Euromax Resources is committed to incorporating sustainable development in every aspect of our business, from the moment we identify a possible exploration site all the way to the mine’s eventual closure.
Operating in a socially and environmentally responsible way, and earning and deserving the trust of our stakeholders, are fundamental to our strategy of embedding sustainable practice into every aspect of our activities.
Our approach to responsible mining is implemented through technically robust operations, environmentally sound practices, and socially proactive initiatives. Mining is a complex industry, and the sustainability challenges that need to be managed are highly dependent upon the political, social, and environmental context of each project. A further layer of complexity to consider is related to the separate stages of the Mining Life Cycle.
Euromax’s approach to Sustainability at each stage of the Mining Life Cycle is outlined below:
1) During Exploration we will:
• Identify and, avoid, minimise or mitigate against possible social and environmental impacts
• Establish advantageous community relations with local peoples and governments
• Ensure all employees and contractors are considerate of potential social and environmental impacts
• Establish grievance mechanisms for all relevant stakeholder groups to be affected for the life of the mine
• Identify projects that will maximise the production life of mining facilities
2) During the Feasibility Study and Engineering Design Phase of each project we will:
• Conduct comprehensive and independent social and environmental baseline studies as part of our Environmental and Social Impact Assessment processes
• Ensure environmental and social issues are integrated with project design, and mitigation measures are designed accordingly
• Produce ESIA documentation that addresses both local requirements and those of Equator Principles III (EPIII)
• Implement systematic public consultation programmes to outline potential impacts to local communities and to understand their concerns, respecting local requirements and sensitivities
• Disseminate and manage grievance mechanisms and ensure they are fully understood
• Hold discussions with host governments on issues such as infrastructure, development, and security
• Ensure the effective implementation of cross-border assessments and co-operation when necessary
• Plan for mine closure, and review this plan regularly
• Develop a waste management plan which minimizes, mitigates, and manages impacts on the environment and surrounding communities
3) Prior to or during Construction we will:
• Ensure sufficient financial resources are set aside to meet closure obligations
• Work with local communities to provide training for relevant skillsets
• Launch a recruitment process prioritising directly affected communities and ensure that our contractors adhere to this
• Encourage the development of locally based business to provide goods and services to the mine
• Develop a procurement strategy prioritising local suppliers and ensure that our contractors adhere to this
• Implement an Environmental and Social Management Plan, designed to address identified impacts on social and environmental media for the life of the mine – for example, air quality, water management and biodiversity
• Increase communications with local communities through our Information Centres
• Provide funding for carefully selected community development projects and monitor their outcomes
• Optimise planning and development of all aspects of our projects for the benefit of our wider stakeholder base
• Offer retraining programmes for transition from construction to operational phase where appropriate
4) During Operation we will:
• Implement a wider community development plan agreed upon with local communities
• Ensure respect for workplace rights, employee development and a healthy and safe workplace
• Give priority to training and employment from nearby communities, followed by host country nationals
• Continue the environmental and social monitoring of our activities
• Progressively rehabilitate disturbed areas as they are no longer required for operations
• Continue exploration to extend the life of the mine where feasible
• Review closure planning during the life of the operation
5) During and at Closure we will:
• Implement land remediation and reclamation, utilizing appropriate plant species as determined in baseline studies, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and reclamation trials during operation
• Ensure closure of mine facilities will provide long term chemical and physical stability
• Ensure economic and social infrastructure is in place to maintain the long term sustainability of the communities
• Put into practice viable economic strategies (such as extra training for local people previously employed at the mine) in order to enable alternative employment and ensure financial support to start alternate livelihoods
• Where possible, transfer infrastructure to local ownership
We consider the health and safety of employees, contractors, and local communities to be a priority. Euromax will ensure that our employees are trained and motivated to adhere to the highest levels of health and safety, while minimizing any risk to the health and safety of our employees, contractors and communities by building upon a culture of taking responsibility for actions.
We believe working toward a policy of zero harm at each of our operations.Zero harm entails eliminating physical injuries from the workplace, while consistently and proactively engaging in the safest behaviours and practices possible. Through these efforts, we will ensure our employees and contractors are more aware of safety risks, their role in safety and the power they have as individuals to integrate safety into everything we do.
