This document is a guideline to assist Aspasa members to deal with Community issues and it is up to the members company to implement the sections it sees fit
Aggregates are a significant natural resource. The extractive industries make an important contribution to economic development in South Africa. However, the operation of quarries can give rise to land use and environmental issues which require to be mitigated and controlled.
Who are these guidelines for?
The members of Aspasa all have operations in areas where there are interested and affected parties, which need interaction with each other.
Some Aspasa members already have a good relationship with the communities, other not. Aspasa gets requests from members for assistance on this issue and therefore this guideline.
Some practical advice or pointers are supplied but each company might have more experience with a specific community. This means this guideline can be built onto further cover specific issues.
The issue of having a duty to consult is becoming more important these days as communities are becoming aware of the legislation and rules.
The quarry industry in South Africa has a very important role to play in the development if the infrastructure in SA.
It is important to understand that economic growth is guided in conjunction with strong and healthy communities, the wellbeing of the community and an environmental sustainable industry.
Quarries exist near built up areas and most quarries in SA have been in existence for many years have developed in areas where there were very little development at that time.
Many Aspasa members already engage with their communities proactively and successfully. Aspasa recognises that the hallmarks of good engagement such as trust, mutual respect, transparency and understanding are essential ingredients for this relationship to operate effectively.
Aspasa therefore underpins the fact that good community engagement also makes sense on a practical and at grass roots level as decision are improved, risks are reduced and relationships are built.
A large part of competing and working in a globalised world rests on the reputation of companies, which is based partly on the quality of their products and partly on the activities of those companies outside of production. Being involved with communities and working with the people of host communities can serve to enhance a company’s reputation and to facilitate future acquisitions. This is especially important for the quarry industry, which has a reputation as being the cause of serious environmental damage. The reputation of companies, based on their actions in other areas, is reflected in the idea of the social license to operate.
The Partners in the Relationship
INTRODUCTION TO QUARRYING
Why do we quarry?
For thousands of years man has used stone for building, whether it was for monuments, religious building or houses. Early on, when the land was only sparsely populated, man’s use of stone and his primitive quarrying would have had little lasting impact on the environment. Gradually, as time went on, more stone was used in building. It was good material with which to build castles, walls, churches and important buildings, since it was strong and weather resistance. As the demand for stone grew, so did the demand for quarrying.
During the Industrial Revolution demand soared. The Victorians used stone for all their major building and with better transport and new technology they were able to meet these increasing demands, probably with little through as to their impact n the environment.
What do we quarry?
Today the demand for carefully worked stone for building has been reduced by the fact that we have so many new, easier to use and cheaper building materials but this does not necessarily mean that there is less quarrying. Although stone blocks are not used so much for building as they used to be, we still use stone in a different form for building and construction work today.
There is now a great demand for stone – especially limestone – in the form of “crushed rock” and it is also an essential constituent in other building and construction materials.
Creating one kilometre of road 10 metres wide could use well over 500 lorry loads of crushed stone.
Because the stone used for this sort of construction work does not have to be extracted in a high quality block form, the techniques for quarrying have changed. Now, those that quarry can be less selective. Consequently one of the best methods of quick quarrying is the use of explosives which means that great chunks of hillsides may be blown up and transported away in a relatively short time.
Sand and gravel are used along with stone in construction work. Consequently millions of tonnes are being removed from sand and gravel deposits both on land – usually close to the urban areas where they are needed and also from the sea bed.
What effect can quarries have?
Whilst a quarry is in use the effects on the local environment are more than just the loss of wildlife habitats and the obvious visual impact. A working quarry needs methods of transportation and this mean that large amounts of machinery and heavy traffic will be brought into the area, causing an increase in local noise, pollution and erosion.
What happens do disused quarries?
Sand and gravel extraction may often leave behind large water filled pits. These pits, if managed correctly, may become valuable wildlife habitats for wetland and water creatures.
Sometimes they are also used as leisure lakes – for water sports – although this may conflict with the needs of wetland wildlife.
