Our approach to sustainability

Aluminium’s use plays an essential role in improving transport efficiencies, reducing energy consumption and global greenhouse gas emissions, improving product longevity and reducing demand on natural resources. But of course, any aluminium production starts with the mining of bauxite ore.

Mining activity comes with inherent challenges and potential environmental and social impacts associated with land-use change. At Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC), we believe that rigorous, robust and innovative management is essential to ensure the responsible production of bauxite.

Strong corporate governance, a focus on environmental performance and a commitment to making positive contributions to society are all part of our culture at GAC. But there are always improvements we can make.

All our activities in the Republic of Guinea are aligned with the International Finance Corporation’s Sustainability Framework. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emirates Global Aluminium, we aspire to be measured among the world’s most responsible mining companies in everything we do.

Prior to the start of construction, our Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) confirmed that our mine concession area, rail corridor and port areas are within close proximity to, and partially intersect, important areas for wildlife.

Our biodiversity conservation work is documented, published and governed through our Biodiversity Management Plan prepared in accordance with IFC Performance Standards and includes a commitment to achieve no net loss and positive gain for critical habitats.

So far in our mine concession area we have restored 70,250 square metres, planting more than 1,000 trees and over 1,000,000 stands of vetiver bunchgrass. We have also built 350 metres of rocky sills to minimise sediment loading during the rainy season.

At the port area we have established a green belt around our port platform to create a natural dust filter and minimise the fugitive distribution of dust. This included the rehabilitation of a 42,300 square metre area with 1,000 trees and more than 500,000 stands of grass species. The tree species selected are both native and are well adapted for capturing airborne particles given their hairy leaves.

Plant species used during our restoration programme are all native to the area and produced by our own local nursery.

Environment

At GAC, activities with potential environmental impacts are overseen by a dedicated team of in-house environmental specialists. Working together, our operations and environment teams are responsible for managing all necessary controls, monitoring plans and audits plus finding opportunities for improvement.

Potential environmental impacts from the development and operation of our mine, rail and port have been identified through a detailed environmental and social impact assessment. This was prepared in accordance with the Equator Principles, the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards and regulatory requirements of the Guinean government.

Site activities are managed through a project-specific Social and Environmental Management Plan which is complemented by a series of detailed plans for air quality, biodiversity, dredging, noise control, soil management, waste management, water management, rehabilitation and reforestation.

Our activities are monitored by an independent third party to ensure that we are meeting all our commitments under the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards and the Equator Principles.

Biodiversity

Prior to the start of construction, our Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) confirmed that our mine concession area, rail corridor and port areas are within close proximity to, and partially intersect, important areas for wildlife.

Our biodiversity conservation work is documented, published and governed through our Biodiversity Management Plan prepared in accordance with IFC Performance Standards and includes a commitment to achieve no net loss and positive gain for critical habitats.

So far in our mine concession area we have restored 70,250 square metres, planting more than 1,000 trees and over 1,000,000 stands of vetiver bunchgrass. We have also built 350 metres of rocky sills to minimise sediment loading during the rainy season.

At the port area we have established a green belt around our port platform to create a natural dust filter and minimise the fugitive distribution of dust. This included the rehabilitation of a 42,300 square metre area with 1,000 trees and more than 500,000 stands of grass species. The tree species selected are both native and are well adapted for capturing airborne particles given their hairy leaves.

Plant species used during our restoration programme are all native to the area and produced by our own local nursery.

Social

We believe in the fair and equitable treatment of all people everywhere. As part of our core policy, we respect our neighbours and are committed to positively engaging with the local communities where we operate.

We aim to maximise the benefits of our presence wherever we work while mitigating any potential adverse impacts for our staff, our business partners or for the communities of which we are a part.

Engaging with communities

We run planned and targeted corporate social responsibility programmes at all of our locations in both the United Arab Emirates and Guinea, working with numerous stakeholders including community representatives, non-governmental organisations, educational institutions plus respective governments.

We have long recognised that the development of our mining operation would result in land use changes and disruption to some of our neighbours. We have actively sought to minimise these impacts but when they are unavoidable, we have developed and implemented plans to alleviate or compensate.

Positive impacts are planned and pursued, by generating employment of local people wherever possible on our projects, making infrastructure improvements, implementing educational programmes and encouraging economic growth. Guineanisation is a key business objective and we aim to attract, develop and retain Guinean nationals, providing clear progression pathways through structured development and training programmes.

All of our community impact assessment and project planning has been prepared in accordance with the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards. Any associated studies, engagements plans, community investment strategies, closure and rehabilitation requirements, policies and reports are made publically available on the IFC website.

Air quality

We monitor gaseous emissions (SOx and NOx) from mobile equipment and generators. We also have dust particulate monitoring stations situated at strategic locations to record dust levels and to inform appropriate action necessary to avoid adverse impacts for nearby communities or wildlife.

Water management

We manage our water related impacts through an Integrated Water Management Plan. This plan establishes specific strategies and targets for water use, treatment and protection. Our main needs for water are for sanitation, construction activities and dust suppression.

Waste management

At GAC we aim to minimise waste generation and avoid potential impacts. Waste streams are generated from construction activities, offices and kitchens. Our Waste Management Plan details requirements for avoiding and minimising waste generation, provisions for waste storage areas, waste skips and bins plus requirements for effective training.

We have designated waste storage areas on our sites for both hazardous and non-hazardous waste streams. Our Environment team ensures that wastes are segregated and appropriately stored at the designated storage areas until disposal. Our main hazardous waste streams are hydrocarbon liquids and contaminated hydrocarbon containers. Our non-hazardous waste includes paper, glass, plastic, inert building waste and scrap steel.

Health and safety

Safe production is our first priority. Zero harm is the only acceptable target.

Our mine and all associated facilities operate according to an occupational health and safety management system developed in accordance with international guidelines, including IFC Performance Standard 2 and the World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines.

We have recently achieved significant improvements in our safety performance. In 2018 our total recordable injury frequency rate reduced by 62 per cent compared to 2017. For contractors, the total recordable injury rate decreased by 35 per cent compared to 2017. These substantial improvements were attributable to focusing on positive safety leading indicators as well as embedding a safety culture and practices driven by strong leadership within the organisation.

We operate on-site clinics staffed by qualified doctors and paramedics. Services include first aid training and medical consultations on both chronic diseases and healthy living.

Human rights

Human rights refer to the universal entitlement to every individual to be treated with dignity and equality.

A core commitment at GAC is respecting fundamental human rights of our employees, those in our value chain, and the communities in which we operate.

We oppose any form of slavery, child or forced labour and require that our supply chain adopt the same principles.

Happiness and wellbeing of our people

At GAC, our business success depends on the talent, skills and diligence of our people. We aim to attract high quality recruits, provide effective opportunities to enable them to reach their full potential and retain the most capable people for the long term by providing competitive remuneration and welfare.

GAC offers a wide range of benefits to employees to ensure their well-being, commitment to work and overall happiness. Our employees receive relocation, housing and transportation allowances, as well as life insurance, health care, medical check-ups, compassionate leave and medical insurance that covers employees and their immediate family.

We provide a wide range of training programmes to employees every year. Training is designed according to GAC’s current and future requirements current staff needs and planned career progression.