Imerys British Lithium is dedicated to ensuring full compliance with all anti-bribery and corruption laws and regulations, including the UK Bribery Act 2010. Its Anti-Bribery Policy extends to all the company’s business dealings and transactions, in all countries in which it or its subsidiaries and associates operate. An associate includes subcontractors, joint venture partners and agents.
Imerys British Lithium expects its employees to demonstrate honesty, integrity and fairness in all aspects of their business dealings and exercise appropriate standards of professionalism and ethical conduct in all their activities. No employee, associate or agent shall pay bribes or offer improper inducements to anyone for any purpose, nor do we or will we, accept bribes or improper inducements.
Facilitation payments are commonly small payments made to secure or speed up routine actions – usually by public officials, such as issuing permits, immigration controls, providing services or releasing goods held in customs. It is also our policy that we work to ensure that our agents and other intermediaries, joint ventures and consortia, contractors and suppliers do not make facilitation payments on our behalf.
Health, safety, environment and community
Imerys British Lithium firmly believes that creating a culture of safety and enforcing health and safety compliance results in the prevention of risks and hazards, enhances the working environment, and leads to improved productivity. Our top priority is ensuring that the personal health and safety of every employee, contractor, client, visitor, and the local community comes first.
Statement on sustainability
Imerys British Lithium subscribes to IFC’s Sustainability Framework and is committed to sustainable development and risk management. The Sustainability Framework comprises IFC’s Policy and Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability which provide guidance on how to identify risks and impacts and are designed to help avoid, mitigate, and manage risks and impacts as a way of doing business in a sustainable way, including stakeholder engagement and disclosure obligations in relation to project-level activities.
There are environmental challenges for the existing two major sources of lithium; mining salt lakes in the fragile “lithium triangle” of South America and remote hard-rock mines in Western Australia (which now account for 60% of global supply).
The extraction of lithium from brines requires a large amount of fresh water in the process. In the areas where the salars of South America occur, fresh water supplies are scarce leading to “water conflicts” between the brine mineral extraction industry and traditional farming. Production has negative effects on the local environment including pollution from the large PVC lined ponds used to evaporate the brine, which leak substances like lime and organotin to the fragile environment.
The hard rock mins in WA are centred in the remote Pilbara and south-west WA and currently produce a 6% spodumene concentrate to be shipped to China. Two refineries are under construction in Perth, however these are thousands of kilometres from the mine site requiring haulage of spodumene concentrate by diesel lorries and haulage of tailings back to the mine site. Remote power from diesel generators adds to the carbon footprint. There are no users of lithium in Australia so product must be shipped long distances to markets. Spodumene typically occurs in narrow veins requiring a large strip ratio. Metallurgical recoveries by floatation are typically low and use large amounts of chemicals. Spodumene is roasted at 1,200 degrees followed by a 250-degree sulphuric acid roast.