South32 widens scope of fatality reporting

South32's Worsley Alumina operation. Image: South32

South32 has extended its practice of reporting fatalities in locations outside of its control.

The change was introduced after its diesel mechanic assistant, an employee of a contract mining company, Modi Mining, tragically passed away at South32’s South Africa Energy Coal operation in May.

South32 chief executive Graham Kerr said the company provided support to the late worker’s family and conducted a full investigation into the accident in conjunction with Modi Mining.

In a larger move towards greater safety across the business, South32 chair Karen Wood also commended the International Council on Mining and Metals’ launch of the global industry standard on tailings management.

South32 spent $US37 million ($52 million) in capital expenditure on tailings dams in 2018 and boosted the spending to $US57 million the year after.

“I commend everyone who was involved in delivering this critically important standard for our industry that establishes requirements for the robust management of tailings storage facilities,” Wood said in the company’s 2020 annual report.

Further, South32 also committed to achieving net zero emissions from its operations by 2050.

It is on track to hold its scope one emissions at or below its 2015 fiscal year levels until the 2021 fiscal year.

The Australian operations, Worsley Alumina and Illawarra Metallurgical Coal, will be the key sites of substantial reductions of scope one emissions.

South32 will release its next set of targets in its 2021 financial year reporting.