Environmental Protection

Environmental Costs and Investments, Environmental Payments

Total environmental costs and investments in 2012 increased 22.4% and came to RUB 3,369.8 million. 

Breakdown of current environmental costs by activity in 2012

Breakdown of current environmental costs by activity in 2012, RUB mln

Activity

Air protection and prevention of climate change

122.1

Waste water treatment and management 

1599.0

Waste management  

155.4

Land, surface and underground water protection and rehabilitation 

714.3

Environmental protection against noise, vibration and other physical pollution 

0.036

Radiation safety of the environment

0.008

R&D works to reduce negative human impact on the environment 

39.65

Other environmental activities

0.418

TOTAL

2 630.9

ALROSA current environmental costs, RUB mln

Current environmental costs increased due to the following factors:

  • increasing cost of protection and rational use of water resources, including the costs of:
    • operation and maintenance of equipment and other fixed assets for waste water collection, transport and treatment;
    • lower generation of contaminated waste water;
    • cooled water recycling;
    • waste water quality control;
    • administration and environmental management, etc.;
  • increased land reclamation costs;
  • increased costs of protecting surface and underground waters;
  • appearance of new expense items for:
    • environmental protection against noise, vibration and other physical pollution;
    • radiation safety of the environment;
    • R&D works to reduce the negative human impact on the environment and other environmental activities.

ALROSA’s investments in fixed assets with the aim of environmental protection and natural resource management in 2012 came to RUB 655.1 million, an increase of 29.4% against 2011, and RUB 4.93 million was invested in major overhauls of fixed assets for environmental protection. The funds invested in environmental protection and water management were used for the construction and reconstruction of a number facilities including:

  • biological waste water treatment facility in Lensk;
  • heating and water supply off-site utilities;
  • other waste water treatment facilities:
    • drainage complex, main water removing unit, an auxiliary pump station, mine water duct, mine and drainage water injection system, and mineralized water settle, and other facilities at Mir underground mine;
    • drainage water disposal site at Nyurba open-pit mine;
    • a pump station to remove mine waters, with tanks, intrasite utilities, and a mine water duct at Udachny underground mine;
    • a mine water duct and mineralized water injection centre, and other facilities at Aikhal underground mine;
    • a drainage tunnel, a water duct to the pit, main drainage facility, etc. at Internatsionalnaya underground mine.

Funds for management, decontamination and disposal of toxic industrial, household and other wastes were used at Mir underground mine to adapt the site for temporary waste accumulation and storage of barren saline rocks.

A total payment for above level emissions (discharges) of polluting agents, waste disposal and utilization in the reporting period came to over RUB 78.9 million, thus exceeding by 12.5% similar payments in 2011 due to increased waste volumes. 

Environmental Management Approaches

In its activities, the company adheres to the precautionary principle, while also focusing on proactive risk management and impact assessment (see Section 2, Corporate Governance. Risk Management).

The company carries out its main production activity in strict accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Federal Law “On Environmental Protection” and other federal laws, and regulatory acts of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

The key regulations governing the activities of the company in the field of environmental protection are:

  • ALROSA environmental policy1;
  • Regulation on environmental management system of ALROSA;
  • Regulations on Manufacturing Environmental Control of ALROSA.

The Chief Engineer coordinates environmental activities in our company, and the functions of the main executive body are vested in Occupational Safety Department which includes an environmental protection section.

There are environmental sections in all of the company’s production units. The responsibilities of the experts in environmental sections include control over compliance with the requirements of state and corporate environmental norms and standards, implementation of the decisions and resolutions and planned measures aimed at the implementation of the corporate environmental policy.

The environmental management department also includes specialized analytical and sanitary-industrial laboratories of production divisions, which were accredited to confirm their technical competence. The main function of the laboratories is to carry out environmental monitoring in the areas where the company operates.

All data is consolidated at a laboratory in the Yakutniproalmaz Institute that analyses the state of the environment. The laboratory also designs and develops regulatory environmental documents for the company’s units including draft regulations governing maximum permissible levels of emissions, draft regulations for waste generation and limits for their disposal. In the near future, the laboratory plans to develop draft regulations for maximum permissible discharges. Analytical results, conclusions and documents are submitted to the environmental section of the Occupational Safety Department and ALROSA executives for making managerial decisions.

