Putting environmental compliance front and centre

ASPASA used the Institute of Quarrying Southern Africa (IQSA) annual conference held at the Elangeni Hotel, eThekwini, South Africa, on 11-12 April 2024 to present its annual Environmental Awards. In a one-on-one with Quarrying Africa, auditor Anthony Bowen says the overall standard of environmental compliance has improved significantly in the industry. By Munesu Shoko.
Raumix Rossway was named the top performer in the Corporate category of the 2023 physical audit.

Two years into the revised ASPASA Environmental Audit, auditor Anthony Bowen is satisfied with the level of compliance that the members of the surface mining association have demonstrated in the 2023 audit.

In 2021, ASPASA announced its all-new environmental audit system for its members. The new system was aimed at simplifying the previous About Face Audit and improving member companies’ ability to undertake effective environmental management.

The new audit, which kicked off in 2022, has been described as more inclusive than the previous one, with criteria that are easy to understand and implement. The new system also calls for a comprehensive attitude towards environmental compliance, rather than the traditional ‘tick box’ approach.

“The overall compliance level achieved by the ASPASA member quarries during the 2023 audit season was exceptional,” says Bowen. “This was as a result of the commitment and dedication shown by management teams, environmental specialists and the employees of the various companies.”

Ashleigh Vorster of Afrimat was recognised for her efforts in advancing environmental compliance.

Understanding the benefits

The individual quarry operations, adds Bowen, understand the benefits of ensuring a high level of environmental compliance and putting a strong focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). “It is encouraging to see the level of commitment that site managers and senior managers place on sustainability and the preservation of the environment,” he says.

While environmental compliance has improved significantly in the past two years, Bowen says there are still a few issues to address on several sites. These include Environmental Management Programme (EMPr) reviews, incident reporting, oil separator management and maintenance, fuel storage facilities and leak tests, firebreaks and prevention measures (excluding plant fires), repeat findings and fallout dust reports and understanding.

“It is, however, important to note that these issues are generally easily rectified and most sites showed a commitment to pay attention to these areas of concern to ensure that they are addressed,” says Bowen.

Just like in 2022, the 2023 audit was divided into two categories – physical audits (conducted on site) and online audits (done remotely). A total of 58 operations was audited, compared with 66 in 2022. The reduction in the number of operations audited was because all the Lafarge South Africa quarries did not participate in 2023 due to the impending acquisition by Afrimat at the time. The 2023 audit recorded 32 Showplaces, up from 23 in 2022.  The online audits garnered a total of 26 Showplaces, with eight from the physical audit.

Having been named the top performer in the 2022 online audit, Afrimat Hluhluwe took home the Top Performer (Corporate) Award in the 2023 physical audit.

Physical audits

Having been named the top performer in the 2022 online audit, Afrimat Hluhluwe took home the Top Performer (Corporate) Award in the 2023 physical audit. “Afrimat Hluhluwe is a well-run site and they took the audit document as a guideline to achieve compliance. Housekeeping was very good and the attention to detail was noticeable. The environmental specialist for the region, Ashleigh Vorster, does an amazing job to ensure that all the required documentation and reports are in place,” comments Bowen.

Blurock Quarries walked away with the Top Performer Award in the 2023 online audit.

KwaZulu-Natal-based Midmar Crushers, which clinched the Top Performer Award in the Independent Quarries category of the online audit in 2022, was the 2023 top performer in the Independent Quarries category of the physical audit.

“Midmar is well run and there is a wonderful commitment from senior and site management to achieve a high compliance standard. The staff on site are all involved and the cooperation is unmatched. They make use of a good consultant, Ronelle Affinand from Noshcon, and she has made sure that the documentation is always up to standard,” explains Bowen.

No OPERATION (Physical Audit)
1 Afrimat Hluhluwe
2 Midmar Quarry
3 Afrimat Lyttelton Dolomite Mine
4 AfriSam Peninsula
5 Raumix Crushco
6 PPC Mooiplaas
7 PPC Laezonia
8 Afrimat Palmiet
9 Vergenoeg Mining Co (Pty)Ltd
10 Nokeng Mine

Online audits

The top performer in the Corporate category of the 2023 physical audit was Raumix Rossway. The latest accolade comes on the back of the 2022 Top Performer Award in the physical audit. “Raumix Rossway was exceptional and demonstrated good leadership and support from the management team as well as the buy-in from all staff. One of the key challenges is the operation’s proximity to a built-up area. However, they have maintained very good community relations which, in today’s operating environment, is critical,” says Bowen.

Blurock Quarries, the 2022 Top Independent Performer in the physical audit, walked away with the Top Performer Award in the 2023 online audit. Bowen commends Blurock for its newly built contemporary office block and weighbridge complex, which is equipped with energy saving and eco-friendly materials.

“For example, the energy-efficient air conditioning and lighting systems have reduced Blurock’s carbon footprint dramatically. The top management team is totally committed to having the least impact on the environment as much as possible,” says Bowen.

The Raumix team with a haul of awards at IQSA 2024. From left: Stephan Pieterse, Jacomien du Bruyn, Herkie Sandenbergh, Wade Schultz and CJ Fourie.

Eskay Crushers, which trailed Blurock Quarries by a meagre 0,04%, was also named the Top Independent Performer in the online audit. “Eskay Crushers is run by a small team under the leadership of John Davis and it is 100% committed to achieving a high level of environmental compliance. All the staff share a common goal and have embraced the need to be environmentally compliant. The standard on site is remarkable,” says Bowen.

Apart from operational audits, Raumix walked away with the Most Innovative Environmental Project Award. The company, says Bowen, has partnered with a service provider to implement a waste recycling project on the majority of its sites. Its environmental compliance levels are monitored at senior management level, and the company has over the years exhibited unparalleled commitment to its ESG programmes.

On an individual level, Jacomien du Bruyn (Raumix), Ashleigh Vorster (Afrimat) and Ronelle Affinand (Noshcon), were recognised for their efforts in advancing environmental compliance. The three ladies each received the auditor’s award for Outstanding Environmental Commitment. The same award was also bestowed on John Davis (Eskay Crushers) and Trevor McAdam (Drift Group).

No OPERATION (Online Audit)
1 Raumix Rossway Quarry
2 Blurock Quarry (Pty) Ltd
3 Eskay Crushers
4 Raumix Queenstown Quarry
5 Afrimat Vryheid
6 Afrimat Scottburgh Quarry
7 Drift Laezonia
8 Raumix Aggregates Willows Quarry
9 Afrimat Dingwell Nelspruit
10 Raumix Aggregates Donkerhoek


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