both Phu Kham and Ban Houayxai. Detailed management plans for both are developed, implemented and monitored annually.
Annual audits against the International Finance Corporation's Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability and the PanAust Sustainability Standards are completed for the Phu Kham Copper-Gold Operation and the Ban Houayxai Gold-Silver Operation.
As a signatory to the voluntary International Cyanide Management Code, Ban Houayxai has been designed and constructed, and is operating in compliance with the Code (for more information see the 'Cyanide management' section on the Managing Environmental Challenges page).
Further information about PanAust's environmental performance can be found in the 'Environmental performance' section of the 2015 Business Review & Sustainability Report (pages 50-57).