The activity of our production units is carried out on the basis of licenses, approvals and expert reviews in strict compliance with the overall environmental management scheme. All of the company’s mining and technical facilities are inspected by supervisory authorities at least twice a year with the aim of assuring compliance with all requirements and warrants.

Prior to building any manufacturing or household facilities, the company must prepare environmental impact assessment studies, as well as plans to mitigate adverse negative impact on the environment and receive the necessary enabling documents. Upon receiving preliminary approvals, the documents are discussed at public hearings before they are submitted to the authorities for the state expert review.

Mining solutions are submitted for expert review to assess their industrial safety and subsoil protection capacity. The costs associated with payments for emissions and discharges of polluting agents and waste disposal, as well as the cost of construction of environmental facilities and compensation costs for rehabilitation of disturbed land and replacement of biological resources, are included in the consolidated cost estimates of corresponding projects. 

Ecological monitoring

The company has a system of ecological monitoring of atmospheric polluting agents and the hydro-chemical composition of surface waters in areas of operations. This system allows us to study the ecological situation and to assess the footprint of human activity on the environment. The air monitoring system is based on a network of measuring points on the border of sanitary protection zones of enterprises and residential areas in Mirny, Udachny and Aikhal. Emissions of the following major pollutants are taken: nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and suspended solids.

Instrumental measurements have not detected any emission levels that exceeded maximum permissible one-time emissions from stationary pollution sources at ALROSA-operated facilities except for a coal-fired boiler house in the village of Syuldyukar.

Environmental monitoring of the hydro-chemical composition of the water bodies is carried out for the most important pollutants, including suspended solid, phenols, petroleum products, synthetic surfactants, zinc, copper, cadmium, and dithiophosphates. Water samples are taken in winter, spring (high water) and the summer-autumn low-water period. Each year, industrial laboratories take some 400 samples and perform more than 10,000 tests.

For instance, the environmental monitoring in 2012 detected that total content of iron, copper, manganese, and phenols in the rivers Irelyakh, Malaya Botuobiya, and Vilyui had exceeded the permissible concentrations for fishery waters.

These natural objects are major water supply sources for households in Western Yakutia. The rivers and lakes of the basins of such major rivers as Vilyui and Lena are rich in fish including Siberian sturgeon (Yang population) and White Salmon (Welsh population), which are included in the Red Book of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

The ALROSA R&D Yakutniproalmaz Institute uses the ecological monitoring results to produce annual analytical reports on the impact of the company’s economic activity on the environment.

Water Use and Protection of Water Bodies

ALROSA divisions use water both in ore processing and for household needs. Water for household needs, drinking and industrial purposes is taken from various sources, including natural bodies such as the Irelyakh, Bolshaya Botuobiya, Malaya Botuobiya, Vilyui, Lena, Taas-Yuryakh, and Olenek rivers, the water reservoirs on the Oyuur-Yurege Stream and Markha River, on the left stream of the Khannya River, as well as the Sytykanskoe and Irelyakhskoe water reservoirs, Lake Sordonnokh, artesian wells, and municipal water supply systems.

Said water bodies are the main source of household drinking water supply to residents of Western Yakutia and diamond mining enterprises (Annex 3).

In order to mitigate its footprint on the water bodies, the company implements a series of measures aimed at reducing the intake of fresh water, and the efficiency of these measures is confirmed by performance indicators which are monitored on a regular basis.

Water Usage Performance Indicators, 2012 

Indicators

Performance vs. 2011

Key measures

Total water intake volume

Reduced by 6.3 %

 

Fresh water accounting and conservation, reduced losses during transportation, installation of flow meters at Udachny MPD, installation of frequency modulators on pumps and volume and pressure regulators at water treatment facilities, central heating stations, and heat and water supply facilities. 

Water intake from natural sources for production needs

Reduced by 7.9 %

Losses during transportation

Reduced by 14.3 %

Intake of saline water from underground water-bearing horizons

Increased by 9.7 %

For the purposes of reducing the consumption of fresh water and ensuring efficient management of natural resources, we employ recycling and reverse water supply, the volume of which in 2012 exceeded the fresh water intake by 8.5 times (Annex 3).

The use of recycled water supply cycle allows the company to reduce and/or eliminate the discharge of pollutants into water bodies. Thus, the processing plants operate as complete cycle facilities using zero-discharge water supply systems. Discarded sludge settles in tailings ponds and then, overcoming the dam body, filtrates and clarified clean water goes to the gathering or storage pond and is pumped to the production facility.