Stone quarries come in different shapes and sizes. Some, like the gravel pits are relatively easy to reclaim. Many disused quarries, once they have been made safe, are used for leisure areas such as camp sites or motor vehicle racing tracks but the reclamation of others is more difficult. Removal of vast quantities of rock can change the very shape of our environment. Whole hillsides can be destroyed and layers of valuable soil removed.
By their nature, aggregates can only worked where they occur. Sand and stone have a low value-to-weight ratio, and therefore it is generally neither economically nor environmentally sustainable to transport them any great distance to their market due to increase transport costs. Many pits and quarries tends to be located within 25km of urban areas, where most construction takes place.
Who is Aspasa?
The Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (ASPASA) is a voluntary membership, private sector producers association.
Aspasa is a member of the Chamber of Mines, but represents those companies that are in the business of producing aggregate and sand and is better known for operating quarries, sand pits and crushing operations. Aspasa stands on its own, even though a member of the Chamber.
Aspasa represents its members in regard to policy positions, through various organs of the National and Provincial Governments. Contact and interactions also takes place with other relevant policy-making and opinion – forming entities. Contact is kept with other similar associations overseas.
To achieve the industry’s needs properly, regulation and control is required with particular emphasis on:
The control of borrow-pits is not yet optimal. Commercial quarries are dumping suitable material, which is being supplied by nearby borrow-pits.
The granting of commercial licences does not consider density or the cumulative impact.
The support that Aspasa gives its members is on the strategic and advisory sides of business. A great deal f work is put into promoting the industry and the association to the outside world, but also to ensure interaction among other companies/producers in the industry. Consultation and co-operation within Aspasa occurs on a voluntarily basis and does not encroach on the managerial prerogative of individual companies.
A wide range of services through working committees is supported which render services and advice to members. Certain aspects of business are focused on as it has found that companies do not always have the resources and manpower to deal with these on a day to day basis. Aspects that Aspasa cover are:
Health and Safety advice and the ISHE program; (Initiating Safety, Health, Education) Environmental advice; guidance and the About Face RAS audit program: Education and training advice through the involvement in CLAS (Cement, Lime, Aggregate and Sand); the Human Resources Committee; Technical advice and guidance through the very effective Technical Committee; Legislation advice, sharing of changes and representation of new bills, regulations and codes of practice, and various other aspects.
Aspasa is run through an Executive Council and managed by a Management Committee, directing, supporting and guiding the Aspasa Director, who is a full time employee.
Aspasa is striving for clarity and certain principles to be developed to ensure the sustainability of the industry:-
A sound and comprehensive regulator authority
A financially sound and sustainable industry
An environmentally responsible industry
An empowering and developing industry
An industry that embraces the transformation imperatives
Environmental implications of Quarrying
There is a wide range of potential environmental effects caused by quarries. Such impacts may arise during the development stage (e.g. earth stripping operations) or may endure throughout the life of the quarry, possibly over several decades. The impact can be permanent, even after closure and decommissioning, unless carefully planned rehabilitation is undertaken. Ancillary developments, such as concrete manufacturing, also may have significant impacts which need to be addressed at the outset, so that the cumulative effects from the site might be assessed.
The principal environmental impacts which tend to occur, and relevant possible mitigation measures are set out below.
Noise and vibration
Extractive industries are associated with many noise-generating activities – removal of topsoil and overburden, excavation with machinery, drilling and blasting of rock, crushing and screening of aggregates, transport of raw materials and finished products within the site and on public roads, etc.
Blasting (which occurs at quarries, but not in sand and gravel pits) can give rise to vibration, audible noise, flyrock and dust. The levels of vibration caused by blasting are well below those which can cause structural damage to properties, Nonetheless, vibration transmitted through the ground and pressure waves through the air (“air overpressure”) can shake buildings and people and may cause nuisance. Audible noise accompanies overpressure.
Noise can cause annoyance, nuisance, sleep disturbance and can also affect wildlife. Residential properties, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, churches, etc, are also noise-sensitive receptors.
