London Mining Company (LMC) has implemented a successful sustainable strategy plan to maximise value for all stakeholders and make a long term positive contribution where they operate. It gives them a competitive advantage by helping them to manage risks effectively; reduce environmental impacts; preserve and maintain their social licence to operate; decrease operating costs; provide additional business opportunities; attract best in class employees and ensure employees’ health and safety.
They take a three-pronged approach to sustainability, with a focus on ensuring Equitable, Endurable and Eco-efficient mine sites through the stages of development, operation and closure.
There equitable approach balances economic and social responsibilities, so that both London Mining and communities benefit from the mine. Training and skills improvement for local Sierra Leoneans, including providing internships and university scholarships, not only creates a skilled workforce for them to draw upon, which in turn maximises local employment, it also facilitates the recovery of the wider skills base in Sierra Leone that suffered significantly during the civil war.
There Endurable approach balances social and environmental responsibilities so that local communities benefit and environmental improvements are realised. When they assumed control of the Marampa operational site in 2006 it was in a state of disrepair after 40 years of mining activity by another entity, followed by 30 years of virtual inactivity, which resulted in poor farming productivity and degraded ecosystems. In their Mine Closure Plan, they mitigated the effects of the legacy mining practices and created a site that is productive, stable and compatible with the surrounding landscape. They are happy to apply the necessary resources and know-how to undertake this work, which will deliver a sustainable future for Lunsar and its people.
The Eco-efficient approach creates an effective balance in the way ecological resources are used to meet human needs so that a particular course of action or strategy is both financially and environmentally advantageous. Mining operations are significant users of water, making the efficient use of this natural resource essential. This is why we have return water systems to maximise water recycling and monitoring programmes to ensure that stream flow and water quality is sufficient to maintain ecosystem functions.
They carry out thorough environmental monitoring to ensure any changes resulting from the mining operations are quickly discovered and can be acted upon to minimise the impacts on the environment. There environmental monitoring includes air quality monitoring, noise and vibration monitoring, water monitoring (including surface and ground water) and monitoring of our impacts and aspects. As part of their annual Environmental Impact Assessment Licence renewal, they updated these documents and submit it to the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-SL).
They have adopted the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental Health and Safety Performance Standards and these standards are now part of their Environmental Management Plan.
The environmental monitoring extends into the surrounding communities where they measure community water wells and they also do frequent dust, noise and vibration monitoring.
Iron ore mining contributed significantly to GDP growth in Sierra Leone in 2013. Production at Marampa almost tripled from the prior year, significantly increasing royalty payments to the government of Sierra Leone and increasing spend on community development projects.
They are constantly looking for practical ways to increase the local content of all there mining operations and projects. They currently employ around 1,300 local people at the mine site and their office in Freetown. They are training and improving the skills of their employees to ensure a sustainable future work force for the mine while creating a newly skilled generation of Sierra Leoneans to drive the country’s growing economy. They have also modified their procurement processes in order to enable local businesses to supply the site and other larger international organisations. This has included breaking down larger orders into smaller, more manageable pieces and reducing the turnaround time for invoices to allow for smaller businesses with tighter working capital considerations. In turn, this aligns with the Government of Sierra Leone’s local content policy.
They have actively contributed to the process of re-establishing the Chamber of Mines in Sierra Leone after several years of inactivity.
Health and safety
It is vital they educate their workforce in an environment where there is no existing safety culture. To this end, all workers go through a safety induction before joining the team. On completing the training, they are given full personal protection equipment relevant to their work. Each worker wears a badge with basic safety rules and responsibilities on it and has had these points explained to them in detail. Every safety breach or event is recorded. Incidents are infrequent and decreasing.
Marampa Health, Safety & Environment management is founded on “zero tolerance, target zero”- an approach to safety that requires an absolute adherence to standards at all times and an intolerance of unsafe acts or conditions.
The following safety rules are strictly enforced, at all operations to ensure the safety of their employees and contractors, and to safeguard the community.
Although embedded in each of these rules, it is important to emphasise that: Hazards must be identified and risks assessed before activities commence; hazards and risks must be reviewed whenever processes, people or natural circumstances change; all persons will be trained and competent in the work they conduct; personal protective equipment (PPE) will be worn as defined by risk assessment and minimum site requirements; safety devices must not be tampered with or made inoperable; tested emergency response plans, developed from a review of potential emergency scenarios, will be in place before commencement of work; all accidents and incidents must be reported immediately and zero tolerance means stopping work that is unsafe. When in doubt, stay out.
Monday May 12, 2014