In order to protect water bodies from pollution, dredgers operate in closed pits that are well isolated from the Irelyakh River. Floating processing pants (dredgers) use the same recycled water (water reuse) that powerful pumps dispense from one pit to another when needed.

In order to ensure environmental cleanliness of waterways in the district, the company reinjects saline water into the aquifer or permafrost, using this method for more than 20 years.

For the rational use of water resources and their protection from pollution the company has developed and implemented a set of special events. Specific water consumption for production in 2012 decreased as compared with 2011.

The information on water withdrawal (discharge of waste water in surface water bodies, discharge of water into storage ponds and underground horizons) is provided in Annex 3.

Air Protection

Mining and transportation of the rock mass bear the most serious impact on atmospheric air. Drilling and blasting operations, movement of open-pit dump trucks, operation of mining machines and process equipment and processing plants, as well as combustion of fuel in steam generating units of boiler houses, all affect the atmosphere. That is why the main sources of pollution of atmospheric air are mining and processing divisions (70%) and heat and power companies (9%). ALROSA applies special measures so as to localize the negative impact of industrial operations on atmospheric air within the sanitary protection zones of its enterprises.

In order to calculate atmospheric emissions, the environmental departments of operating units employ a wide range of methodological tools (both direct measurements and average-weighted calculations based on the information for each specific facility), as well as draft standards for maximum permissible emissions. In 2011, total atmospheric emissions of pollutants from permanent sources of the ALROSA operating units in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) totalled 8,100 tonnes and decreased by 5.3% as compared to the previous year (Annex 3).The environmental impact from transportation of products, materials and workforce is considered in the permits for emission of contaminants in atmospheric air from permanent sources.

The continued reduction of atmospheric emissions of polluting agents is our company’s main task in protecting the air. So as to assure compliance with air quality sanitary and hygienic norms and standards, ALROSA has designed and implements air protection measures aimed at reducing the air pollution level. Drilling rigs are equipped with wet and dry dust collectors. In metalworking operations, cutting-tool lubricants and metal-working machinery with dust collectors (ZIL-900, PU-1500) with entrainment efficiency of up to 99% efficiency are used. In order to reduce gas and dust emissions during drilling and blasting operations, emulsion explosives with near-zero oxygen balance are employed.

Woodworking machines are equipped with dust-collecting units, cyclones and storage hoppers, with entrainment efficiency of 80-85%. Boiler houses that operate on solid or liquid fuel have switched to gas fuel, and an optimum gas-air regime has been selected for burning fuel in steam-generating units of boiler houses. The corporate motor vehicle fleet, as well as the checking and testing stations that test toxicity levels of exhaust fumes in internal combustion engines, are subject to regular inspections. All vehicles undergo post-maintenance engine break-in tests. The company is working on landscape improvements and gardening of industrial sites.  

In order to reduce other atmospheric emissions, processing equipment at our operating units has been fitted with high-performance pollution control equipment, including:

  • processing plants are equipped with dust separation units PVM-5S, PVM-20S with entrainment efficiency of 65‑90%; cyclone collectors TsN-11, TsN-15, and TsN-2500 equipped with MVD-12-N-filters, LMVA-25 wet dust collector, a Dolomatik, ELSTAT type filter, RIF-5 and RIF-20 ion-exchange filters, and filters with entrainment efficiency of 70-95% and other devices;
  • construction materials plants are equipped with cyclone collectors TsN-15 and sleeve filters SMTs-166B with entrainment efficiency up to 98%;
  • the emulsion explosives component processing site is equipped with a TcN-15-300*1SP cyclone filter, PVM 10SA and RIF-5 filters, and a RIF-5 ion-exchange filter (PPKEmVV) with entrainment efficiency of 65-95%;
  • the technological stowing sites are equipped with TsOK-9P and TsOK-6P cyclone collectors, SMTs-40.1 filters, INFAJET AJN 1/303 dust-collecting unit, KFE sleeve filters, and INFA-JETRON (AJB) filter, the entrainment efficiency of which is up to 99%.

Industrial Waste Management

Industrial waste management begins with the design development of waste generation and waste disposal limits, and the obtaining of permits for  waste management.

In 2012, ALROSA operating units generated a total of 90,546,483.1 tonnes of waste, which is 4.7 % more than in 2011. The increase in waste generation was driven by the expansion of mining operations, geological exploration and prospecting works.

