BMSC has implemented a ‘zero discharge policy’ that has eliminated any water discharge.
Waste is segregated at two handling facilities situated at the camp and salvage yard. Only non-hazardous waste such as food scraps are sent to the landfill. Significant quantities of wastes (including hazardous items such as batteries and waste oil) are being safely stored onsite pending identification of suitable recycling methodologies. The Company is working closely with the Government of Eritrea to identify appropriate disposal options.
In 2014, we milled 1.79 million tonnes of ore. Of that, 1.45 million tonnes (approximately 81%) went to our tailings management facility with the remainder shipped as copper concentrate product. Most of the tailings had acid generating potential and to address this issue, the tailings management facility is lined with high density polyethylene liner, with a leak detection system and downstream monitoring of groundwater.
In 2014, 12.2 million tonnes of material was sent to the waste rock management facility, which is constructed as per standard industry practice on unlined compacted rock. Approximately one-third of the waste rock has the potential to generate acid and, as a result, this portion is encapsulated within the facility to control its acid generation potential.
Monitoring wells are placed on the downstream side of the facility. As a result of the control measures in place, and given that the site is located in an arid climate, the potential risk associated with the tailings and waste management facilities is low.
The Bisha operation produces no sludges in its processes.
In 2014, there were eight minor hazardous spills; 6 were copper concentrate (totalling ~100 tonnes),one was tailings slurry (~2,000 litres) and one an emulsion spill (~10 tonnes). All of these spills were successfully cleaned up in an expedient manner. As a result, there were no impacts to groundwater or other sensitive environments and no fines were issued.
A total of $992,592 was spent in 2014 on social and environmental management, including waste disposal of domestic and industrial wastes. This figure excludes waste management costs associated with tailing or with waste rock.
Two environmental grievances were filed in 2014 through one of the various formal grievance mechanisms and are detailed here.