Each step of our operations is subject to the environmental regulations applicable in the territories in which we operate. Our Environment department implements our corporate Environmental Policy and ensures the Corporation’s compliance with the relevant environmental laws. Our thoroughness and performance have allowed us to minimize our financial risks, including environmental offences and damage to our reputation.

Responsible Water Use

Water supply plays a major part in the Corporation’s cohabitation with the surrounding communities. SEMAFO is active in a number of ways, not least through SEMAFO Foundation: the Foundation has drilled a number of drinking water wells that significantly enhance household hygiene and health as well as the general living conditions of the population (27 drinking water facilities since the Foundation’s inauguration).

That we have an adequate water supply with which to operate our treatment plant, is in no small part due to the underground pipeline linking the water reservoir at Mana to the Mouhoun River, plus the water collected during the rainy season. We maximize our use of recycled and reused water.

The water quality is analyzed regularly[1], and the results are compared with international standards – such as those of the World Bank and the World Health Organization – and the national regulations in force.

[1] Testing frequency: minimum checks every two weeks; ongoing monthly checks; quarterly monitoring of all parameters by independent laboratories; and annual extensive checks on the depth of hand-operated wells used to supply the neighbouring villages.

Measures put in place by SEMAFO to reduce its water footprint, particularly in terms of groundwater, include:
•    Recycling and reuse of industrial wastewater (53% in 2015)
•    Construction of retention ponds to collect run-off water (more than 1,200,000 m3 of water was collected by this system in 2015)
•    Raising employee awareness
•    The mine operates using surface water that is mainly sourced from the Mouhoun River

Climate Change

As a mining company using a significant amount of fossil fuel, SEMAFO is conscious of its impact on anthropogenic climate change. We are therefore actively pursuing our efforts to progressively eliminate ozone-depleting substances, in accordance with the implementation of the Montreal Protocol.

We work in compliance with the regulations in force in Burkina Faso as well as the directives of the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). To this end, we have commissioned an agency to analyse the quality of the ambient air and the atmospheric emissions of our fixed installations, in addition to the gases involved in the increase in greenhouse gases.

Managing Mine Tailings, Waste and Chemicals

Management of the mine tailings is maintained by operating two alternating sections that optimize the consolidation of tailings under their own weight and by evaporation. Protective areas along the dike boundaries are used to minimize potential leaks. Moreover, the tailings are tested daily. An independent audit conducted in 2015 concluded that the tailings and water dams are stable and that elevation of the tailings walls had been performed in accordance with industry standards.

Waste generated through our mining activities is managed responsibly in order to mitigate our impact on the environment and on the population. Re-usable waste is sorted before being sent to the mine's waste centre for recovery of recycling. Our activities also generate waste such as used oil and batteries. As these are difficult to reduce at source, the used oil is sent to a treatment centre for recycling and the batteries are collected by authorized recyclers. Other re-usable material is separated at source before being sent to the mine's waste collection site for recycling or re-use.