The annual analytical report on the environmental impact of ALROSA’s economic activity, prepared by the Yakutniproalmaz Institute. contains detailed information on the use, neutralization, transportation and disposal of industrial and household wastes at our enterprises. A portion of wastes is transferred to Ekologiya Prom Service CJSC for its disposal and burial. We dispose of more than 93% of all the industrial waste at our own facilities (Annex 3).

To neutralize such wastes as used oils, sludge, oil and other filters greased with petroleum products, the company utilizes Forsazh-2M advanced mobile units and a Zhar-25 heat generator, which ensures the environmentally safe disposal of hazard class III oil-contaminated wastes

The bulk of our waste (99.9%) is low-hazard waste, including overburden rock (hazard class IV and V), at 71,454,359.03 tonnes (78.9 %), and concentration tailings (hazard class V), 19,017,620.04 tonnes (21.0%). Waste of these types is stored at specifically allocated places (tailings pits) and dumps. Since the fills consist of overburden rock and tailings, and as industrial facilities and roads constructed on fill-up soil destroy the vegetative land cover and change the natural landscape, our company uses only a portion overburden rock and tailings for construction purposes. In 2012, only 7.7% of all the accumulated and generated overburden rock and some 1.5 % of processing tailings were used for these purposes. 

Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation

Under modern conditions, energy efficiency and energy conservation have become the most important factors for ALROSA’s economic growth.

In order to reduce energy costs by introducing energy efficient technologies into the production process, the company has developed its Programme for Energy Conservation at ALROSA Structural Units that was approved in December 2008 (hereinafter, the Energy Efficiency Programme).

The programme was designed for the 2009-2012 period and consisted of organizational and technical modules.

The key objectives for the Energy Efficiency Programme were identified as follows:

  • introduction of  energy conservation management units;
  • adoption of regulatory and technical documents for implementation of the energy conservation policy;
  • installation of metering devices to regulate the consumption of fuel and energy resources at company facilities;
  • mandatory energy audit, followed by certification of enterprises;
  • implementation of energy conservation measures in company units.

As part of its Energy Efficiency Programme, ALROSA has implemented technical measures to the amount of RUB 315.2 million, thus saving RUB 511.61 million in energy resources.

Technical Measures Taken as Part of the Energy Efficiency Programme in ALROSA Business Units in 2012

 

Key technical measures

Performance vs. 2011

Electricity

Deployment of new technologies and equipment: installation of variable frequency drives and infrared heaters, motion sensors, energy-efficient lamps and starting regulators. 

Optimization of energy consumption: installation of line-conditioning filters, optimization of operation of power equipment, regulation of lightning systems, air heat curtains, and supply-exhaust ventilation.  

Reconstruction and modernization of power-operated equipment: replacement of worn pumps, ventilators, and compressors with energy-efficient pieces of equipment.

Improvement of energy accounting tools and systems: installation of power consumption meters.

Annual savings 
37.1
thousand GJ

Thermal power

Deployment of new technologies and equipment: installation of plate heat exchangers instead of shell-and-tube heat exchangers, use of complexonates portioning units, and anti-scale devices.

Improvement of energy accounting tools and systems: installation of thermal power consumption meters.

Annual savings
13.8
thousand GJ

Fuel

Improvement of energy accounting tools and systems: installation of fuel consumption meters. 

Annual savings
8.3
thousand GJ

In 2012, there was a reduction in generation of thermal energy by electrically powered boiler houses by 29,500 GJ and by gas-fired boiler units, by 106,700 GJ (Annex 3). The total direct consumption of energy corresponds to the purchased direct primary energy represented by the natural gas, oil, diesel oil, and coal used by ALROSA to generate electric power and heat for its own needs.

As compared with the preceding year, energy consumption in 2012 increased due to the higher energy costs for the commission of the Udachny underground mine. 

As a result of the Energy Efficiency Programme’s implementation, ALROSA was issued an energy passport and joined self-regulatory organizations in energy audit, and the Yakutniproalmaz Institute established a permanent laboratory for energy audit activities.

Over the period of its implementation, the Energy Efficiency Programmes helped to reduce fuel consumption per unit of production from 8.5 tonnes of fuel equivalent/million roubles to 3.6 tonnes of fuel equivalent/million roubles.  

