Waste management

Key features

  • Year-on-year decrease of 5% in general waste to landfill against the five-year target.
  • 59% of general waste generated re-used and recycled.
  • 71,336 tonnes of hazardous waste to landfill.
  • 26,500 households and 5,400 informal houses across the GLC serviced by our waste removal service, run in partnership with Tedcor.


The reduction in volume of our general and of our hazardous waste streams is the primary focus of our Integrated Waste Management Plan (IWMP), which was drawn up in accordance with the new requirements of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (NEM:WA), 59 of 2008.

This is pursued by promoting the prevention of waste generation in the first place, as well as the re-use, recycling and recovery of waste materials already generated.

The IWMP is being phased in over a period of several years. This year saw the following progress:

  • The standardisation of a planned waste system at the Marikana operations and the PMR in Gauteng.
  • The entrenchment of waste separation systems at the main office block at the Marikana operations, the BMR and at our Engineering offices.
  • The updated classification of a number of primary waste streams.
  • The review of waste contracts which are up for renewal.
Summary of waste streams
Material (tonnes) 2013 2012
General waste to landfill 9,577 LA 10,271
Hazardous waste to landfill 71,336 77,826
General and hazardous waste incinerated 8.6 12.42
General waste recycled, reused and refurbished 13,581 14,420
Hazardous waste recycled, reused and refurbished 7,508 5,222
Tailings  11,661 10,666
Waste rock 996 1,482
Total weight of waste by type and disposal method.

A total of 23,095 tonnes of general waste, which includes waste streams such as steel and scrap metal, industrial plastics, rubber, wood, garden waste, tyres and paper, was generated in 2013, a decrease of 6.2% from 2012 (24,691 tonnes).

9,577LA tonnes of general waste was disposed to landfill in 2013, a significant majority of which (9,319 tonnes) was sent to the licenced Mooinooi GSB Landfill Site at our Marikana operations, which Lonmin manages, while the balance was disposed of at various other permitted landfills near to the operations. Waste minimisation resulted in 9,674 tonnes of general waste recycled, 3,844 tonnes re-used and 112 tonnes recovered during the year.

Health and safety risks are conducted on the landfill site annually. An important development that we are moving towards is an affordable measurement and monitoring system of the small quantities of methane (CH4) emitted at the landfill site.

More information on our other GHG emissions reduction strategies, is available in the sections Climate change and Energy efficiency and demand management.

Recycling, re-use and treatment of general waste

Since 2008, we have been able to achieve an approximate 60% diversion of general waste to landfill through the following on-going recycling, re-use and treatment measures in place at various business levels.

We recycle and re-use all industrial scrap metal, plastics, wood and rubber; including tyres and gumboots. We recycle or re-use all e-waste through the Lonmin Information Management Division. We re-use ash as a blending agent to treat hazardous waste and during the second half of the year we sent ash-waste (as a by-product) to local brick makers to use as an input product. Batteries are returned to suppliers for recycling and all waste oils are recycled at all operations through a partnership with Oilkol. Recycling systems have been introduced at our on-site mine office block to separate out recyclable waste, following a successful pilot system last year. This initiative was extended to the BMR in February 2013 and will be rolled out to the rest of the Process Division in 2014.

A Lonmin-specific colour-coding system is used at our operations for the separation of different waste streams at source. This will be reviewed in line with new waste classification regulations. Waste is sorted at the salvage yard to ensure that discarded equipment is refurbished and re-used where possible. We are also piloting the viability of composting our domestic sewage sludge, wood chip waste and other organic waste streams, with a view to using the resulting compost as part of our tailings dam rehabilitation programme.

General waste materials recycled and re-used
  2013 2012
Recycled (tonnes)
Ferrous and non-ferrous scrap 5,070.2 5,970.4
Metal liners with steel balls 216.4 785.9
Concentrator scats and scrap 864.9 920.1
Paper (and mixed domestic recyclables) 53.7 17.3
Rubber 2,296.1 2,024.8
Plastics 229.8 209.5
Tyres 157.2 120.1
Garden waste 766.9 322.9
Re-used (tonnes)
Recovered steel 112.5 86.2
Food 29.9 37.4
Wood 3,702.0 4,147.0
Plastic 0.1 13.0
Total amount of overburden rock, tailings and sludges and their associated risks.