Best practice/possible mitigation measures
The nearer a site to noise-sensitive properties or area, the more stringent should be the controls on noise emissions. There are several methods of noise control:
These guidelines are not intended to deal with health and safety issues associated with blasting (such as flyrock) as these are the responsibility of the Authority, i.e. DMR. It is vital that quarry owners/operators comply with Health and Safety codes and with any recommendations for safety made by DMR Inspectors. The Mine Health and Safety Act, and the related Regulations on quarry operations are designed to protect those working in quarries, those visiting quarries and members of the public in the immediate vicinity of quarries, who could be endangered by the operation of quarries.
Dust deposition/air quality
As in the case of noise, there are numerous sources of dust generation within quarries, including the stripping if topsoil, the excavation of sand and gravel, the crushing and screening of aggregates, ancillary activities such as concrete mixing, and the transport of sand, gravel and finished products (point emissions). Wind can carry dust particles well beyond the site boundaries, and fine materials from lorries can be deposited along public roads (fugitive emissions).
Residents living in proximity to quarries can potentially be affected by dust up to 0.5km from the source, although continual or severe concerns about dust are most likely to be experienced within about 100m of the dust source. The main potential impacts of dust are visual impacts, coating/soiling of property (including housing, washing, and cars), coating vegetation, contamination of soils, water pollution, change in plant species composition, loss of sensitive plant species, increased inputs of mineral nutrients and altered pH balances. Respirable particles, i.e. those less than 10 micrometers in diameter, have the potential to cause effects on human health, depending on exposure levels.
Best practice/possible mitigation measures
The first step is to try to prevent dust creation at source. Where practicable, earth stripping or moving should not be carried out in periods of dry and windy weather unless suitable mitigation measures are implemented, and dust should be prevented from escaping from enclosed equipment by means of filters or other appropriate means. As far as possible, dust-generating activities should be located away from dust-sensitive land uses. Such activities should be placed in areas where maximum protection can be obtained from topography, woodland or other features, or in areas where prevailing winds will blow dust away from sensitive area/uses.
Mitigation measures include:
It is not generally feasible to transport sand and stone over long distances as a result of their low value-to-weight ratio. However even traffic within the site and on adjoining public roads can give rise to potential adverse effects. Heavy goods vehicles can cause noise, exhaust fumes, vibration and dust. Additional traffic generated by the development may cause congestion, particularly on rural roads in the vicinity of the site and is a frequent source of concern to local residents.
Best practice/possible mitigation measures:
Some related mitigation measures (e.g. in relation to noise and dust) have been outlined above. Specific traffic-related measures may include:
What is Community Engagement?
Community engagement involves interactions between identified groups of people and involves processes that are linked to problem solving or decisions making where community input is used to make better decisions.
Communities, therefore, should not be engaged to obtain consensus or agreement about a predetermined position. In such instances it is not engagement that is occurring but, rather a public relations exercise where information is distributed. Community engagement involves a decision that is yet to be made over which the community can have some influence.
The value in engaging positively and constructively around a decision yet to be made allows the community to feel that they have been heard, are comfortable with the process and the basis on which a decision has been made. This is further enhanced if there are good relationships between all parties to allow for more informed decision making capacity and to improve outcomes for all those involved.
Effective community engagement depends on mutual trust, respect and effective communication between industry and the community. Community engagement can be considered a “live” process that may need to change or evolve as projects develop; it also needs to be flexible and transparent in order to respond to community needs. Therefore, the engagement approach taken by a licensee will vary according to the nature of the project, the level of impact and degree of community interest.
Who are the community?
The members of a community with whom industry interacts can be broad and diverse. It usually involves the local community surrounding the project and will vary depending on who is affected and their interest in the project.
What is consultation?
Consultation is a form of community engagement and consultation can be regarded as a two-way communication process between the licensee and the community. It involves the licensee seeking, listening to and considering community feedback that may be useful in its decision making process. It does not mean that mutual agreement about decisions has to be reached but, rather, acknowledges that better decisions by industry are likely to be made through community input.
Consultation also provides the opportunity for exploration and mining licence holders to be aware of community’s attitudes and expectations.
