Investigate the disclosure of water practices in the platinum mining industry
Increased population growth and urbanisation has led to significant stress on natural resources, in particular water resources. Various mining related operations, especially the platinum industry, are located in underdeveloped and remote areas, which can lead to unsustainable water management practises. This study’s objective is to investigate the disclosure of water practises within the platinum mining industry. A disclosure index was developed based on researched literature, mainly pertaining to standards set out in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework. The research methodology involved the implementation of a mixed method approach, whereby content analysis was applied to the water disclosures in integrated and sustainability reports of platinum mining companies. The results in the developed disclosure index focussed on three pillars, namely: compliance, frameworks and risks factors. The total level of compliance for the different platinum mining companies indicated a full compliance level of 42%, 16% to partial compliance, 32% displayed no compliance, and 10% of the disclosure index was not applicable to the reports analysed. Furthermore, it was noted that for topic specific disclosures, a higher level of compliance was identified for water consumption, whereas the lowest level was noticed for water discharges. The compliance between the various companies indicated a substantial difference between full compliance and low levels of compliance. The GRI, CDP and ICMM indicated to be frequently used disclosure frameworks. Two main risk factors, physical and regulatory, were identified with regards to water principles within the various reports analysed. It is recommended that a standardised framework be developed and implemented by platinum mining companies, in order to improve comparability and transparency within the industry.