Driving waste and land risk management
The changing legal and policy landscape, particularly in South Africa, requires us to continuously find alternative solutions to some of our waste management and disposal practices. We also ensure the continued responsible management of land and biodiversity.
Managing our waste
Our approach to waste management is informed by the general principles of the legislated waste management hierarchy. In South Africa, we are working in partnership with selected third party waste service providers to explore innovative opportunities for waste minimisation and reduction. We have prioritised investigations for our waste incinerators in Sasolburg and Secunda and have identified promising alternative waste management options that are both environmentally responsible and capital efficient, but which require time to develop and test.
In response to meeting landfill prohibitions, which came into effect in August 2017, Sasol's Operations in South Africa identified alternative destinations to successfully divert identified high calorific waste streams from landfill, and in some instances incineration, to higher-order waste-to-energy solutions. We are phasing out or improving many on-site waste disposal practices including closing and rehabilitating legacy waste sites in both Sasolburg and Secunda.
Further, a progressive waste minimisation strategy continues to be implemented. Reduce, reuse and recycle options are in progress for addressing liquid/moisture containing waste streams, which will significantly advance the waste roadmap into 2019. In Sasolburg, a wax spent catalyst recycling project was implemented with a third party service provider which recycles 50% of the volume of this specific waste generated.
We have developed Globally Harmonised System (GHS) compliant waste safety data sheets for our process waste streams to enhance the responsible handling and transport in South Africa.
We further continue to have constructive engagements with regulators through the Industry Waste Management Forum established between business and the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
The Secunda waste ash disposal facility’s waste management license (WML) was successfully amended during 2018, ensuring license compliance.
Managing our land risk
Our operations in South Africa continue to make progress when it comes to site assessments to advance land risk management for the areas where authority notifications to this end have been received in terms of Part 8 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act. Significant progress has also been made into investigations to address soil and groundwater areas where elevated concentrations of certain parameters are observed. Once the investigations have been concluded a remediation order will be applied for from the authorities after which the remedial activities can be implemented where required.
All the required remedial activities at our Sasolburg Operations’ Sasol One Waste site have been implemented, except the installation of the capping system at the old tar pits. This will be undertaken during 2019.
Our approach to biodiversity management varies across our operations and activities, and is tailored to respond to the specific situation. Biodiversity assessments are conducted on all significant new developments as part of environmental impact assessments. We do not currently have operations in areas that have been declared ‘biodiversity hotspots’. We do, however, have interests in areas of potential sensitivity, particularly linked to our upstream exploration and production activities in Mozambique where our potential impacts are assessed and managed as referred to above.
Sasol Secunda is the new home to two white rhinos. The rhinos were purchased by Sasol in an effort to support the vegetation management by introducing bulk grazers that will improve the species diversity of the protected grassland biome.
The industrialised secondary zone of the Secunda Operations continues to draw considerable interest from conservationists and researchers, who have discovered that the 3 000 hectare area is home to not only South Africa’s densest known population of servals, but also a wealth of other carnivores, some of which are appearing outside their known ranges. These open areas owned by Sasol are managed as game conservancies with the goal of contributing to valuable research efforts.
Sasol North America is sponsoring the Longleaf Legacy Project (www.longleaflegacy.com), dedicated to the heritage, restoration and rebirth of the longleaf pine forest – an endangered and historically significant ecosystem. Project partners are engaged in a multi-year effort to restore the local ecosystem to its former majestic condition. The project began in 2016 and encompasses restoration efforts of more than 70 acres of longleaf pine habitat located in park.
We are also embarking on a biodiversity study in Mozambique. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) development identified an area - the Nhangonzo Coastal Stream – that has been provisionally classified according to the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Performance Standard 6 as a critical habitat. This classification is based on an extensive biodiversity survey completed in 2015. According to the PSA Field Development Plan, approved in 2016, Sasol will be drilling production wells in this area, and is required to submit a biodiversity management plan to the environmental authorities. The biodiversity management study currently underway is intended to identify the appropriate mitigation and management actions for this area.
Sasol Qatar has been active in seeking to raise environmental awareness in Qatar. Sasol partnered with Friends of the Environment Centre (FEC) to develop the Qatar e-Nature mobile application (app).
Incorporating interactive and engaging features, the app allows users to explore the rich and varied species of flora, birds and insects of Qatar.
In Sasolburg good progress was made to eradicate alien and invasive species in the Bongani Mabaso Ecopark and the Leeuspruit Nature Reserve.
OUR WASTE FOOTPRINT
- We generated 338kt of hazardous waste, down from 348kt in 2017. The decrease is mainly due to lower solar pond effluent disposal at Natref and waste reduction initiatives at Sasolburg Operations.
- We generated 257 kt of non-hazardous waste, up from 154 kt in 2017. The increase is mainly due to the reporting of an additional waste stream at Secunda Synfuels Operations as well as increased production at Sasolburg Operations.
- Total recycled waste decreased to 100 kt from 151 kt. The decreased is due to improved data accuracy from our Mining Operations in 2018 compared to 2017.
- An on-site class A landfill site was commissioned in Secunda. This landfill site is earmarked to handle waste streams generated during shutdown, in particular, and due to unstable operating conditions and that are not suited for off-site management.