Purpose of Community Committee
The purpose of a community committees are to provide a forum for open discussion between representatives of the company’, the community, the council and other stakeholders on issues directly relating to the quarry operations, environmental performance and community relations and to keep the community informed on these matters.
The committee provides a forum to:
The committee may:
The Members of the Committee
The membership of the committee could comprise :
The representatives of the company are part of the committee. Government agencies will not be represented on the membership of the committee. Government agencies could however attend committee meetings as needed and at the request of the committee.
The role of the chairperson is to be convenor, facilitator, mediator and advisor for the committee. They should undertake their role in an independent manner and refrain from perceptions of bias either for or against the company or any individual or group of representatives on the committee.
Selection criteria for a chairperson are:
Timing and Location of Meetings
The committee shall determine the frequency of its meetings. It is suggested that the committee meet at least four times per annum.
Any member may request that the chairperson convene an extraordinary meeting of the committee to discuss any matter warranting urgent consideration. The Chairperson shall determine whether an extraordinary meeting is warranted.
At least four weeks’ notice must be given to all members of any meeting of the committee (except extraordinary meetings where two weeks’ notice can be given). Meetings should be held at a time and place generally convenient to the committee.
The company shall provide facilities for committee meetings, if required to do so by the committee.
The chairperson shall convene and chair meetings of the committee. Meetings of the committee should follow good meeting practice. The committee may agree to adopt any particular set of standard meeting practices if it wishes to do so. As the committee is not a decision making body, it is not a requirement that consensus be reached on issues discussed.
The chairperson shall determine the agenda items. Any member may propose a matter for inclusion on the agenda, either before or during a meeting, providing the matter is within the purpose of the committee. The chairperson should ensure that issues of concern raised by community representatives on behalf of the community are properly considered. Late items may be deferred to a following meeting.
The committee may decide to undertake its regular inspections of the quarry operations in conjunction with its meetings, or at other times convenient to it.
The meeting agenda items would normally include:
Minutes of Meetings
Minutes are to be kept of all meetings of the committee. The Minutes shall record issues raised and actions to be undertaken, who is responsible for taking those actions and by when. If a member so requests, then the Minutes shall record that member’s dissenting views on any matter.
The Minutes are normally to be recorded by the company. The Minutes are to be distributed to all members. The company shall ensure that a copy of the Minutes is made available on the company’s website and in another public place agreed to by the committee within 28 days of each meeting. The minutes must be endorsed by the chairperson prior to them being distributed or placed on the company’s website.
Meetings can only be tape-recorded with agreement of the chairperson and the committee.
Conduct of Members
In meetings of the committee and when otherwise involved in the business and activities of the committee, members and alternate representatives shall, to the best of their abilities:
The chairperson should bring any breach of these requirements to the attention of the persons concerned. The chairperson may similarly request the replacement of any member who fails to attend committee meetings for more than 12 months (or four meetings, if more than four committee meetings are held in any period of 12 months).
Pecuniary and other Interests
Members should declare any pecuniary or other interest which may be considered to prevent them undertaking their role impartially and in the best interests of the local and broader communities. Examples include holding a private contract with the company or holding voluntary acquisition rights. These guidelines establish no requirement in respect of personal interests other than declaration. However, the committee may determine that a personal interest is sufficient that a member should withdraw from discussion on a particular issue.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMPANY
The company shall regularly provide the committee with timely, accurate and comprehensive reports on the quarry operations and performance on its environmental management and community relations. The company shall also provide the committee with copies of relevant information.
The company shall consult with the committee if it intends to seek amendments to conditions of approval, to change operational requirements, or to expand the operations of the mine.
The company shall respond in a timely fashion to any questions or advise the committee may give it concerning the mine�s environmental performance or community relations. The company shall forward to each committee member within 28 days of the committee�s meeting:
The company shall organise regular inspections of the mine for the committee. The frequency of inspections is to be determined by the committee, but the inspections should usually be undertaken in conjunction with committee meetings. In addition, the company shall accommodate any reasonable request by the chairperson for the committee to undertake additional inspections, providing at least 48 hours notice has been given to the company by the chairperson.
