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 (37 drinking water facilities since the Foundation’s inauguration).

To ensure we have an adequate water supply with which to operate our treatment plant, we maximize our use of recycled and reused water. In 2016, more than 50% of the water in the tailings pond at the Mana Mine was recycled. Specifically, in the Q4 2016, 62% of mine water consumption was provided by recycled water from the tailings pond, 28% by surface water and 10% by groundwater close to pits. 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.  

Monitoring our Tailings Ponds

Tailings from ore processing are disposed of safely and controlled in our fully fenced-in tailings site at Mana. The tailings consist of two separate alternating cells that have an average combined capacity of 4 million m3 until next elevation of their walls. Tailings site management methods are monitored and optimized, in particular by creating borders along dykes, which make it possible to sequester water away from the dykes in order to minimize the possibility of leaks. We also perform daily analyses of mine tailings deposited in the sites that will be crucial during the rehabilitation phase.

Air Quality Monitoring Program

In 2015, we signed a three-year collaboration agreement with an external specialist to provide the sampling, analysis, equipment and certification of air quality and airborne emissions on the Mana plant. First samplings of gases (ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)) in the ambient air were carried out on 10 different sites in communities surrounding the Mana Mine. Results to date are well below both Burkina Faso and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

[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.