Ensuring Environmentally Conscious PTFI Operations

26 September 2016   |   OPERATIONAL News

A company operating one of the world’s biggest mines, PT Freeport Indonesia is faced with environmental issues that are in no way trivial. The company understands its operations impact the environment, and is therefore putting its utmost endeavors to maintain and manage the environment in compliance with prevailing regulations. 

Environmental sustainability is highly valued at the Company. Corporate contribution to modern human life is also demonstrated through the Company’s efforts to bring about environmentally conscious operations.  

Recently the Company’s environmental management performance underwent assessment by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, through a PROPER audit. PROPER is an acronym for the government’s corporate performance rating program, and the goal of the PROPER audit is to encourage corporate compliance in environmental management by means of information instrumentation.

The audit specifically targets companies engaged in industrial activities and generating effluents, solid wastes, and air pollution, and reviews their environmental management programs to ensure compliance with the government’s rules. In the case of the mining industry in particular, the Ministry of Environment applies the additional criterion of environmental degradation for assessing the mitigation and management of environmental degradation resulting from mining operations.

At PTFI, environmental management is not solely an Environmental Department Key Result Area (KRA), but is the shared responsibility of all divisions and departments. Operational divisions and departments in PTFI are in constant coordination with the Environmental Department to ensure that the activities they perform are monitored and conform to the environmental guideline established by the Company. 

During a PROPER audit, Environmental Departments assumes the role of host and engages relevant divisions and departments in undergoing the PROPER audit within the Company’s confines. In their capacity of area owner engaged on a daily basis with activities that have some relation with the environment, these divisions and departments provide necessary assistance and information to the team of auditors from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.  

In the recent PROPER audit conducted from September 5 through September 10, the PROPER audit team observed PTFI operational areas ranging from the Grasberg Open Pit Mine to Portsite in the lowlands. The audit team was divided into separate groups to evaluate such areas as Lower Wanagon, the Megashop, the Mill, the Power Plant, TRMP, and the Dewatering Plant (DWP).

Chief auditor Edy Purwanto Bakri stated, “Freeport Indonesia is Indonesia’s biggest mining company and is worthy of being a role model for environmental management in industry. Several aspects have been rated to be in good compliance, although undeniably several points remain unsatisfactory. But I am confident that PTFI is heading in the right direction to better environmental management.”  

The points the chief auditor was referring to were in relation to a newly introduced regulation (PP No. 101 of 2014) assigning tailings to the hazardous wastes category, thereby requiring more reassessment by the two parties in order to determine the best ways to deal with this issue.

Vice President for Environment, Andi Mukhsia says “the PROPER audit is distinct in that it indicates the level of Company compliance with a host country’s regulations on environmental management. The PROPER is also important to PTFI because it is the yardstick for rating companies’ environmental management, and we are thus positively affected if we obtain an acceptable rating.” 

In regards to PTFI performance in previous PROPER audits, Andi Mukhsia says PTFI engaged all elements of the organization to evaluate its ratings under PROPER, and from such evaluation determined the response actions to undertake in order to surmount all poor marks obtained.

The PROPER program uses a color-coded system to confer five rating categories: black signifies a company is in total omission of environmental management in its operation; red indicates a company  is yet to achieve an acceptable level of compliance in environmental management; blue is for industries that are managing waste in compliance with government regulations; green indicates a company has exceeded compliance expectations; and gold is for industries that provide value-added environmental management to bring about positive impacts in other areas, such as in community development. In this year’s PROPER audit, PTFI is aiming to garner a blue rating.

As a world-class mining company, PTFI constantly strives for balance in its operations. Let us all demonstrate in concert the Company’s commitment to realizing environmentally conscious operations. (Sularso)

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Public Policy Committee of the Board of Commissioners of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. assist the Board carry out its oversight responsibilities within the company.

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