ALROSA has developed a framework energy conservation and energy efficiency policy for the period until 2021, the provisions of which will ensure the achievement of one of the main goals of energy efficiency, which is optimizing the energy balance of the company by replacing imported non-renewable energy resources with renewable energy, primarily hydroelectric power generated by the Vilyui cascade of hydropower stations and local energy resources (natural gas, oil).

Land Use

In 2012, our companies carried out mining, exploration and construction operations which caused disturbance of soil in nine districts of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Geological exploration teams were the cause of most of land disturbance (96.3%). The total area of disturbed land in 2012 came to 12,524.2 hectares, with Mirny district accounting for 88.1% of this total.

All in all, in 2012, our Company reclaimed 2,394.9 hectares of land, which is 1.8 times as much as in the previous year, as a result of increased land reclamation area in the Mirny, Nyurba, Verkhevilyuisk, Suntars, and Olenek districts.

During the reporting year, we continued the technical and biological reclamation of stage II of the tailings pond of Processing Plant No. 3 of Mirny MPD, disturbed land within the Levoberezhnaya Rossyp catchment area of ​​the Irelyakh River, and of disturbed lands in Suntarsk, Verkhnevilyuisk, Nyurba districts.

In 2012, we invested RUB 714.3 million in the reclamation of disturbed land, showing a more than 17-fold dramatic increase as compared with the preceding year and adding new items of expenditure such as protection of land, surface and ground water.

Biological Diversity

Along with finding solutions to environmental problems, ALROSA pays much attention to conserving biodiversity in the region of its main production activity - Western Yakutia.

Until recently, there were no specially protected areas in the immediate proximity to our operations, as well as in the areas of ​​potential impact. Up to the end of 2006, the nearest natural area of protection was Dzhunkun, a wildlife resource reserve regional status, more than 50 kilometres away from operating units of the company.

In 2006, ALROSA supported the initiative of the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and assumed voluntary obligations to participate in financing a large-scale environmental project that aimed at the preservation of biological diversity in the ecosystems of Western Yakutia. 

In accordance with the agreement, concluded between the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and ALROSA, we allocated more than RUB 60 million for establishing a specially protected territory, Living Diamonds of Yakutia Natural Park. Pursuant to the special programme Restoration of Biological Diversity, beavers, musk oxen and buffalos were brought to Yakutia and are now well-adjusted to the environment of the Far North.

The Living Diamonds of Yakutia Park was opened on April 9, 2009 near Lake Chuonalyr, 15 km from Mirny. The total area of the park is more than 32,000 hectares and the length of its border is 90 km. At the moment, the fenced area houses musk oxen, two Manchurian wapiti, spotted deer and Yakut horses, a bear, and reindeer. All of them are kept in open-air enclosures in the environment close to their natural habitat. In addition to household structures, one of the sites has national heritage museum facilities, including stylized summer and winter lodgings of ancient Yakuts, Yakut hitching posts. The park is open to visitors. During the years of its existence, the park has not only become a habitat and breeding place for the animals who live there but also a favourite place of leisure for the townspeople who come there to relax and introduce their children to Yakutia’s wildlife. The Living Diamonds of Yakutia Park was the site of the first festival of tribal communities of the district dedicated to the Day of Indigenous People of the World. In summer 2011, the park hosted a camp of extended education of children.

The Programme that maps out Operations and Development of the Living Diamonds of Yakutia Natural Park until 2014 provides for a systematic improvement of the project and implementation. For instance, there are plans calling for a gradual expansion of the qualitative and species composition of the animals in the park. Visitors will have a chance to acquaint themselves with the life of animals living in the conditions that are very close to their natural habitat. Special routes and pathways will be laid and properly equipped with camping site and parking lots, as well as and playgrounds for children. 

Our plans call for the improvement of our management system to minimize the biodiversity impact of our operations. These plans are reflected in the ALROSA Comprehensive Programme of Measures for Environmental Protection for 2011-2018 and relate primarily to the further development and maintenance of the natural park Living Diamonds of Yakutia Natural Park. The company also continues to provide financial assistance to the park as part of our charity work. In 2012, the park received RUB 5 million in the framework of our sponsorship activities.

The biodiversity management plans also provide for the stocking of ponds in the area of our ​​operations in order to mitigate the damage to biological resources. These activities are carried out under tripartite agreements with the Lensk territorial administration of fisheries and the Chernyshevsk hatchery.


1 Approved by the ALROSA Supervisory Board on 31.05.2013, Minutes No. 198.