Environmental review

  • Converted Dwaalboom kiln 1 electrostatic precipitator (ESP) to bag filter, reducing dust emissions to below 2020 minimum standards
  • PPC Hercules partnered with City of Tshwane’s urban forestry programme to plant indigenous trees and fruit trees to reduce climate change impacts
  • Successfully classified waste streams at South African sites to ensure disposal complies with relevant regulations
  • Pilot energy management system implemented at De Hoek to improve energy efficiency in collaboration with National Cleaner Production Centre
  • De Hoek achieved thermal substitution rate (TSR) of 10% of fossil fuel (coal) by coprocessing waste tyres
  • In Zimbabwe, Colleen Bawn and Bulawayo factories achieved ISO 14001 certification
  • Energy monitoring system installed at Bulawayo factory for accurate benchmarking and achieved energy savings of 16%
  • CIMERWA (Rwanda) migrated from diesel generators to power from the grid, including hydro-electric
  • CIMERWA (Rwanda) replaced 20% of coal with alternative energy sources

  • Diesel spillage at Lime Acres triggered section 30 incident report under National Environmental Management Act
  • Increased NOx and specific SO2 emissions at De Hoek and Dwaalboom due to operational challenges
PPC environmental vision and policy

PPC believes in operating a sustainable business and is committed to reducing the environmental impact of its operations while continually improving environmental performance. Sustainability forms an integral part of PPC’s business strategy and the company strives to minimise or eliminate negative impacts and maximise positive impacts.

PPC encourages all its customers, suppliers and business associates to meet similar environmental goals.

PPC is committed to:

  • Integrating environmental management into management practices throughout the company
  • Implementing environmental best practices to reduce adverse impacts of its operations and, where practical, prevent pollution
  • Achieving continual environmental improvement by identifying significant environmental aspects and setting objectives and targets while reviewing environmental performance in the workplace and surrounding environment
  • Ensuring compliance with environmental legislation and other requirements to which the organisation subscribes
  • Responsible stewardship by managing natural resources through efficient energy strategies and implementing waste reduction and recycling where possible
  • Achieving effective and transparent communication with stakeholders through internal communiqués and environmental management stakeholder forums
  • Training and educating employees in environmental responsibilities and building capacity among stakeholders to identify, report and act on opportunities to minimise environmental impacts
  • Manage land through concurrent rehabilitation and maintaining biodiversity

Employees and contractors working at PPC operations play a fundamental role in achieving environmental objectives through:

  • Taking ownership of, and participating in, environmental management programmes and initiatives
  • Integrating environmental concerns into everyday practice
Corporate energy management and strategic intent

PPC revised its strategic intent for energy management in line with the following key pillars:

  Implementing an effective and
optimum energy management
system that will:
    Driving continuous
improvement of thermal
and electrical energy
footprint by:
    Continuously investigate and,
subject to viability, assess potential
entry into energy-linked growth
industries with key focus on:
  • Focus on monitoring and evaluating all energy-related activities
  • Ensure the credibility, reliability and usefulness of energy data to support prioritising initiatives and improve decision-making
  • Ensure all personnel are aware of the nature, meaning and value of an effective energy management system throughout the group
  • Continually identify energy-saving options and implement value-adding opportunities
  • Implementing optimum alternative thermal fuels, site by site, and developing their use to maximum viable levels while meeting emission and product quality requirements, and optimising cost
  • Investigating (and implementing where viable) the potential to produce electricity for own use, using both renewable and non-renewable resources
  • Waste remediation, particularly tyres and landfill coprocessing
  • Electricity production to scale, initially focusing on our own industry, which may grow from self-sufficiency to profitable energy operations at local level
Significant sustainability issues

Based on internal and external factors that affect the company as well as PPC’s legal obligations, significant environmental issues for FY2017 included:

Significant sustainability issues

Our commitment to environmental management systems

As part of our policy commitment, PPC operations use environmental management systems to identify operational risks and manage these to ensure continual improvement and environmental compliance. All our major facilities have environmental management system certification, with the exception of CIMERWA, Rwanda, and PPC Barnet DRC. PPC has developed a management framework that responds to the nature and scale of our various operations. The aggregates facilities are affiliated under the About Face programme of the Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of South Africa, which follows the ISO 14001 framework. PPC Zimbabwe has worked tirelessly to align its management practices with group requirements, and has now received ISO 14001 certification.


Changing legislative framework and carbon tax

The global regulatory environment on climate-change mitigation is evolving and, in South Africa, the government is developing carbon tax legislation, allocating carbon budgets and implementing other measures in an attempt to transition to a lower carbon economy.

