Reducing air emissions is one of EVRAZ’ overriding environmental priorities. The key air emissions comprise nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), dust and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
The current strategy for reducing air emissions envisages upgrading gas treatment systems, introducing modern technology and eliminating obsolete equipment. That said, the strategy to reduce air emissions has had a visible impact. The Group’s VOC emissions have steadily decreased, falling by 35% from 1.7 thousand tonnes in 2011 to 1.1 thousand tonnes in 2017, (including 0.1 k tone in 2017 or 8% vs 2016) due to measures undertaken at coke production sites. Dust emissions dropped by 8% from 2011 to 2017 including 5% in 2017 comparing to 2016. EVRAZ’ NOx emissions have remained mostly stable at around 29 thousand tonnes. Yearly deviations have been related to the increased fuel consumption needed to burn out excess sulphur from ore and iron. SOx emissions surged by 45% within the last 4 years (starting since 2013) due to the higher sulphur content in the ore which has resulted in higher SOx emissions. Following that, the management has set a task to find the technology and methods to reduce these emissions from sinter production.
Greenhouse gas emissions
EVRAZ’s operations generate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Group understands that mitigating climate change risks is a crucial element in planning for the future welfare of its employees and local communities throughout its global enterprises. The Group understands the urgency of preventing climate change and supports the global effort to reduce the emission of GHGs into the atmosphere. In compliance with the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013, EVRAZ measures the full GHG emissions at its facilities and has taken part in the CDP Climate Change Programme since 2011.
A key aspect of EVRAZ’ strategy is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by consuming fewer energy resources. The Group set a five-year target for its Steel segment to keep the greenhouse gases intensity ratio below 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (tCO2e) per tonne of steel cast. The Group measures direct (Scope 1) emissions of all seven “Kyoto” GHGs1 and indirect (Scope 2) emissions from the use of electricity and heat. The inventory approach2 was based on the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC 2006) and the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.
EVRAZ reports data in terms of tCO2e, calculated using the IPCC 2006 global warming potentials. EVRAZ has collected GHG emissions data for 2017 and compared them with the 2013-2016 levels. The Steel segment continues to generate more than half of the gross GHG emissions from the Group’s operations. Nearly 93% of the Coal segment’s full emissions come from fugitive methane (CH4) leakage, which is caused by methane ventilation from underground mines and post-mining emissions from coal.
In 2017, the overall GHG emissions from EVRAZ’ operations increased by around 2% year-on-year. Emissions of CO2 fell by 1.34% (or 0.386 million tCO2e) due to reduced concentrate consumption at EVRAZ ZSMK and lower coal consumption at EVRAZ NTMK, as well as to the cease in operations at several mills in Russia, Ukraine and South Africa during the reporting period. In the Coal segment, CH4 emissions rose by 18% due to higher methane emissions from the coal mined. In 2017, EVRAZ increased its Scope 1 emissions by 2% and brought down its Scope 2 emissions by 1%. The former was due to an increase in methane emissions, which accounted for some 3% of total emissions, while the latter was due to the cease in operations at several mills in Russia, Ukraine and South Africa.
EVRAZ strives to make efficient use of water resources and prevent any negative water quality impacts through environmental incidents. In 2017, almost 85% of the Group’s total water intake came from surface sources, including rivers, lakes and reservoirs, up 1 percentage point year-on-year. During the reporting period, the ongoing programmes to improve the water management at EVRAZ’ operations continued to deliver environmental benefits. In 2017, the Group consumed 8.2 million cubic metres less fresh water than in 2016, for a year-on-year reduction of 2.5%. In 2017, the management decided to continue its water management programs and set a new five-year target to decrease fresh water consumption by 10% compared with the baseline of 2016. While water pumped from mines (dewatering) is not included in the fresh water consumption target, pumped water is partly used for technological needs. In 2017, EVRAZ pumped out and used 21.15 million cubic metres of mine water, compared with 20.3 million cubic metres a year earlier.
Mining and steelmaking operations produce significant amounts of waste, including the surplus rock, spent ore and tailings left over after processing ore and concentrates. EVRAZ aims to reduce the amount of waste that it produces, re-use natural resources where possible and dispose of waste in a manner that minimises the environmental impact and maximises operational and financial efficiency. In line with the Group’s strategy to reduce waste storage volumes and enhance waste disposal, EVRAZ’ operations regularly review opportunities to recycle and re-use waste. The main waste by-product that gets recycled is metallurgical slag, which includes materials that previously had been disposed of in dumps. Processing this waste has allowed the Group to maintain a recycling rate of more than 100%. Most of the old slag in these dumps has been processed over the past few years, which is the primary reason why the recycling rate went down in 2017. Since 2013, the Group’s strategy has been to avoid generating waste by applying technology to minimise waste at the source. During the past five years, more than 50% of what used to be classified as waste has been re-introduced to the production process or used as a by-product instead of being disposed as waste.
In 2017, EVRAZ’ steel mills generated 9.22 million tonnes of metallurgical waste and by-products, including slag, sludge, scale and others, and recycled or re-used 9.67 million tonnes of material. Overall, the Group recycled or re-used 104.7% of non-mining waste and byproducts in 2017, compared with 120% a year earlier. The Group reviewed its waste management activities. Its existing programmes have helped to reduce the generation of hazardous waste and decrease the volume of disposed waste. The management has decided to continue its waste minimisation efforts and set a target to reuse or recycle at least 95% of waste. EVRAZ’ strategy for dealing with non-hazardous mining wastes, such as depleted rock, tailings and overburden, is to use them where possible for land rehabilitation and the construction of dams or roads. In 2017, 29.7% or 50.4 million tonnes of such waste material were re-used, compared with 18% or 28.6 million tonnes in 2016. All non-recyclable waste is stored in facilities that are designed to prevent any harmful substances contained in the waste from escaping into the environment. Safety at such facilities is monitored extremely closely, and steps have been taken to mitigate as far as possible any danger to third parties in an emergency.