We are committed to environmental protection and sustainable development. We not only strictly observe local statutory regulations but incorporate environmental protection into the key performance indicators of our core operating business units, wherever applicable.
During the year, our operating business units took proactive measures to mitigate the impact of our operations on the environment:
Increasing efforts will be made to further enhance our systems and processes to consistently measure, collect and aggregate data on emissions, energy consumption and waste, with the aim of achieving better reporting of our environmental protection status and activities.
CITIC Tower, our head office building in Hong Kong, has been designed and built for energy-saving (e.g. double glazing windows). We implemented a number of energy-saving initiatives to reduce energy consumption after completion of the building, including:
- Progressively retrofitted energy-efficient LEDs;
- Optimised performance by adding enhanced combination of chillers for improving energy efficiency;
- Turned off lights, computers, monitors and printers when not in use;
- Maintained office and server room temperatures at levels that minimise energy use;
- Used energy and water-saving water taps.
CITIC Tower is subject to regulatory energy audits and our energy consumption was recognised as lower than average consumption levels. Our management team will continue to make an effort to achieve further energy savings and ultimately reduce our carbon footprint, which reflects the community’s calls for a low carbon business.
Environmental management is an integral part of our iron ore business. Our performance was on track during the year regarding the environmental targets set. Importantly, there were no fines or infringement notices received this year from the environment regulators.
CITIC Pacific Mining (CPM) uses land disturbance, rehabilitation, and greenhouse gas emission as useful environmental indicators to track impacts and performance. During 2012/13, we achieved satisfactory outcomes in relation to all these indicators which were in line with our approvals and obligations.
As the project progresses into operations, the focus will remain on progressive rehabilitation, with emissions expected to increase as more components of the project are commissioned and approach an operational phase. The lower emissions profile of our combined-cycle natural gas power station has been recognised nationally by the Australia Energy Efficiency Council (see Case Study below).
Case Study – Carbon footprint minimisation
In CITIC Pacific Mining’s Sino Iron Project, we use a combined-cycle gas turbine power station, which is in contrast with the many large, open-cycle gas turbine power stations developed in the nearby regions of Pilbara constructed solely to supply power to mining sites. In fact, nearly half of the energy generated is lost as heat in an open-cycle plant. The term combined-cycle is used to describe the process where this lost energy is captured and used to heat water to generate steam power energy. Recovery and reuse of this heat through the steam process creates a more efficient power plant with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Combined-cycle requires upfront capital investment. We take a longer term business view and therefore made the choice for a combined-cycle power station in CITIC Pacific Mining’s Sino Iron Project, the first and largest of its type in the Pilbara region.
Our mining operation’s power station is a 450 MW combined-cycle gas fired power station. It is approximately 40 per cent more efficient than an open-cycle gas turbine power station and at full capacity is able to save greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 440,000 t CO2-e per year.
It is important to understand the scale of this abatement of GHG emissions being equivalent to approximately one quarter of the reduction offered by the entire current capacity of the photovoltaic power plants installed in Australia.
This 450 megawatt combined-cycle power station is the first of its type in the Pilbara region and has been recognised by the Australia Energy Efficiency Council as being the “Best Industrial Energy Efficiency Project”. CITIC Pacific Mining was recognised for effectively acting upon the corporate claim of ‘carbon footprint minimization’.
Given the number of open-cycle plants in the Pilbara region and other locations, there is a massive potential to further reduce greenhouse emissions, as illustrated by our achievement in this area.
Environmental Compliance and Outlook
Our environmental compliance performance remained steady over the year. No incidents were triggered for reporting to the regulators. The majority of non-reportable environmental incidents were in relation to minor spills.
As we were entering the operational phase, there will be changes in the environmental risk profile; we will remain vigilant across the site to ensure environmental compliance. Tailored education and awareness programmes will also be implemented for different activities on site.
Our environmental priorities for the ensuing year will remain unchanged, which are regulatory compliance as well as continual performance improvement against the targets and objectives set in our Operational Environmental Management System that has been completed. The further development of this Operational Environmental Management System will enable us to achieve continual mitigation of the environmental impacts of our iron ore business.
Our special steel plants continued to focus on reducing sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions and saving energy. We treated pollutants such as fumes and dust discharged from the production process, and treated and recycled waste-water, gases and other waste residuals. These efforts demonstrated our clear commitment to corporate social responsibility.
In 2013, all our major environmental indices of our two special steel plants, including sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions per tonne of steel production, and the utilisation rate of solid waste, continuously met the regulatory standards of the iron and steel industry in China. The discharge of all major pollutants also met China’s national standards. Major results of our environmental protection efforts made during the year are as follows:
- Implemented de-sulphuring processes to reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) from the exhaust gas. Our special steel plants reduced approximately 11,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide in the production processes.
- Implemented sewage treatment systems to remove contaminants from waste water for water recycling. Our sewage treatment systems have over the year treated approximately 140,000 tonnes of sewage water.
- Our energy-controlling centre, responsible for managing energy usage of the special steel plants, continued to help reduce energy consumption by lowering the release rate of gases, and by increasing the water recycling rate.
- Our self-developed power stations utilised an energy recovery design that uses residual pressure and residual heat from blast furnace gas to generate as high as 50% of the electricity required for our special steel production as well as heat for consumption by the local communities, which continued to achieve effective energy savings during the year.
Our power plants actively implemented environmentally-friendly measures during the year, following the implementation of the China’s national 12th Five Year Plan on resource conservation and environmental protection. Major investments have been made to enhance our electricity production efficiency. Our power plants have also developed and enhanced various environmental management systems, standards and guidelines for compliance by all staff. The following activities carried out during the year are notable examples that demonstrate our pledge for protecting the environment:
- Continued to develop and implement new technology to further improve the efficiency of electricity generation and coal usage.
- Completed the implementation of desulphuring and de-nitration processes to respectively reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) from exhaust gas. The intensity of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emitted by our biggest power plant in mainland China was less than or equal to 50mg/Nm3 and 100 mg/Nm3 respectively, which met prevailing regulatory standards.
- Further improved technology and processes on water consumption; our biggest power plant in mainland China saved 1.06 million tonnes of water during the year.
- Our coal mining joint venture in Shandong replaced the coal heating systems with new water-heat pump systems and accordingly saved energy consumption equivalent to 20,000 tonnes of coal usage.
Our mainland property business implemented a number of environmentally-friendly initiatives for delivering a better environment to the local communities. During the design phase of our property development projects, we took into consideration increased green plantation and landscaping as well as environmentally-friendly building materials to reduce consumption of energy and natural resources. For commercial properties, we are implementing environmental management programmes to save energy as well as utility costs. We have also developed sewage treatment systems for removing contaminants from waste water, as implemented in our Hainan operations.
Current Challenges and the Way Forward
Climate change continues to be one of the challenges to our sustainable development. We are continuing to review our environmental protection strategies and performance targets, including carbon footprint reduction. We have been taking a forward-thinking approach of responding to our stakeholders about their environmental concerns. We are engaging with our stakeholders and working with external consultants to develop environment, social and governance reporting mechanisms as well as implement other initiatives in relation to environmental protection.