"Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely." This observation, issued by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), unfortunately sums up all of the latest studies on the subject.
The Eramet group is fully aware of the state of emergency the planet finds itself in. It is therefore striving every day to ensure that it views the longevity of plant and animal species and their habitats as a business, social and ethical issue.
As part of its CSR roadmap, which dates from 2018, Eramet has committed to protecting water resources and accelerating the restoration of sites by fostering biodiversity. Earlier, in 2014, the Group adopted a Biodiversity Policy that forms part of a continuous improvement approach, aligned with its Sustainable Development Policy and its Environment and Ethics charters. The policy is based on three cornerstones: characterizing the biodiversity of sites, launching and monitoring concrete actions in the field and providing universal education on the subject.
- 12th objective of the Eramet CSR roadmap: restore more surface area than the group will impact over the 2019-2023 period.
Enhancing knowledge and understanding of biodiversity
Respect for biodiversity is therefore fully incorporated into the activity of each of the Group's mining and industrial sites. Characterization studies are regularly conducted to collect as much information as possible about local biodiversity, as well as usages and eco-systemic services. These studies were entrusted to national and international specialists and experts, including specialized firms, public institutes, universities and NGOs. The risks and impacts of activities on biodiversity are studied and preservation actions are defined accordingly.
In New Caledonia for example, wildlife (reptiles, birds, bats), the marine environment and the quality of the water in mining creeks are painstakingly monitored. SLN's teams are also working on reintroducing rare and endangered plant species via surveys at the mining centers and phenological monitoring with the aim of controlling their reproduction more effectively. Under a partnership with the Institut Agronomique néo-Calédonien, SLN produces production sheets that are made available to vegetation growers.
Taking action to protect biodiversity
When a project is launched, a whole host of preparatory work is carried out to implement a suitable strategy. This routinely follows the sequence below:
- avoid negative impacts on biodiversity
- lower the impact to reduce its duration, intensity and extent
- restore sites, notably by fostering the reintroduction of endemic species
- offset the significant residual impacts
Extension of the Moanda mine (Gabon)
A strategic undertaking for the Group, the Moanda mine extension project in Gabon is carried out with one objective in mind, namely achieving a positive net balance on biodiversity.
To this end, a key stage called "impact avoidance" has been conducted since launch. In liaison with numerous experts (engineers, environmental specialists, primatologists, etc.), Eramet's teams have identified "critical" and untouchable areas further up the line, as well as gallery forests to protect. Construction areas and vehicle traffic areas have been determined to reduce the impact to a minimum.
Once the project was launched, in addition to restoring surface areas equivalent to those utilized, Eramet's teams have implemented additional conservation actions, including combating poaching, restoring sites damaged outside the mining site and protecting endangered species.
Education on biodiversity
A great deal of background work is carried out alongside this to strengthen the biodiversity culture within the Eramet group. Employees and subcontractors are trained in biodiversity conservation issues, and working groups are organized on the subject, including experience sharing processes and the introduction of common management rules.
These efforts don't end within the company. Actions to foster biodiversity are incorporated into the Group's environmental reporting and are highlighted in the periodic publications issued to all stakeholders.
Eramet also contributes to the process of reflection on improving biodiversity knowledge and conservation as part of national and international bodies. For example, in 2011 the Group became an active member of the Business and Biodiversity Offset Program (BBOP), a think tank specializing in solutions to offset environmental damage. Since the end of the mission, all the documentation produced, in which Eramet participated, has been hosted by the NGO Forest Trends.
A new seminar dedicated to restoration
From 18 to 26 June 2019, the Restoration managers of SLM, GCO and Comilog, as well as the Group's mining environment and biodiversity experts, met on the Gabonese and Senegalese sites. The schedule included visiting the sites, sharing each site's best practices and developing common documentation.