Currently, the carbon budgeting process is voluntary and PPC has agreed to participate. After its carbon budget was issued for the first phase between January 2016 and December 2020, PPC calculated its carbon tax burden based on the draft bill at an estimated R90 million annually.

Under the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), financial provisions for rehabilitation and closure for prospecting, exploration, mining or production operations were published in November 2015 and amended in October 2016. These regulations have significant financial implications for the mining industry. PPC is engaging the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) through the Association of Cementitious Material Producers (ACMP) and Chamber of Mines to address challenges in implementing these regulations.

Our international operations manage environmental compliance in line with international standards in areas where local legislation is not yet fully developed.

Compliance management

PPC is committed to environmental compliance across the group. This involves a combination of targeted internal audits, legal registers, external legal auditing and external permit compliance audits. Our environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 help implement and monitor compliance. To track and maintain environmental compliance, PPC has developed legal registers linked to environmental management systems. These are audited every two years, and are being extended to other international operations.

Some of PPC's international operations are managed against the requirements of the International Finance Corporation and other lender institutions. These operations are focused on implementing their environmental and social commitments.

There were no formal compliance inspections at PPC SA operations in the reporting period. A number of ad hoc visits were made by provincial and local authorities to the De Hoek, Riebeeck, Beestekraal and Mooiplaas sites. Similar inspections were conducted at our international operations of Colleen Bawn and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and DRC.

During the year, a diesel filling control system malfunctioned at PPC Lime, resulting in a significant spillage that could cause land and water pollution (see panel).

Diesel spillage and response at PPC Lime, Lime Acres

A malfunction of the diesel filling control system at the end of a shift resulted in a major diesel spillage in May 2016. On discovery, emergency response was initiated by immediately containing the spillage to prevent further soil contamination using lime-based materials and spill-containing products. Relevant authorities (the departments of water and sanitation, mineral resources, environmental affairs and provincial department of environment and nature conservation) were informed of the incident. They conducted site visits and provided remedial options and recommendations.

Onsite bioremediation was the most suitable solution, as possible environmental impacts included soil and water pollution based on the depth of seepage. These impacts were lessened by the successful bioremediation process and distance from direct water bodies.

Soil samples analysed after bioremediation indicated that contaminated materials conformed to the acceptable soil screening values against national norms and standards for the remediation of contaminated land and soil quality as per NEMA: Waste Act 59, 2008.

This incident tested the effectiveness of controls at the diesel bay dispensing system, emergency response, and technical ability for improvements. The diesel filling control system was replaced, and structural improvements made to prevent recurrences.


Energy consumption and performance

Absolute energy consumption over the 12-month period compared to prior periods for PPC Cement SA and Lime are shown below:

Energy (terajoules) 12 months
March 2017
  6 months
March 2016
12 months
Sept 2015
Direct (thermal/coal) 17 747   8 464 19 213  
Indirect (electrical 1 948   969 2 203  
Total 19 195   9 433 21 416  

Direct energy consumption reduced by 10% and indirect energy consumption by 12% compared to FY2015. Due to the change in reporting periods, FY2016 reflects a six-month aggregated figure that does not account for full-year seasonal energy consumption patterns. Initiatives to reduce the energy footprint include:

  • Implementing our mega plant strategy – reducing the use of less efficient plant and maximising the use of larger, more efficient plant. Commissioning kiln 9 at the Slurry
    operation in 2018 will enhance this initiative
  • Continual implementation of power-planning protocols, ie using equipment outside peak electricity demand periods
  • Sustained focus on thermal energy consumption of our plants and implementing initiatives for alternative energy sources

PPC's specific energy consumption is a function of product mix and overall use of our capacity. As clinker demand for the period was higher than the comparable period of FY2015, we had to use some inefficient clinker capacity, so specific thermal energy consumption for our South African operations remained flat. More flexibility in our cement milling capacity, combined with higher mill outputs, allowed us to decrease specific electrical consumption by 8% compared to FY2015.

PPC is implementing an energy management system, in collaboration with the National Cleaner Production Centre. This began in the third quarter of the review period, with the aim of sustainably reducing specific and overall energy consumption and engaging employees at all levels. Implementation is being piloted at the De Hoek site and will be rolled out to other SA facilities in the final quarter of calendar 2017.

