Environment and the Community
Firestone is committed to minimising its impact on the environments in which it operates. Liqhobong’s Environmental Management Plan (“EMP”) has been updated to reflect the latest operating parameters and mitigation actions. These were submitted to the Department of Environment (“DOE”) during Financial Year 2016 and were subsequently approved.
At an operating level, Liqhobong’s environmental focus continues to be on waste management, water monitoring, incident reporting and auditing of contractor activities. The Company adopted a waste segregation at source policy which allows for the separation and collection of recyclable and hazardous material that are removed and disposed of by accredited service providers.
Surface water samples are collected monthly and analysed for bacterial and chemical content. Water sampling points include drinking water sources as well as control points upstream and downstream of the mine. The results are compared against the South African National Standards (“SANS”) and all anomalies are investigated and action taken accordingly. Liqhobong collaborates and shares water sampling results with stakeholders such as the Lesotho Highlands Development Agency, the Department of Water Affairs and the DOE.
Firestone and its subsidiary, Liqhobong, are committed to Corporate Social Investment (“CSI”) as an integral part of a sustainable social development programme for the empowerment and economic upliftment of their host communities. Among the Company’s most important stakeholders are the communities that live in close proximity to the Mine, the two villages of Liqhobong and Pulane. Over time, these communities have seen previous companies and management teams come and go and were initially sceptical and distrustful of the new Liqhobong operational management team. However, through an ongoing engagement process and ethos of delivering on promises, the project and management teams have improved relationships. In addition to daily interaction between Liqhobong officers and villagers, there is a formal monthly meeting between the management team and the Liqhobong Working Committee (“LWC”) which represents the two villages. A grievance process was in place since the commencement of the Project in 2014. Grievances are logged, investigated and resolved.