BMSC has a ‘zero discharge policy’ that eliminates any water discharge. The operation also does not produce any sludges.
Solid waste is segregated at two waste handling facilities situated at the camp and salvage yard. Approximately 480 thousand kg of non-hazardous waste (e.g. wood, metals) was removed by Ministry of Labour and Human Welfare (MoLHW) for recycling. Only non-hazardous waste, such as food scraps, safety shoes, hard hats, air filters and filter cloth from the concentrate area are disposed of in the onsite landfill. An onsite incinerator handles a limited set of items, including medical waste. BMSC also starting sending waste oil to a recycling facility located at Massawa that will be commissioned in 2016. Sufficient waste oil was sent in 2015 (160,000 litres) to enable the site to be commissioned; regular monthly shipments will be sent in 2016 once fully operational. Other wastes (including hazardous items such as batteries) are safely stored onsite pending identification of suitable recycling methodologies. In 2015, the accumulated site storage was 58,000 tonnes. The Company is working closely with the Government of Eritrea to identify suitable disposal options.
In 2015, we milled 1.93 million dry metric tonnes of ore. Of that 1.67 million dry metric tonnes (approximately 87%) went to our tailings management facility with the remainder shipped as copper concentrate; an increase of 15% over 2014. The material held in this facility has acid generating potential; to address this issue, the facility is fully lined with high density polyethylene liner, with a leak detection system and downstream groundwater monitoring. The tailing and water level in this facility is constantly monitored and our management performance regularly reviewed by an external expert in tailing management to ensure we align with international practices.
In 2015, 10.7 million tonnes of material was sent to the waste rock management facility; following standard industry practice, the facility is constructed on unlined compacted rock. Approximately two-third of the waste rock has the potential to generate acid; this portion is encapsulated within the facility to control acid generating potential. Monitoring wells are placed on the downstream side of the facility. As a result of the control measures in place, and given that the site is located in an arid climate, the potential contamination risk associated with the waste rock management facility is low.