What principals support community engagement committee
These guidelines recommend the following principles based on best practice
Commitment is demonstrated when the need to understand , engage and identify the community is undertaken early in the process.
Integrity occurs when engagement is conducted in a manner that fosters mutual respect and trust.
Respect is created when the rights, cultural beliefs, values and interests of the community in the land and waters within or surrounding the mining project area are recognised,
Transparency is demonstrated when community concerns are responded to in a timely, open and effective manner.
Inclusiveness is achieved when a diverse representation of community and broad participation is encouraged and supported by appropriate participation opportunities.
Trusting relationships are built through exploring community values and interests and finding common ground.
Good Communication is achieved when open and meaningful dialogue is carried out an processes established to allow this to occur.
Build trust by establishing processes to record and disseminate information on how community feedback contributed to decision making.
Managing differences in community engagement expectations
Sometimes the needs and wants from the community regarding the engagement process will differ from what the quarry owner can or is willing to provide. To reduce the risk of differences in expectations, quarry owners must be clear about why they are engaging with the community and what they hope to achieve.
One way to manager a difference in engagement expectations is to develop a statement about a decision to be made. The statement needs to:
A well constructed statement will also assist in getting the most from the engagement process.
Engaging with the community at an early stage, and establishing good communication channels and clear messages will also assist to manage differences in expectations.
Decide on what the community can be engaged in
The size, diversity and local conditions of mining projects will inevitably contribute to different opportunities for community input and involvement. Identifying what aspects of the project the community can and cannot have input into, early in the process, can also assist in choosing the most appropriate type of engagement method around that issue and help to manage expectations.
Negotiable decisions or issues are those that the community can have some impact or influence on. Once identified, negotiable should be clarified with a statement about the intent and issues to be dealt with and details of what the community are being asked to participate in and why. Negotiations may include operating hours, environmental issues, public access to land, transport routes, use of mining equipment, use of vacant land for grazing, potential employment opportunities and sponsorship opportunities.
Non-negotiable decisions or issues are those that do not require community input or where community input is unable to be used. For example commercial in confidence issues. The licensee should, however, inform the community on issues that impact them throughout the decision-making process.
If the quarry preference is to inform the community, they will need to understand the problem or issues from the community�s point of view in order to provide balanced and objective information. This requires the quarry to think through issues such as:
What are the community�s values, concerns, attitudes and aspirations?
What are the community�s expectations in regards to balanced and objective information?
What is the best way to communicate with the community?
What might the community need in order to have confidence in the information we are providing.
What are the main messages going to be?
Once questions like these are answered, the quarry can communicate information about the scope of the decision or issue, what is know about it, how the decision will be made, what alternatives there might be and what the preferred solution is. The decision �making process although not-negotiable then becomes transparent because the quarry is letting the community know what they will do and how they will do it.
How to provide information to the community
Information provision can be proactive and can include one-off communications, such as brochures and media releases. It can also be responsive, for example, replies to questions from the community, direct contact or community education sessions or meetings.
The information provided to the community should be balanced, objective and communicated in plain language, free of technical jargon. There may also be a need to provide information (in summary form) in relevant languages other than English, depending on the cultural background of the community members or groups affected.
Registering, documenting and responding to feedback and complaints
Having a system in place to respond to feedback and complaints acknowledges the importance of complaints and assures the community that concerns are being investigated.
An effective, fair and accessible feedback and complaint handling practice will increase community satisfaction. There are many benefits to handling complaints effectively, including a reduction in mistake and time spent fixing them, an improved business reputation and a greater understanding of the community�s needs.
Being open to receiving complaints or feedback means that the process for lodging a complaint must be easy. This may include establishing a dedicated phone line, email address or the opportunity to lodge feedback on the licensee�s website. Feedback isn�t always negative. It is a way of finding out what the licensee is doing wrong, but it can also highlight areas where the licensee is performing well.
The review of complaints monthly or quarterly is recommended, as this will enable the licensee to see how the business/project can improve an in what areas.
