PanAust acknowledges that the environmental challenges for a mining operation are significant, and excellence in environmental performance is an essential component of success.
Respect for the environment is a core Company value and is at the forefront of business strategy, decision-making, and day-to-day operations.
From exploration to development, throughout operations and into closure, PanAust endeavours to limit its impact on the natural environment. The Company does this by complying with host country legal requirements and through the effective management of mine waste, efficient use of resources, progressive rehabilitation of land and the maintenance of ecosystem services.
PanAust designs its operations and projects to be energy efficient. With fuel and electricity being significant cost drivers for the business, PanAust minimises the consumption of these resources in order to achieve the intent of the ICMM Principles on Climate Change Design.
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).
In 2016, PanAust submitted the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project in Papua New Guinea.
Details of PanAust's environmental performance during each calendar year are detailed in the corresponding section of the Company's annual ‘Business Review and Sustainability Report’.