Mining and metallurgical activities can affect the natural environment. To measure, avoid and minimize these impacts, ERAMET conducts its business in an exemplary fashion, using best practices and the resources needed to protect health, safety and the environment.
EraGreen, the tool for measuring environmental performance
By studying and learning the precise impacts of its activities, ERAMET can define the actions needed to minimize those impacts. Implementing environmental quality within the Group also means permanently anticipating and assessing both progress and difficulties, while also creating a culture of continuous improvement.
To do so, in 2006 the Group set up the EraGreen Environment Information System. This centralised reporting tool is designed for ERAMET and enables the Group to consolidate key environmental data for all of its industrial and mining units. The main topics include water, air, soil, energy, waste, biodiversity and regulations. EraGreen regularly evolves to facilitate its use by units (software upgrades, graphic presentation, etc.), but also to improve its relevance. Its indicators are revised according to regulatory requirements, recommendations arising from external audits or feedback from units.
The ISO 14001 Standard, Certification of the Environmental Management System
In accordance with its 2002 environmental charter and its January 2010 sustainable development policy, ERAMET is supporting its industrial and mining sites worldwide in attaining ISO 14001 certification.
This certification also demonstrates the sites’ commitment to a continuous improvement process for environmental performance by controlling the impacts of their activities. To guide them and assess their environmental program, the Group carries out internal pre-certification audits and surveillance audits that cover hygiene, health, safety and environment. As of December 31st, 2013, the ERAMET group had 33 ISO 14001-certified sites.
Tools for abating and monitoring emissions
ERAMET has implemented specific emissions abatement or monitoring equipment for water-borne or atmospheric emissions from its activities. The number of such facilities continues to increase and new items are regularly installed on various sites, in order to reduce even further any residual impact on the environment. In 2012, the Group set aside almost 70 million euros for environmental investments: more than 60% of these were devoted to the prevention of air pollution and almost 30% to the prevention of water pollution.
Monitoring and reducing water-borne emissions
ERAMET is working to improve treatment processes to ensure that only good-quality water is discharged by its sites. Furthermore, 93% of these sites are equipped with water treatment installations.
Measurements and equipment:
- more than 400 installations treat emissions: water treatment plants, settling basins, stormwater basins, 100 sludge separators / oil separators for oil-contaminated effluents;
- more than 80 water discharge points are piped and monitored;
- more than 100 cooling towers permit the use of water recirculation loops;
- more than 250 piezometers, tools for measuring underground water quality, have been set up;
- about 50 extra piezometers are installed outside site perimeters in the nearby environment.
Monitoring and measuring airborne emissions
Atmospheric emissions result from activities producing energy and producing ferrous and non-ferrous metal alloys. Fusion processes and thermal treatment furnaces for pyrometallurgy make a particular contribution.
Measurements and equipment:
- more than 330 installations treat emissions: dry or wet dust separators, cyclones, electrostatic filters, an ammonia pressing facility, gas scrubbing/absorbing plant, desulfurization, activated carbon adsorption, post-combustion, etc.;
- more than 340 discharge points are piped and monitored;
- more than 100 monitoring points measure atmospheric dropout, on and off sites; 80% of plants carry out these two types of monitoring.
"Zero disputes" target
In accordance with its environmental charter, ERAMET is dedicated to complying strictly with the regulatory legislation applicable to its sites. Since 2007, the Group has set the target of "zero disputes", in order to avoid official warnings or criminal charges arising from breaches in regulatory obligations by its sites. The ERAMET group promotes a policy of strict regulatory compliance which is the first guarantee that ERAMET considers the impacts of its activities responsibly. This policy is accompanied by a desire for transparency and dialog with authorities in all situations, particularly in the event of temporary difficulties or specific operating conditions.