The group is committed to responsible stewardship of its resources and to ensuring that all its activities result in no harm to staff and the environments in which the company operates. Sustainability is being integrated into the strategic and operational aspects of the business with structural and reporting changes being put in place to enable and sustain monitoring and reporting of these critical business measures. This includes developing plans for continuous improvement and assessment of environmental risk.
A LOOK BACK AT OUR GOALS FOR 2017
- The milestone of converting all the planned furnaces to natural gas was completed in September 2017.
- Benefits from the recycling centre resulted in a 11 460 ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
THE FOCUS FOR 2018
Continued emissions reductions by monitoring and improving efficiency of fuel gas consumption.
NATURAL RESOURCES WE ARE RELIANT ON
The group relies on gas, water and electricity (carbon-intensive resource) throughout its production process.
Aluminium smelters are heavily reliant on electricity to produce primary aluminium. The mid- and downstream aluminium industries are reliant on primary aluminium for its production process. This high usage of electricity by the smelters is therefore an indirect capital on which the group is reliant.
DECREASING OUR RELIANCE ON KEY RESOURCES
Aluminium is infinitely recyclable. By recycling aluminium, the initial energy intensive process is eliminated. There is an increasing availability of aluminium scrap, including used beverage cans, in the local market. Recycling scrap creates prospects of improved economic returns for the mid- and downstream industry; and the collection and recycling industry creates additional employment.
At the same time we are continuously striving to reduce energy consumption through improved efficiencies and waste management.
Intensity against one ton of production
OUR IMPACT ON NATURAL CAPITAL DURING 2017
The group sets intensity targets for all key environmental parameters (consumption per unit ton produced). Production increased by 1,8% over 2016 while energy consumption increased by only 0,5%. Electricity has been well managed while overall fuel gas consumption was higher due to further plant conversions to compressed natural gas.
The group has further reduced absolute Carbon emissions for the 2017 production year, in spite of increasing production. The group recorded
a reduction of 12 324 tons of CO2e emissions from 2016 while increasing production in 2017 by 1,8%.
The reductions were achieved by focusing on electricity consumption which is the main source of the group’s emissions.
Energy consumption levels remained in line with the previous records recorded in 2016 with the desired production throughputs having been achieved. The satisfactory energy consumption levels have been achieved through implementing key actions in each of the material energy components identified below.
The milestone of converting all the planned furnaces to natural gas was completed in September 2017 when the coating line project was completed resulting in the group’s dependence on LPG having been reduced by about 48%. The change in energy mix has also had a positive effect on the group’s GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.
The group’s remelt furnaces, which still consume LPG, will continue to receive attention in 2018 with projects anticipated to improve gas-to-air ratios and reduce energy consumption.
The efficiency of the transfer of liquid metal from the recycling furnace is being improved by relining the crucibles with a thinner refractory, without loss of insulation performance, to ensure a 10 ton transfer of metal at each pour. This in turn ensures more molten metal into the main melters reducing the energy needs.
Projects initiated in 2016 to capture consumption data accurately continued through 2017. Significant progress has been made with the installation of power meters at machines, the development of an industrial network to support the uninterrupted transfer of data and the IT systems to support problem solving and decision making. The network was completed at the Edendale site and should be in place at the Campsdrift side by late February 2018. Reporting and analysis capabilities have been improved and Hulamin can now compare daily electricity consumption at all machine centres against a modelled consumption. This enables the investigation and correction of any deviations.
The variable speed drive (VSD) project savings continue to grow. Savings achieved during the last 12 months were 3,7 GWh (2016: 3,2 GWh). Further anticipated savings of 5,0 GWh is anticipated for the 2018 financial year.
The installation of water meters has been completed with the electronic linking of these to the database planned for completion in early 2018. This will enable the group to migrate a live water management system as opposed to a manual meter reading system for more accurate consumption data.
Water consumption levels have decreased per unit to the lowest levels since 2011 mostly through awareness campaigns and identified wastages. Opportunities for water savings identified from the National Cleaner Production Centre assessment performed in 2016 have been progressed and formalised as projects. Expectations are that these will be rolled out early in 2018.
During the year the group continued to grow the benefits from its recycling centre with a 34% increase of purchased scrap aluminium (including used beverage cans) on the prior year.
A general awareness of the need to reduce waste to landfill has resulted in no further increases in waste to landfill in spite of the increase production in 2017.
In partnership with a recycler who recovers rolling oil from our spent filter cake (cold and foil rolling), we are proud to report that we have passed the mark of a million litres of rolling oil recovered since the inception of this project. This is equivalent to around eight months’ supply of oil to these mills!