Our projects promote the use of best industry practice throughout the planning and development of our projects, and also implement Best Available Techniques (BAT) for construction and mining methods as we near production. We will monitor, or require to be monitored, all sites to ensure they are meeting occupational health standards, including appropriate regulations on gaseous pollution, noise levels, dust, thermal stress and ergonomics.
Euromax’s approach to Responsible Mining focuses on six key areas:
We share the natural environment with local communities and ecosystems, and accept the environmental and social responsibility this incurs.Meeting the challenge of environmental management equates to operational efficiency and using best industry practices through each stage of the Mining Life Cycle.
Our aim is to implement the highest standards of environmental performance and management and to minimise our environmental footprint through the efficient use of natural resources, reduction, reuse and recycling of waste, and by contributing to the conservation of biodiversity.
Key aspects of our environmental programme will include:
- • Compliance with host country laws and EU regulations where applicable
- • Application of international guidance and management practices, such as IFC Performance Standards and the Equator Principles
- • Collaboration with concerned stakeholders concerning the implementation of standards and control systems during all stages of the Mining Life Cycle
- • Scientifically rigorous baseline environmental and social studies, impact and risk assessments and associated mitigation strategies
- • Appointment of appropriately qualified employees, and engaging with national and internationally recognized environmental, social and risk consultants to ensure compliance with best practice
- • Collaborative design of mitigation measures with project engineers, and the integration of environmental and social mitigation measures into project design
- • Implementation and regular monitoring and adjustment of environmental management procedures and systems (the Plan Do Check Act cycle)
- • The development of emergency preparedness and response plans at the mine site and in proximate communities
Ilovica-Shtuka Environmental Studies
With small-scale farming the main industry in the Ilovitza region we see the protection of surface and ground waters of the utmost importance. Euromax will develop its project using modern techniques that mitigate against possible environmental impact whilst ensuring that the operation meets with both Macedonian and EU regulations.
The environmental monitoring systems that we have put in place allowed us to manage our environmental footprint and continually operate within all regulatory guidelines. We carried out a series of environmental baseline studies that allowed a complete understanding of the environment in which we operate.
Euromax aims to maximise local development by empowering communities, and to act with the highest ethical standards when managing the wellbeing and prosperity of host communities. The overall objective of our socio-economic development programme will be to improve the opportunities, benefits, and quality of life for our local employees, their families and immediate communities. In order to achieve these objectives, Euromax will engage in a range of sustainable development and community relations activities.
Key aspects of our socio-economic development programme will include:
• Supporting local communities and continually seeking to contribute to sustainable development
• Procurement of goods and services locally where possible • Developing employment strategies that will improve and enhance socio-economic opportunities
• Assessing and manage the socio-economic impacts of our activities and operations • In consultation and conjunction with the relevant providers, supporting the improvement of infrastructure and basic services in our communities, such as roads, housing, water, electricity, and other services
• Improving education infrastructure and services
• Consideration of the needs of vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, in our communities
• Using local skills to support our community development programmes
Community Development & Stakeholder Engagement
At Euromax, we see community development through actively engaging with host communities fundamental to the success of our business. We are committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which we operate and to invest our resources, both in financial and non-financial means such as our advice and expertise in order to positively contribute to the economic and social development of host communities.
We will listen to the needs of affected stakeholders and communities, and be responsive in order to promptly and effectively mitigate against any possible negative impacts and build a reputation based on mutual trust, transparency and ethical business practices.
Part of our approach is to engage with local communities, NGOs, governments, municipal representatives and other local stakeholder groups, facilitated by the opening of the Ilovica Information Centre which is run by local Euromax representatives.
Located in the heart of Ilovica villages, this hub was opened specifically for members of the local community to learn about our projects, ask questions about the nature of our operations and to air any concerns.
Euromax fosters awareness of human rights issues among its employees and plans to actively safeguard the protection of human rights among its contractors and sub-contractors as our operations develop.
At the core of our business strategy is a commitment to ethical business practice and transparency through dialogue with relevant stakeholders and civil society. While the duty to protect human rights rests with governments, businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, by acting with due diligence to avoid harming people and addressing adverse impacts with which they are involved. We plan to follow the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, a multi-stakeholder initiative which will guide our strategy in conducting a comprehensive human rights risk assessment to ensure human rights are respected in host countries.
