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Our planet

Diamond Mining Companies Embrace their Environmental Responsibility

Our Members recognize responsible environmental stewardship as one of the diamond industry’s main obligations. Long-term development of the industry depends on our ability to manage and minimize the environmental impact. DPA Members recognize that they have an obligation to responsibly manage the environment they are entrusted with and do so in close collaboration with local governments and communities.

Waste production infographic
Over 99%

of waste produced by DPA Members’ mining operations is rock. This waste material is disposed of on site and are eventually reclaimed as part of the landscape during the mine closure and rehabilitation process.

Water recycling infographic
83%

of water used by DPA Members is recycled.

Yosemite National
                        Park infographic
1,000 sq miles

of land is protected by DPA Members, equivalent in size to Yosemite National Park.

Our key focus areas

Diamond mining and diamond recovery are almost entirely reliant on mechanical processes and do not require the use of large quantities of chemicals. They do, however, require significant quantities of energy. The amount of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) emitted by DPA Members is driven by the use of fossil fuels in the generation and use of electricity (58%) and in running vehicles, equipment and other machinery (42%).

According to the Trucost report, DPA Members collectively emitted 160kg of CO2e per polished carat produced. This is equivalent to the amount of CO2e generated by driving 390 miles in an average passenger vehicle.

All Members are working actively on programs or initiatives aimed at reducing their energy use and carbon footprint and leverage wherever possible, their proximity to sources of renewable energy.

For example, the Argyle mine in Western Australia is able to source the majority of its electricity from hydro power, yielding a relatively low carbon footprint of 88 lb CO2e. Meanwhile, the Diavik mine in Canada installed a 9.2 MW wind farm in 2012. The wind farm – the most northern wind farm in the world – provides up to 10% of the mine’s energy needs and replaces about 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year. For this achievement, Diavik was awarded a Group Leadership Award from the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

Other DPA Members are focused on reducing the demand for energy at their sites. For example, an industrial composter was installed at Dominion Diamond’s Ekati mine to dispose of organic waste at the site. As a result, roughly half the organic waste generated at the mine, which is located in a remote area of Canada’s Northwest Territories, has been composted. From October 2015 to the end of 2016, the transition to composting is estimated to have saved about 16,278 gallons of diesel and 231 tons of CO2e. Dominion Diamond’s composter project won the Toward Sustainable Mining 2016 Environmental Excellence for Transforming Waste Management in Canada’s Northwest Territories award.

DPA Members have a relatively small footprint on the land due to the compact size of mining operations. Globally, Member diamond mining operations use a combined area of 325 square miles–an area about the size of New York City.

In parallel, DPA Members invest significantly in conservation efforts, protecting over 1,000 square miles of natural land in Australia, Botswana, Canada, Russia, South Africa and Tanzania. The total area of land protected by DPA Members is equivalent in size to Yosemite National Park.

DPA Members also ensure that land used is reclaimed at the end of mining operations. Closure plans are agreed upon in collaboration with local governments and neighboring communities before mining begins, and take several years to execute following the end of mining activities. This ensures that the land is safe for wildlife and people to use once mining is complete.

Diamond recovery does not require the use of large quantities of chemicals; processing is reliant on water and pressure. The majority of waste generated by DPA Members is waste rock, material that is removed from the mine and placed in nearby storage areas. Once mining is complete, waste rock is reclaimed and becomes part of the natural landscape again.

The remainder of waste generated by DPA Members is comprised of industrial waste (e.g., construction materials, food waste, exhausted machinery) and waste generated through emissions to air, land and water that are associated with energy use, water use, transportation, the incineration of waste and other operations on site.

DPA Members are committed to reducing all waste. On average, Members recycled approximately 26% of all industrial waste by weight, with approximately 5 kilograms per polished carat recycled in 2016.

DPA Members understand the importance of protecting the water supply and the quality of the water in the areas where they operate. In 2016, DPA Members used 7.3 cubic meters of water per polished carat, with most mines recycling the water they use in the processing plant (where the greatest demand for water occurs). The Members have an average water recycling rate of 83%.

Recycling and reuse initiatives are a key focus for reducing overall water consumption. Petra Diamonds achieved a 10% increase in water efficiency in 2015 by implementing recycling and reuse initiatives and a water conservation awareness program. ALROSA reduced its water consumption by 10% in 2015 alone, and by 25% over the last five years. Ninety-eight percent of the water required for Dominion’s Ekati mine is recycled. Meanwhile, in an effort to help serve the needs of the community, Petra distributes potable water to the mine village and local communities through controlled water points.