Our alternate fuel use programme also gained traction in the review period, after successfully adding waste tyres as a fuel source at one of our key SA facilities, De Hoek. Given that significant capital investment per plant is required, it is important to achieve solid thermal fuel substitution rates. We are pleased to report that the capital investment, combined with process optimisation, resulted in the substitution rate rising from under 5% to 10% in the final quarter.

Key points on energy management from PPC international operations include:

  • CIMERWA has migrated from local power generation with diesel generators to power from the national grid. The quality of supply has, however, been challenging, and we are
    engaging with local power authorities. An extensive measurement protocol has quantified power quality and identified improvement opportunities
  • The CIMERWA energy monitoring system was aligned to comply with standards of measurements and verification of power. This formed the basis for resolving metering
    and billing discrepancies with the Rwanda power utility
  • Peat use at CIMERWA operations is important in reducing the cost of imported coal. After considerable work, the substitution of coal with peat has risen from under 5% to current levels of 20%
  • Implementation of an energy monitoring system at the Bulawayo milling factory in the third quarter has assisted the factory with accurate benchmarking and energy savings
    from greater awareness. Between installation and February 2017, the factory has saved 16% of the maximum demand (kVA) or a cumulative US$2 771. This system
    will form the basis of the energy management system roll-out to the rest of our international operations

Carbon footprint

The scope of carbon footprint reporting remains the same as the previous period while we expand the scope to the rest of our businesses.

Absolute carbon emissions for business units with a material impact on PPC’s carbon footprint are shown below:

CO2 emissions (metric tons) Total   Direct Indirect  
Cement, lime and dolomite 4 436 775   3 890 236 546 539  
Cement SA 3 491 431   3 010 143 481 288  
Cement Zimbabwe 459 431   396 494 62 936  

Carbon emission intensity for the SA cement operations is reflected below.


Cement south africa

As results for the six-month FY2016 do not fully account for seasonal effects, comparing the current period with the year to October 2015 is more meaningful. Given that higher clinker demand relative to FY2015 required the use of some inefficient kiln capacity, CO2 emissions per tonne clinker essentially remained flat. Similarly, emissions of CO2 per tonne cement were largely flat, reflecting product mix proportions.

Our ability to incrementally decrease our carbon footprint, albeit slowly, reflects several focused initiatives:

  • Improved monitoring systems to enhance visibility of emissions and associated energy use
  • Decreasing the clinker factor
  • Further improvement in operational efficiencies
  • Introducing alternative fuels as appropriate
Efficient and responsible use of water resources

PPC operates in regions that differ in terms of availability, supply and scarcity of water resources. Accordingly, we reviewed our water management best practice to align with our changing operating environment. The underlying principles of best practice entail monitoring quantity, quality, management of stormwater, reusing treated sewage water where feasible, adhering to water use licence conditions or permits, and securing authorisations.

Municipal water consumption (m3)

2017   2016 2015  
846 854   390 131 766 592  

Compared to calendar 2015, water consumption increased by 9,5% after the start-up of the Riebeeck kilns to meet clinker demand in the region.

Water use licences

Over 90% of PPC’s operations have secured their water use licences and related authorisations. PPC engaged the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) on outstanding information for the Dwaalboom application, and all required information was submitted. The issuance of this licence is imminent. Our Lime, Riebeeck and Slurry operations have applied for amendment of their water licences because the conditions are unduly onerous.

PPC Zimbabwe’s Colleen Bawn and Bulawayo factories achieve ISO 14001 certification

Reflecting our ongoing commitment to sustainability and the environment, PPC Zimbabwe’s Colleen Bawn and Bulawayo factories have achieved ISO 14001 certification. This is a primary requirement for competing favourably and growing the business – and an independent verification of its commitment to environmental management.

PPC Zimbabwe’s journey to certification required commitment across the organisation. Although internal systems were followed previously, these were not verified by an independent certification body. The ISO certification followed an intensive third-party audit by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe in which auditors visited all business units to ensure international standards were met.

To ensure that PPC Zimbabwe remains ISO certified, it will be externally audited each year. In addition, the site will conduct six-monthly internal audits to identify opportunities to improve its management systems.

Air quality management

Point sources

PPC’s cement and lime manufacturing facilities release emissions to air such as dust, sulphur dioxide (SO2), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). In our South African operations, all point sources are monitored continuously for these emissions, except Port Elizabeth where kiln gases are monitored with a portable analyser. Given the unavailability of service providers and long turnaround times to repair monitoring equipment, some of PPC’s continuous emissions monitoring was compromised in this reporting period.

