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Environmental Management Vital for Liqhobong Mine

Environmental Management is an Integral part of the mine processes at Liqhobong Mining Development Company (Pty) Ltd (LMDC).

According to the Environmental Coordinator for LMDC Mr Motlalepula Mosoeu, the mine therefore ensures that staff members are aware of the importance of environmental management, hence the awareness creation sessions they hold for staff, which he says plays a major role in fine-tuning the understanding and creating a mine-wide buy-in while executing production among staff. 

“Environmental management in a mine setting is challenging as Environmentalists must always remain Gate-keepers for the mine regarding environmental compliance, while also integrating all aspects of the mining processes, “he stated.

The following components are therefore followed by the mine to manage the environment.

Mining environment

In mines, environment is defined as the surrounding in which an organisation operates, including air, natural resources, land air animals, plants, humans and their interactions.

Developments such as mines, which are associated with environmental impacts whether beneficial or adverse attract greatest concerns. Normally funders of such projects as well as the authorities require the management of the project to commit to taking care of the environment.

Legal obligations

Liqhobong Mining Development Company (LMDC) is required by Section 21 and 23 of Environmental Act of 2008 to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and to monitor environmental aspects in its operation. To fulfil these obligations, the company has developed a comprehensive Environmental and Social Management Systems (ESMS).  Furthermore, as part of best practices LMDC has adopted International Finance Corporation (IFC) guidelines for mining and metals as a commitment to monitor its environmental aspects and Equator Principles in the development of the ESMS. Therefore, LMDC works tirelessly to implement and review its ESMS to ensure compliance to legal requirements and remain a good corporate citizen.

Management of Water Resources

The mine uses a closed-circuit system for water reuse which has two benefits; for water conservation and to minimise pollution of nearby water resources. This system contains any possible seepage water from waste rock dump and tailings and restricts it from joining the water distribution system beyond the mine’s boundaries. Potable and Surface water monitoring is conducted monthly at identified surface water sampling sites, and the samples are analysed for physical, biological and chemical parameters.

Air Quality Management

As for atmosphere, dust fallout monitoring is conducted monthly to ensure that people, properties and biodiversity are exposed to minimal dust related problems such as nuisance and respiratory diseases. The dust suppression systems are installed through the mine, and they are dispatched once there are elevated dust emissions. This makes use of water bowser for haul roads and dust suppression systems at the diamond processing plant.

Dust fallout is sampled after 30 days and the dust fallout rates at 10 sampling sites are analysed aftermath, so that sensitive areas can be identified. The objective of dust fallout monitoring is to evaluate whether the dust suppression systems in place are effective or not.

 Biodiversity Management

For biodiversity, all plants and animal species within the mine are recorded in Flora and Fauna Inventory, and are protected from harvesting, poaching and hunting. To control plants which tend to spread quickly and out-compete the native species, they are mechanically or biologically removed from site. The protected plants species, threatened species and endangered species are transferred to less disturbed areas for their propagation.

 Waste Management and Natural Resources Protection

The mine has commitment to prevent pollution and to protect natural resources, thus the mine has sound waste management systems. For waste management, the mine uses the “The polluter’s pay principle (the waste generator is liable for his waste generated)” and ‘’The cradle to the grave principle (the polluter is responsible until the end-point of his waste)’’. There is fully functional Sewage Treatment Plant on site.  For solid waste, the mine main focal point is to recover more of the recyclable and reusable waste from waste and to reduce costs of treating and disposing waste. Therefore, the mine separates waste from source by using colour coded waste bins for ease of handling and sorting.

All hydrocarbons are Managed according to Hydrocarbons Management Procedure to prevent hydrocarbons contamination to the soil.

Land Rehabilitation

The mine has committed to progressively rehabilitate all the areas disturbed by mining activities through mechanisms such as stockpiling the top soil stripped and revegetating the disturbed areas.  Heritage issues, burial grounds and associated ceremonial rituals formed part of the processes.

Liqhobong Mining Development Company (Pty) Ltd is in the Northern part of Lesotho, in Butha-Buthe District. Its operations started late in 2016, and its first diamond sale was done in February 2016. LMDC is 75% owned by Firestone Diamonds and 25% owned by the Lesotho government

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