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ERG publishes sustainable development report 2020

Published by , Editor
Global Mining Review,

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), a leading diversified natural resources group, has announced the publication of its sustainable development report for 2020, entitled ‘Sustainability in Challenging Times’. The report summarises ERG’s efforts to integrate sustainable development into its business, prioritise community well-being, and champion ethical behaviour and responsible supply chains.

From early 2020 onwards, ERG’s priority has been shielding its employees and contractors, their families and the wider community from exposure to COVID-19, whilst ensuring operational continuity and business resilience. These efforts were supported by a dedicated Anti-Crisis Control Centre, as well as the rollout of comprehensive COVID-19 safe measures to ensure the safety of ERG’s employees, including Group-wide PCR diagnostic tests and antibody testing, as well as provision of personal protection equipment, remote working, social distancing practices, awareness raising and medical consultations.

To mitigate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 across the group’s regions of presence, ERG committed US$10 million to the establishment of a national foundation in Kazakhstan and set up an ERG COVID-19 testing laboratory in Nur-Sultan. The group’s wide-ranging measures to help combat the pandemic included producing and distributing 16 200 reusable face masks in Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), together with the Good Shepherd International Foundation (GSIF), through a dedicated vocational training programme for women, and donating medical equipment (including respirators and thermometers) to local government bodies in Africa. In Brazil, ERG contributed US$54 000 to local municipalities, including for food and hygiene baskets, more than 300 000 gloves and hand sanitiser gel. Further to this, in early 2021, 32 pulmonary ventilators were donated to equip health units in the state of Bahia.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG, said: “During a year of unprecedented global challenge, we continued to integrate sustainable development into our business whilst generating long-term, shared value for stakeholders. This report reflects our efforts to maintain and improve the resilience of our business, help our people and host communities thrive, ensure our operations are managed in an environmentally responsible way, and champion responsible supply chains. Looking ahead, ERG will continue to focus on the opportunities presented by the global energy transition and embed sustainability practices across our operations.”

Going forward, the group’s key priorities are to continue safeguarding its employees and operations from the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and positioning itself as a global leader in the supply of materials that are crucial for the transition to the green economy.

ERG’s commitment to sustainability and responsibility within the wider value chain is underpinned by its founding membership in leading global organisations such as the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), and industry-wide initiatives such as the Cobalt Action Partnership (CAP) and Re|Source.

Key highlights and milestones of the year include:

  1. Preparing the business for the future: delivering record aluminium production in Kazakhstan and further growth in commercial ferroalloy production; reaching full Phase 1 of production and completing Phase 2 of construction at Metalkol RTR, which became the world’s second largest standalone cobalt producer; commencing commercial iron ore operations at ERG’s BAMIN in Brazil and starting construction of the Porto Sul deep-water port; winning the auction for the first section of the FIOL railway in Brazil in April 2021; establishing ERG’s Environmental, Social and Governance Committee (ESG Committee, set up in the beginning of 2021); optimising Group liquidity and financial performance via existing debt restructuring and new financing.
  2. Helping the company’s people thrive: recording a lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of 0.61 in 2020 (2019: 0.83); enhancing risk management and industrial safety standards across the group’s assets in Kazakhstan, Africa and Brazil; supporting the government of Kazakhstan in the rollout of the Atlas of New Professions.
  3. Community development and well-being: contributing US$65 million in community social investments; supporting living standards, youth skills development, healthcare and sports as part of a multi-year regional development programme in Kazakhstan; delivering drinking water to 400 families (~2800 people) and establishing 10 farming cooperatives as part of ERG’s partnership with GSIF in the DRC; signing a three-year Commitments Register at Metalkol RTR to invest US$3 million to support projects in priority community development areas.
  4. Environmental stewardship: continuing to implement a 10-year US$350 million air quality improvement programme in Kazakhstan and ERG’s 2016 – 2020 Energy Efficiency Programme; initiating a formal process to establish 2030 renewable energy and greemhouse gas reduction targets; implementing third-party risk assessments at the group’s storage facilities in Kazakhstan; selling 465 000 t of waste from Kazakhstan’s production facilities to third parties; reprocessing of 6 480 000 t of tailings from previous miners’ operations in Kolwezi in the DRC; successfully completing trials of innovative flotation technology as part of the ‘Slimes 2’ project in Kazakhstan.
  5. The broader role in society: distributing US$4,611 million to stakeholders; continuing to transform the group’s corporate culture, including through the ERG Academy and the establishment of a new ‘Ambassador Institute’ for employees; championing responsible supply chains by supporting the development of the Battery Passport and a Responsible ASM Framework through the GBA and CAP; co-founding Re|Source, an industry-wide blockchain initiative; becoming one of the first contributors to the Fund for the Prevention of Child Labour in Mining Communities, programmed by UNICEF.

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