The performance of our South African cement kilns, including PPC Lime, is monitored year on year in line with the minimum emission standards compliance programme. Group performance for the year is reflected below:

  Dust   NOx   SO2  
  12 months
March 2017
  6 months
March 2016
12 months
Sept 2015
  12 months
March 2017
  6 months
March 2016
12 months
Sept 2015
  12 months
March 2017
  6 months
March 2016
12 months
Sept 2015
Metric tonnes 660   371 930   11 436   4 745 11 399   698   409 250  

PPC recorded a 41% improvement in dust emissions relative to FY2015 by replacing a number of electrostatic precipitators with bag filters. Our NOx emissions are flat on the comparable FY2015 period. Our absolute SO2 emissions have increased due to higher market demand in the Western Cape requiring higher clinker production levels, the pyritic nature of the orebody currently being mined at De Hoek and the existing Riebeeck orebody, as well as the introduction of tyres as an alternative fuel at De Hoek. Process investigations have been launched with specialist companies to limit both NOx and SO2 emissions. Given inherent technical challenges in the orebody and tyre coprocessing, PPC has submitted a postponement application for De Hoek and Riebeeck SO2 emissions.

Postponement to compliance timeframes

As part of PPC’s postponement of compliance timeframes, the Port Elizabeth operation was granted authorisation to upgrade the kiln line and finishing mill to meet 2020 minimum emission standards. The finishing mill upgrade was completed in July 2016.

The DEA granted PPC Dwaalboom a postponement of compliance with minimum emissions standards in terms of section 21 of the NEM: Air Quality Act for kiln 1 main stack dust until 31 December 2016. We subsequently completed the conversion of Dwaalboom kiln 1 from an electrostatic precipitator to a baghouse at a cost of R69 million, resulting in dust emissions of less than 30mg/Nm3 well ahead of the 2020 compliance date.

The SK9 project is on schedule. This includes upgrading the existing kiln 8 electrostatic precipitator to a bag filter. The environmental authorisation for this part of the project is under way. Once the kiln 8/9 project is complete, PPC will have met over 90% of its upgrade commitments.

Resource conservation

PPC's mine rehabilitation remains on target, with 95% of disturbed land rehabilitated in line with policy requirements. Most of our mining areas allow for concurrent rehabilitation which keeps the overall footprint small. Areas with a high agricultural potential are leased to local farmers for commercial farming. PPC is reviewing its environmental management programmes to align with current financial provision regulations due in February 2019.

PPC is fully aligned to the Cement Sustainability Initiative and the objectives of the white paper on integrated pollution and waste management to reduce the amount of waste that lands in landfills. We will continue to identify alternative raw materials and fuels to replace non-renewable resources where possible.

De Hoek tyre coprocessing

Following the completion of phase 1 of the tyre coprocessing project, where a thermal substitution rate of less than 5% was attained through a manual feed system, PPC De Hoek began phase 2 by adding a total automated feed system. This enabled tyre transportation via an incline conveyor weigh-feeder mechanism to the kiln preheater building. An induced draft fan impeller has been replaced to increase oxygen supply to the preheater for effective combustion. With specialised input from a consulting firm, the thermal replacement of coal was increased to 10% by using tyres, which is a renewable source. The coprocessing project will be extended to De Hoek kiln 5 in calendar year 2017.

Waste management

PPC successfully classified all waste streams across its South African sites by the regulatory deadline of August 2016 (regulation GN R634 aims to ensure that responsible waste
management practices are adhered to). Safety datasheets were generated to ensure that health, safety and environmental information is available for end users of PPC products.

Stakeholder engagement

The South African Association of Cementitious Material Producers plays a pivotal role in engaging with the authorities and ensures cement industry issues are addressed through legislative reform processes. This covers a broad spectrum such as carbon tax, desired emission reduction outcomes, carbon budgets, greenhouse gas emissions reporting, pollution prevention plans and rehabilitation financial provisioning.

PPC is committed to interacting with environmental stakeholders through various channels of communication. We meet our stakeholders at least twice a year to update them on emissions, water and address any issues of concern. Regulatory processes such as environmental impact assessments and environmental management plans involve engaging with local communities as well as interested and affected stakeholders.

This model has been effectively implemented across the rest of the African businesses.

Focus areas for 2018
  • Implement greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reporting systems as per national GHG regulations
  • ISO 14001:2015 environmental management systems implementation
  • Obtain authorisation for Slurry kiln 8 bag filter upgrade
  • Finalise financial provision alignment as per new NEMA regulations
  • Implement energy management systems across all South African operations
  • Expand alternative fuels programme