Development of an Environmental Protocol – Placer Exploration Limited

Categories: Environment, Management Tags: , , , ,

Placer Exploration Limited implemented an Environmental Protocol to ensure its field teams followed their EMP and Environmental Checklist. The Protocol is an assessment tool that includes educational material, suggested delegations of responsibilities and two environmental performance indicators (EPIs). It was introduced to emphasise  responsibility for minimising environmental impacts and rehabilitation of disturbed land. To ensure field teams meet their goals, areas affected by their exploration are assessed by the Environmental Technical Officer (ETO), who then reports back on their environmental performance. For successful environmental performance, all phases of the operation must be managed properly. For exploration this involves:

  • Forethought and planning before the exploration activity
  • Minimising impacts during exploration
  • Environmental cleanup immediately following the programmed exploration
  • Rehabilitation within six months of programmed exploration
To assist field teams, the ETO developed the Environmental Hit list. It is a robust, laminated, A5-sized, dot-point summary sheet that fits in a vehicle glove box. Two environmental performance indicators were developed that assign a numerical value to each project, allowing comparison between projects. Data collected from each project are reported in a table, showing each variable in the formula and the calculated EPIs. The Environmental Performance Indicator Formulas are as follows:

For Drilling program that has undergone an environmental cleanup immediately after drilling completed:

  • EPI = no. of open holes + no. of areas with excessive tracks + no. of hydrocarbon spills + no. of areas with significant litter / Total no. of holes drilled

For drilling program that has undergone rehabilitation no later than six months after drilling completed:

  • EPI = no. of drill sumps left open + no. of drill holes not buried + no. of areas left unscarified or unripped + no. of sample bags left / Total no. of holes drilled

The assessment outlines areas needing improvement and the performance indicators allow comparison of the field teams and indicate the company’s performance over time. While visual assessment is somewhat subjective, this is minimised by using simple variables in the EPI and by using one officer to assess the projects.