By Gela Megeneishvili
Being the outlier in implementing cutting-edge technologies and ensuring environmentally friendly business operations, RMG has accumulated a vast resume for green projects and initiatives. The FINANCIAL reached out to Sandro Devidze, Deputy Environmental Director.
Q. How would you evaluate the company’s environmental performance so far? And From your experience, how has the environmental state shifted within the last decade?
A. We believe that supporting the development of the green economy stands as a crucial priority, both for businesses and our country.
Since 2017, we have started implementing a 100-step environmental program, which was completed in 2022, with the total investment amounting to 30 million GEL. One of our accomplishments is the completion of three fully-operational modern chemical treatment facilities, that clean the water generated in the enterprise operations and ensure the safe discharge of the purified water into the river.
In addition to the water protection measures, we have minimized the emission of dust and harmful substances into the atmosphere and initiated the protocol for soil protection and reclamation. For the first time in the last decade, the company has reclaimed and rehabilitated one of the quarries located in our license area.
Ultimately, the analysis of the past 5-6 years reveals that the effects of our environmental projects are dynamic and noticeable. This is confirmed by the results of the state inspection, as for the first time in the last decade, the inspection of the activities of RMG Gold (in the quartzite area), showed not a single violation of the environmental legislation and requirements. The company’s results are recognized by various credible groups that constantly monitor our environmental performance. The results have been outstanding, however, we are keeping our aims high and continue to initiate numerous new interesting projects related to the environment.
Q. What are the major priorities in your working area?
A. Environmental protection stands as the major priority for our company, therefore, after the implementation of the 100-step program, we have moved to a new stage. By the end of 2022, the company will have implemented the new environmental policy document that will help guide our activities in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Together with the state, the business has a significant role in achieving the goals set for 2030.
Additionally, by the end of 2022, we will join the UN Global Compact Network Georgia and partake in the important initiative that proves that responsible business activities, cooperation, and innovation can make a difference both in our sector and in society.
The new policy aims to encourage green procurement as much as possible, therefore the company will continue to promote local entrepreneurship, especially the Bolnisi winemaking and women entrepreneurship.
Q. What do you think is RMG’s communication with the public regarding environmental and new projects, and their feedback?
A. We proactively provide information to the public about all of our projects. The environmental monitoring results are consistently published on our website. According to numerous non-governmental sector representatives, the public hearings for the local community regarding our projects meet the highest standards.
We firmly believe that transparency and partnership are essential for the sustainable development of our company.
Q. What are the plans for the future and upcoming projects?
A. At RMG, we believe that that path of progress can only be paved through constant upgrades, therefore we have initiated an unprecedented scale of investment in upgrading the company’s infrastructure and introducing new technologies. There are several important projects in that regard. The first is the complete renovation/modernization of the RMG’s copper processing plant built in the 1970s, while the other is the construction of a new Tailings Storage Facility The new TSF project is based on the strictest requirements of modern international, environmental, and safety standards. Within the project framework, we have planned several environmental initiatives, including forest restoration. And lastly, I would like also to mention the project of the new modern polymetallic ore processing plant, which will be completed in 2023.
All these projects were developed with the assistance of leading international consulting companies, including Finnish and Canadian companies. In the end, modernized technologies will help the company to ensure rational processing of natural resources with minimal impact on the environment, as well as saving energy.
Our activity is important both for the 3700 company employees and for the economic development of the Region and the Country. The vision of the RMG team is that it is all beneficial when the company has a high environmental and social responsibility.