Companies honoured with environmental awards

Three companies have been commended for their efforts in sustainable development and environmental protection. The materials technology group Umicore was awarded the Belgian Prize for the Best Sustainable Development Report for the year 2005. Michelago and Golden China Resources have been awarded the Mining Environmental Protection Award together at the inaugural China Mining 2006 awards ceremony.

The competition for the Belgian Prize for the Best Sustainable Development Report was organized by the Belgian Instituut der Bedrijfsrevisoren/Institut des Reviseurs d’Entreprises (IBR-IRE) with the help of Business & Society Belgium. The jury, composed of members of the IBR-IRE sustainability working group as well as external experts, made its selection based on a wide range of criteria, including verifiability, relevance, clarity and reliability. It also looked at actual performance, vision and strategy, management systems and stakeholder relationships, as well as public commitment by senior management to its economic, social and environmental goals.

Following the award, Thomas Leysen, CEO of Umicore, commented, “We consider this to be a welcome recognition of our continuing efforts to strive towards sustainability. Umicore last year actually stopped publishing separate reports on its sustainability performance, opting instead to include the economic, social and environmental elements of its business into one comprehensive document. We feel our Report to Shareholders and Society reflects the true spirit of sustainable development.”

The Mining Environmental Protection Award was given to Australia-based Michelago and Canada-based Golden China for the demonstration of outstanding initiative, leadership, innovation and accomplishment in the interest of sustainable development at the BioGold production facility in China’s Shandong Province.

“I am thrilled to accept this honour on behalf of everyone who helped make the BioGold facility what it is today,” said Peter Secker, Michelago’s Technical Director of the facility. “Needless to say, environmental sustainability is a key world issue and we are very proud of our efforts to this end, as responsible corporate citizens.”

Michelago and Golden China are in the process of a business combination. Although the combination is not yet complete, Golden China has provided funding for Michelago and the BioGold facility. As a result, the award was presented to both companies at the 2006 China Mining Conference in Beijing. The Shandong BioGold plant is the most environmentally advanced processing facility in China, capable of processing highly refractory arsenic gold ores, meeting world environmental standards.

The BioGold facility uses the patented, proprietary BACOX+ bioleaching technology, for which it has acquired the ten year rights in China, Mongolia, Siberia and Korea. In addition to the bacterial oxidation plant, the BioGold facility includes a cyanide leach plant, a base metal flotation circuit, 51% of a gold refinery and a seat on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the only such seat held by a foreign firm. The facility currently purchases gold concentrates from a number of mining operations and produces about 120,000 oz/y of 99.99% gold bullion.