Situated on the north coast of South America, Suriname is rich in natural resources and has significant hydropower potential. Alcoa started operations in the country in 1916, and today we are the main supplier of bauxite, alumina, and hydro-energy in the country through our local subsidiary, Suriname Aluminum Company L.L.C. (Suralco).
In 2012, we continued our efforts to integrate sustainability and corporate social responsibility into our business practices in Suriname. Guiding this effort are Alcoa’s values, strategic sustainability targets, and global best practices. We also engage with The Bauxite Institute Suriname (BIS) and the National Institute for Environment and Development in Suriname (NIMOS) to promote sustainability throughout our industry and others.
We mine bauxite at various locations in the country and convert this into alumina at our 2.2-million-metric-tons-per-year refinery in Paranam. The alumina is sent to smelters for further processing into aluminum.
We also operate a dam and hydropower generation facility to provide power to our refinery and other operations. About 100 megawatts of electric-generating capacity at the facility are reserved for the Suriname government, meeting about 85% of the electricity needs of the country’s capital city of Paramaribo.
Our environmental strategy is aimed at minimizing the resources we consume and the environmental impacts that result from our mining and refining operations. In doing so, we comply with all Alcoa standards and Suriname legislation and guidelines.
A major activity in 2012 was a pilot project to develop and prove an innovative integrated closure planning (ICP) framework that helps ensure areas disturbed by mining are subject to a closure that will facilitate viable and sustainable future land use. We have targeted August 2013 for the completion of closure plans for three pilot sites, after which we will finalize the ICP framework and apply it to other mine sites. A separate process to determine completion criteria for mined-out lakes will continue in 2013.
Our direct greenhouse gas emissions decreased to 825,556 metric tons in 2012, primarily due to lower alumina production. This decline in production negatively impacted the intensities of our GHG emissions, energy, and freshwater use.
From 2011, our GHG emissions intensity increased from 0.67 to 0.69 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents per metric ton of alumina produced, and our energy intensity rose from 9.60 gigajoules to 9.69 gigajoules per metric ton of alumina produced.
While our freshwater-use intensity for our refining operations also increased over 2011, it improved 13.7% versus 2005 levels. We continue to be on pace to meet Alcoa’s 2020 goal of a 25% reduction.
We expanded the deployment of our waste segregation program in 2012, with departments identifying internal benchmarks. These efforts helped us achieve an 11% decrease in landfilled waste over 2011, which was better than our target.
Some of our other environmental achievements in 2012 included:
- Zero non-compliance events;
- A 50% reduction in environmental incidents since 2009;
- Improved water quality monitoring for wastewater discharged to the environment through the implementation of tighter controls at critical outfalls in the refinery;
- The successful rehabilitation of a sludge management system at Coermotibo; and
- The successful implementation of plans to reduce our footprint that included:
- Intensive engagement with the government of Suriname to return concessions no longer needed for our operations;
- An agreement with the government of Suriname to use the ICP framework for areas to be rehabilitated;
- The divestiture of non-strategic land to aid in our cash-flow position; and
- A reduction of open mine areas by using satellite imagery to review actual areas open.
Challenges remain, including reducing the number of environmental incidents in the refinery despite having a 37% improvement between 2011 and 2012. Achieving all of Alcoa’s global 2020 strategic sustainability targets also continues to be challenging, especially for landfilled waste. For CO2 emissions, we are trending toward exceeding the goal but can make further improvements.
Reducing our mercury emissions continues to be a significant challenge due to the unique richness of mercury in the bauxite we mine in Suriname. In 2012, we saw an 11% decrease in our mercury emissions intensity compared to 2011. We achieved this through the improved performance of our mercury-collection system.
We have installed mercury-control technology and will continue to optimize the process and work toward reducing these emissions.
||Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Million metric tons of CO2 equivalents
|Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Metric tons of CO2 equivalents
Millions of cubic meters
Thousands of metric tons
Health & Safety
An organizational restructuring made it necessary to review our health and safety processes to maintain our high level of employee engagement. Our activities focused on staffing health and safety teams and continuing to improve existing programs, which included:
- Fatality prevention;
- Use of AlcoaLearn for training on Alcoa’s nine critical safety areas;
- Health and safety leading indicators in the performance system;
- Risk notification process;
- Human performance error principles training;
- An improved crew pre-job discussion process;
- Further improvement of incident communication;
- Asbestos abatement; and
- Exposure assessment.
