Investigating the relationship between the characteristics of Environmental Management Systems and International Cyanide Management Code
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC) also known as the Cyanide Code are both voluntary management systems to assist management in an organisation to control the impact that they may have on the environment. The focus of the research was to investigate the relationship between the characteristics of an EMS and that of the ICMC. In order to determine the relationship between the characteristics two research questions had to be answered. Research question 1: What are the key characteristics of an Environmental Management System? and Research question 2: How do the characteristics of an Environmental Management system relate to the characteristics of the International Cyanide Management Code? The information gathering for the first research question was done by studying different articles and websites obtained from the literature. From this information an EMS framework was developed. In order to answer the second research question a three-step process was followed. Firstly, Cyanide Code characteristics were obtained from the literature. From this information a Cyanide Code framework was developed. Secondly, this framework was then enriched from information gathered from participants’ in the research. For the purpose of enrichment, a qualitative approach was used with a questionnaire link that was sent to research participants’ via e-mail in order to collect the information. The participants’ were purposefully selected from a single gold mine in South Africa. Finally, the characters of the enriched frameworks were compared to that of the EMS framework to answer the second research question. The study established that the EMS and Cyanide Code show very similar characteristics across multiple themes. However, some unique characteristics were also highlighted. Firstly, Cyanide Code is a management system that has to comply with set standards and principles. Secondly, the Cyanide Code is designed to manage the impact that cyanide has on the environment, as well as to protect the workforce through safe handling and storage of cyanide. As a result the Cyanide Code can also be defined as an Occupational Health and Safety system for cyanide handling. Furthermore, the Cyanide Code has specific contractual requirements for the manufacturers, transporters and the mine. These contractual agreements are prerequisites for the compliance certification. Finally, the Cyanide Code has explicit requirements for the design of facilities that ensure the safe handling and storage of cyanide. The EMS is designed to manage the environmental impact of all types of organisations, while the Cyanide Code is limited to gold mines that use cyanide as an extractive method. In this context, the Cyanide Code is limited to the effect that cyanide has on people and the environment, and does not manage or comply with any other environmental or safety conditions that might exist on a mine. Although the Cyanide Code can be regarded as a more comprehensive system, it is limited to a specific application in the Gold mining industry and can be described as a sub-system of an EMS.