Euromax will work with governments, suppliers and other business partners, as well as with the communities affected by our operations to ensure human rights issues are fully understood and properly managed.
Ethnic Tension in the Western Balkans
Our operations are located in the Western Balkan region, an area of South-Eastern Europe consisting of Albania, Bulgaria, and the former states of Yugoslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo). Since the decline of the Ottoman Empire there has been significant conflict in the Balkan region that culminated in the break up of Yugoslavia. In 1991 Macedonia declared its independence and Serbia in 2006 after splitting from Montenegro. Both Macedonia and Serbia are candidates for European Union (EU) accession whilst Bulgaria has been part of the EU since Jan 1st, 2007.
Despite their European Union (EU) aspirations, Macedonia, Serbia and neighbouring Kosovo have struggled with conflict and human rights abuses in recent years, and it is this legacy that has created significant challenges with regard to promoting human security and maintaining a comprehensive human rights-based approach. The Western Balkans region still faces a number of systematic security issues, particularly in the areas of statelessness, displaced persons, and ethnic and religious discrimination. Current ethnic tensions are accentuated by the precarious status of the Roma minority in Serbia and Bulgaria, as well as ethnic tensions that exist between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece and also with neighbouring Albania. These realities necessitate an inclusive human rights plan at Euromax’s projects, as we strive to imbed a cultural of equality opportunity, respect and tolerance among host communities and our people. While challenges in the area do remain, the region has made considerable progress in recent years.
The EU has recognized Croatia, Montenegro, the Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia as candidate countries, and Albania and Kosovo as potential candidates. As the governments and populations of these countries work toward EU integration, better standards in the area of human rights and security have followed. However, reforms must still be made to align national regulations of with those of the EU, as well as to provide for human security. At a national and local level, Euromax will look to ensure its plans are aligned with that of in-country agencies and relevant organizations so that we work to advance the security of citizens and society by upholding and necessitating a universal respect for human rights.
The economic contributions generated by our projects will not only have a positive direct economic effect, but will also create and aid in the accumulation of resources for the subsequent development of other industries due to the multiplier effects of mining. We will work with governments and local municipalities to ensure funds are reinvested into the local community as far as possible, thereby maximising the benefits of taxes and royalties paid at a local level.
Where necessary we will support local municipalities to develop plans for the sustainable use of these funds in developing infrastructure and services, including community led priorities.
In particular, unemployment levels surrounding Ilovica is well above the Macedonian averages. As our projects near the construction and operation phases, we will create many jobs through direct and indirect opportunities, and contribute toward sustainable long-term economic stability in each region. The vast majority of these employment opportunities will be extended to people from the local communities surrounding our operations.
We will also source goods and services from local businesses who have the capacity to support our operations, and work to ensure they can continue to do so as activities increase. Contractors and subcontractors will also be required to source staff, goods and services locally as far as possible.
Euromax’s direct economic contributions will include:
• Employee wages and benefits
• Taxes and royalties paid to governments and distributed to municipalities
• Purchases of goods and services from local and regional suppliers
• Use of local consultants and contractors
• Community initiatives and non-mining infrastructure development
A workforce with the proper skills, training, and experience is one of mining industry’s most basic and important needs. Euromax aims to attract and retain talented and innovative people at every level of our organization, as well as provide them with the resources and training they require to succeed. Our policy is to recruit local people wherever possible, and we will seek to ensure that our contractors and sub-contractors do the same.
By prioritising recruitment from those communities close to or affected by our operations, Euromax will build positive and long lasting relationships with host communities and enable an effective workforce and encourage succession planning. Promoting diversity within our workforce is an essential component of our labour & human resources principles, as well as a central aspect of operational labour practices and strategies in all phases of our project development. It is our policy to provide equal access to employment opportunities, and we will put in place meaningful support structures based on individual needs for those who may have been previously disadvantaged to enable every employee to realise their full potential.
Our commitment to promoting workforce diversity encompasses the extension of opportunities for women at all levels of our organisation, as well as providing appropriate opportunities for disabled employees. Euromax will not tolerate any form of unfair discrimination, inhumane treatment, child labour, or harassment in the workplace.