While not all complaints can be solved to the satisfaction of the complainant, it is in the best interest of the licensee to respond positively where there is a sound basis.
The complainant should be informed of any corrective actions that occur as a result of the complaint.
COMMUNITY COMPLAINTS FORM
Send to : Company/Quarry details
Quarry/Company details: __________________________________________________________
Complainants contact details:
Name : ______________________________________________________________
Address : ______________________________________________________________
Contact Numbers: (Tel) _________________________ (Cell) ___________________________
(Fax) _________________________ (Email) _________________________
The issue complaining about:
Action Taken: _______________________________________________________________________________________
Date Resolved: ______________________________
Appendix : Glossary technical terms
Some of these terms have been used in the Guidelines, whereas others may occur in other documentation.
Aggregates: A granular product obtained by processing natural materials. It may be sand or gravel produced by natural disintegration of rock, or it may be manufactured by passing rock through a series of crushers.
Aggregate reserve: That part of an overall aggregate resource considered producible at a profit at the time of classification.
Air Overpressure: A pressure wave in the atmosphere produced by the detonation of explosives, consisting of both audible (noise) and inaudible (concussion) energy.
Aquifer: A permeable geological formation which is capable of storing and yielding water.
Asphalt: A natural or artificial mixture in which bitumen is associated with a substantial proportion of mineral matter.
Backfilling: Placement of material into worked-out lands in order to recreate a usable land surface.
Bench: A working level in a quarry.
Berm: Se under �Bund�
Blast (face) profiling: Profiling of quarry faces to ensure proper alignment of blast holes and avoidance of problems associated with inadequate or excessive overburden.
Bund: An extended mound of soils, overburden or structure erected as a barrier to sigh, sound or water. (In environmental parlance, the terms �berm� and �bund� are often used synonymously).
Clay: (i) A specific group of layered silicate materials. (ii) Particles of size less than 2mm forming rock.
Decibels (dB): Measurement of sound. When measuring environmental noise, a weighting network is used which filters the frequency of sound, and is expressed as dB(A). Normal hearing covers the frequency range from about 20Hz to 20 000Hz but sensitivity is greatest between 500Hz and 5 000Hz. The �A-weighting� in noise meters mimics this characteristic of human hearing. The decibel scale is logarithmic. This means that if two machines emit exactly the same noise level (say 80dB(A), the total noise is 83dB(A) and not 160dB(A). It also means that 10dB(A) increase in sound level represents a doubling of loudness. A change of 3Db(A) is the minimum perceptible under normal conditions. A noise level of zero represents absolute silence, whereas a level of 140dB(A) would cause ear pain.
Dimension stone: A natural stone product that has been cut or fashioned to a particular size and shape.
Dust: Any solid matter emanating from mineral/aggregate working, or from ancillary plant and vehicles, which is borne by the air. Dust particles can vary in size from 1 to 75 micrometers (microns). Dust is produced at minerals/aggregates extraction sites mainly through the action of crushing and abrasive forces on minerals/aggregates.
Flyrock: Fragments of rock propelled into the air by a blasting explosion to any area beyond the designated danger zone.
Fragmentation: A term associated with hard rock quarrying to describe the degree of mechanical breakdown produced by blasting.
Hertz (Hz: Unit of frequency of a sound.
Impulsive Noise: A noise which is of short duration (typically less than one second), the sound pressure level of which is significantly higher than the background.
Overburden: Rock, soil which is of no commercial value, overlying the valuable stone. (Overburden has the potential to adversely affect the quality of aggregate produced unless specific measures are provided for its removal prior to the extraction of rock).
Safety bench: The width of the horizontal rock surface at a given level. Benches are also usually left between the final vertical faces to catch falling rocks.
Sand: In size classification, sand is a granular material in the size range 0.06mm to 2mm.
Screen: A particle-sizing devise like a sieve, consisting of a surface which is perforated with holes of a certain size and shape. Screening is a sizing operation using a screen.
Slurry: A suspension of mineral particles in water.