Hazardous waste disposed to landfill decreased by 8.3% from 77,826 tonnes in 2012 to 71,336 tonnes in 2013.

Our primary hazardous waste streams comprise calcium sulphite (CaSO3) and both the acid and alkaline PMR effluent streams, which amounted to 52,693LA tonnes and 16,845LA tonnes respectively, with the remaining 1,798 tonnes constituting other hazardous wastes such as hydrocarbon contaminated waste, chemical wastes and fluorescent tubes. The reduction strategies for our hazardous waste products are based on continuing research and development into chemical technologies that could be used to treat hazardous waste materials and generate non-hazardous products and waste.

In 2013 we set a target of reducing hazardous waste to landfill by 5% by 30 September 2017*. In 2013, we managed to recycle and re-use 7,508 tonnes (9.5%) of the total quantity of hazardous waste generated (78,844).

  • *This is a combined restatement of two previous targets for hazardous waste. The restatement is explained in detail in the section: Performance against targets.
Hazardous waste materials recycled and re-used
  2013 2012
Recycled (tonnes)
Oil 30.4 51.5
E-waste 3.1 3.4
Contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE) 1.9 Not reported
PMR effluent (acidic waste) 4,464.9 Not reported
Re-used (tonnes)
Ash 3,008 4,097

Calcium sulphite

Calcium sulphite (CaSO3) is a residue generated from the capture and treatment of SO2 emissions from our smelter, where lime (CaCO3) is added to neutralise and capture the emissions. It is the most significant component of our hazardous waste stream and it is sent to a licensed waste landfill site for disposal. 52,693LA tonnes of CaSO3 were sent to landfill in 2013, 0.7% less than in 2012 (53,081 tonnes).

Historically, CaSO3 was stored on site in two storage dams. These were recently remediated, through additional containment measures, to mitigate environmental damage that had become evident. This was reported on in detail in our 2012 Sustainable Development Report. These measures are proving effective and will remain in place for approximately 20 years, during which time the most-appropriate technical solution to actually recycle the content of the CaSO3 dams can be found, piloted and implemented if feasible.

The feasibility of various possible re-use solutions for CaSO3 is still being explored. Currently the remediation and rehabilitation measures have shown a range of improvements in key areas such as the dust generated from the surface of the dams, the precipitation generated around the site and the quality of the surrounding groundwater. The management and mitigation of these storage dams in the long term is being addressed in line with legal requirements.

PMR effluent

An amount of 16,845LA tonnes of hazardous waste disposed in 2013 was made up of effluent from the PMR (2012: 23,313 tonnes).

There has been a concerted effort at the PMR to reduce hazardous waste to landfill by recycling a large portion of the disposed effluent. Approximately 21% (4,465 tonnes) of the acid effluent is diverted to a rejuvenation plant and regenerated into a clean and usable input acid for the steel industry as a rust removal agent. In 2014, a large portion of this waste stream will be taken for treatment, thus diverting even more from landfill. In addition future possibilities include a zero effluent strategy, where limited amounts of waste will be sent off site and the remainder will be re-used or recycled internally.

Total water discharge by quality and destination.

Waste rock is disposed of at one of our 13 on-site waste rock dumps. These are managed according to the requirements of the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA), our EMPs and the MPRDA and Codes of Practice specially developed for waste rock dump management. 996 kilotonnes (kt) of waste rock were generated in 2013 (2012: 1,483kt).

We have maintained our relationship with the South African National Roads Agency, SANRAL, whereby they purchase waste rock from the rock dump at Newman Shaft for use in the Bakwena N4 toll road construction. A total of 145,938m3 of waste rock was moved in 2013 (2012: 127,571m3) with R802,660 generated in income as a result (2012: R701,640). The dump has reduced dramatically in size since we started this venture and has almost been completely removed.

Tailings storage facilities (TSFs)

We have five dormant and six operational TSFs, all situated above ground. Our current operational TSFs are lined with a layer of clay, and are managed and monitored to minimise environmental impacts. Our operational dams have grassed side walls and irrigation systems in place at the high-risk sites and chemical dust suppression measures have been implemented at our largest TSF. Re-vegetation measures have been undertaken on all of the dormant dams. All new dams include lining in their designs. 11,661kt of tailings material were generated in 2013 (2012:10,666kt).

Total amount of overburden rock, tailings and sludges and their associated risks.