We achieved a significant improvement in our total recordable incident rate, which decreased 69% between 2011 and 2012. We also had a zero lost workday incident rate for the first time in six years.
Health & Safety Performance
|Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) Rate
We believe our people have a vital role in not only sustaining our business, but also responding to future business challenges.
Suriname has a rich history of bringing together many ethnic groups, and our target is to have a diverse, motivated, creative, and productive workforce that respects human rights, all laws, and national and local customs and cultures.
We continue to increase the role of women in our operations. At the end of 2012, three women were members of our management team, one was running our mining operations, and others served as department heads. In the field, women are given equal positions and opportunities.
In 2012, we had 56 people leave the company for various reasons, including early retirements and an organizational restructuring of departments due to economic conditions. We were able to implement this workforce reduction without any forced layoffs.
Our primary people challenge remains the growing demand for professionals in the country combined with a shortage of qualified people. We are vying for top talent with other companies, and we must take measures to continue to sustain our reputation as an employer of choice.
The retention of our existing workforce is equally important. In recent years, we have instituted expanded internal communication processes and increased communication between our leaders and the workforce.
While we do not yet have a local process to integrate sustainability into our supply chain, we require every supplier to comply with all laws and the Alcoa Supplier Standards. These standards set forth our expectations with respect to sound and responsible environmental, social, economic, and ethical business practices.
Our greatest challenge remains aligning our business needs with the needs and expectations of the communities in which we operate.
Our Suriname operations are located in six rural territories, and there are many differences in culture, language, education levels, and workforce skills. There is no single solution that fits the needs and challenges of each. As such, our community relations team intensified engagement with our stakeholders in these territories to establish and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship. We also have assigned a community relations officer to each community in which we operate to serve as the single point of contact.
We held talks with a wide range of key stakeholders in 2012, including the national government, local government, local businesses, community leaders, and community-based organizations. Major topics during these consultations included greenfield mining, brownfield mining, mine closure plans, and land use.
We conducted two local community surveys and the Alcoa Community Survey in 2012. The community surveys were area-specific and collected baseline data about Suralco-owned properties to determine the challenges and opportunities for the communities in these areas.
The Alcoa Community Survey, which we conduct annually, captured the opinions of key external stakeholders.
We used the feedback from these surveys to assess our current engagement and develop a community strategy plan, which outlines how we will engage with and/or improve our engagement with stakeholders.
One of the main outcomes was the need for an increase in both the number and transparency of information sessions regarding business decisions that impact the support communities are used to receiving from Suralco, such as infrastructure maintenance and transportation for schoolchildren. The Community Relations Department is setting up a stakeholders meeting schedule for 2013 to have regular and open communication with the communities.
Through Alcoa Foundation, we invested more than US$200,000 in the following community programs in 2012:
- The Caribbean Institute Suriname’s Transitioning to Organic Farming Systems program;
- Stichting Diabetes Educatie Suriname’s one-stop information center, where the public can obtain information about diabetes, health measurements, and possible treatment;
- Stuurgroep Ontwikkeling Cassave Sector’s business incubator and training for local women to become small entrepreneurs;
- Project National Fire Brigade’s initiative to train volunteers in fire prevention and fire-fighting techniques; and
- Upgrades to a classroom for local students requiring special education.
Through our various volunteer programs, our employees were able to make a difference in the communities where they live and work. During the 2012 Alcoa Month of Service, we achieved a record 62% employee participation rate.
In December 2012 at the 96th anniversary of Suriname’s bauxite industry, we provided Alcoa Foundation checks totaling US$159,250 to organizations that will implement a community project in 2013.
Employee Volunteer Hours
Key 2012 Stakeholder Issues
||Fewer job opportunities.
||We engaged with contracting companies and local governments to discuss job opportunities for local communities.
||Illegal occupation of Suralco land.
||We held discussions with the government to enforce small measures to mitigate the occupation. The vastness and sometimes remoteness of the areas are being considered for any planned management.