Dec '08/Jan '09

Tops in sustainability

Xstrata Nickel’s Raglan mine tops list of sustainable mining operations in Quebec

By M. Kerawala

The Raglan mine is situated in an environment that is as cold and harsh as it is beautiful and fragile.

Mining companies now accord as much attention to the sustainability of their operations as was traditionally accorded to profitability and quality control. This has not escaped notice. Xstrata Nickel’s Raglan mine recently won top honours for its efforts in this direction.

The November 2008 issue of the French language Vision Durable magazine featured a comprehensive sustainability assessment of 20 Quebec mines. The leading consultants Groupe Investissement Responsable examined the mines’ performance on the following four measures: Environmental performance (weighted 30 per cent), Social performance (weighted 30 per cent), Socio-environmental governance (weighted 30 per cent), and Socio-environmental transparency (weighted ten per cent). Publicly reported data was used without informing the companies being studied to ensure uninfluenced measurement.

The Nunavik-based Raglan mine was ranked overall number one — a distinction that Xstrata is proud of, but not surprised by. The company’s rigorous sustainable development policy mandates Raglan to plan and conduct activities with robust governance, so that long-term success is ensured at minimal risk and costs. More importantly, the company sees the adoption and integration of sustainable practices into its vision as an ethical and a pragmatic imperative.

This is not the first time that Raglan and Xstrata have gained safety or sustainability-related recognition. In 2007, Raglan won the F.J. O’Connell safety award for the ninth time in ten years. This year, Xstrata plc was named the Global Super Sector Leader for Basic Resources by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

Other mines assessed favourably included Inmet Mining’s Troilus mine and ArcelorMittal’s Mount Wright mine, which secured the overall second and third places, respectively.

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