Exxaro Resources limited
Environmental, social and governance report 2021

Air quality

Air quality management is among our top priorities from an operational, social and regulatory perspective. Air quality impacts from opencast mining emanates from construction and vehicle activity on unpaved roads can impact air quality due to the release of pollutants, dust and other particulate matter, including PM10 and PM2.5. At our operations, this can impact visibility and pose safety, health and hygiene risks. We are responsible to our host communities to provide a dust-free environment. A fundamental responsibility of our licence to operate is managing air quality through complying with the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act, 2005 and other relevant regulations. Our pollution prevention plans also support Exxaro's goal to become carbon neutral, as they target a reduction in CO2 emissions linked to energy use.

We uphold our licence to operate through:

  • Atmospheric emission licence compliance
  • Pollution prevention plans
  • Maintaining 100% air quality monitoring and management
  • National atmospheric emissions inventory system reporting
  • Stakeholder engagement forums

We aim to go beyond compliance to provide a pollution-free environment for our people and communities.


Managing air quality ranges from our operational approach of prevention and mitigation, to engaging with communities. These measures include:

  • Proactive air quality management planning
  • Risk management
  • Monitoring, measuring and reporting via our air quality management system 
  • Mitigation through applying chemical dust suppressants on unpaved roads
  • Adhering to all applicable legislative requirements

Our air quality management system and systematic risk-based air quality management planning at our BUs ensure effective application of these measures, compliance with regulatory and stakeholder expectations, incorporation of future mine development changes and continuous reassessment. We conduct detailed reviews of our air quality impact assessments and air quality monitoring programmes at each BU.

We engage with our host communities to improve our stakeholders' air pollution awareness. This is presented through awareness and educational campaigns. In 2021, we embarked on improving stakeholder relations through increased engagements with interested and affected stakeholders at Matla and Leeuwpan to discuss air quality matters.

Exxaro has an AEL for the Grootegeluk reductants plant. As this plant is not operational, there is no performance reporting for disclosure. Furthermore, our renewable energy business's windfarm operations are not considered sources of atmospheric pollutants and therefore we currently do not monitor, measure or report air quality information for them.

Accountability and responsibility

The executive head: sustainability is responsible for setting our air quality policies, procedures and mechanisms. The mine manager is accountable for allocating capital, implementing projects and monitoring our impact.


Management objectives

Objectives Critical success factors Method Progress

Progressively reduce our air quality emissions within our operating boundary

Reduction in dust fallout and PM10 levels in all our operations

Dust fallout levels and PM10 concentrations reduced by applying best practice mitigation measures such as wet and chemical suppression of dust with continuous research and development of new dust suppression and air pollution mitigation technologies

A reduction in dust emissions in our operations with increased compliance with the residential and non-residential dust fallout limits

Initiatives and goals

We continued to implement our air quality initiatives, expanding our monitoring and improving our approach systematically. We maintain our target of monitoring 100% at all operations, while increasing our monitoring networks to cover as much area as possible, and to continuously increase the granularity of the data we collect. We installed multi-monitors at Grootegeluk to deepen our understanding of the mine's impact on the surrounding environment.

As per regulatory requirements, we actively measure dust and other particulates, given their materiality and impact on employees and communities. However, committed to going beyond compliance, we continuously evaluate our material air quality issues. We are currently investigating our capacity to monitor the broader spectrum of emissions, such as methane, sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), in real time. We determine and report methane as fugitive emissions using an empirical estimated method and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission factor for coal mining and handling.

Goal Target Progress
Continuous dust fallout monitoring at all BUs

100% of all operations

  • Maintained 100% monitoring at all BUs and greenfield projects
  • Monitored community-based dust fallout at Belfast, taking this goal beyond compliance
Initiating and continuously monitoring PM10 at all BUs

100% of all operations

  • Initiated PM10 monitoring at Grootegeluk and Belfast (not required at Matla, and we are not currently monitoring at Leeuwpan)
Meteorological monitoring to ensure availability of surface data for temperature, wind direction and wind speed (critical for dispersion modelling, baseline characterisation, ambient monitoring design, dust fallout monitoring and reporting, among others)

100% of all operations

  • Achieved our target of meteorological stations installed at all BUs in 2021. This allowed us to capture real time data on site which supports operational decisions and serves as an early warning system for climate change
Ensuring compliance with dust fallout limits and air quality standards

Level below the regulated levels

All BUs currently monitor dust fallout and PM10 and results are assessed for compliance with National Dust Control Regulations and National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM10

Air quality awareness and education campaigns for various stakeholders


Undertook engagements on air quality with relevant communities, and increased engagements with interested and affected stakeholders at Matla and Leeuwpan in 2021. COVID-19 affected the number of engagements that we normally hold in the year.

Dust mitigation measures

Our opencast mining activities (drilling, blasting, crushing, screening, transportation, materials handling, and windswept storage piles and exposed areas) unavoidably generate dust. We consistently enhance our mitigation measures to reduce the significant impacts on the environment. For example, in 2021 we introduced new additives to the water to enhance the effectiveness of the wet suppression and decrease the frequency of water suppression required.

Our mitigation measures include:

  • Applying chemical dust suppressants on primary-haul roads
  • Wet suppression on sources such as open areas and secondary unpaved roads
  • Vegetation on topsoil stockpiles and overburden material
  • Avoiding blasts during high wind conditions
  • Blast design optimisation
  • Limited drop heights during offloading activities
  • Implementing a proximity detection system to control vehicle speeds at operations and on unpaved roads. Speed limiters control dust generation from transport and prevent road accidents

Our mining operations monitor dust fallout rates and the results are assessed in terms of residential and non-residential limits outlined in the National Dust Control Regulations, where two non-residential exceedances are permitted per operation per year (not within sequential months). Although our operations must comply with non-residential limits, some activities are close to residential areas or sensitive receptors. Therefore, we aim to minimise the impact of our operations on nearby residents.

Due to our effective dust suppression measures, the dust fallout rate at most of our operations complied with the regulated residential and non-residential limits in 2021.

In 2021, no exceedances within sequential months of the residential limit and industrial limit were recorded in the measuring points located within the community or residential receptors.

During the year, there were six exceedances (not within sequential months), namely:

Dust fallout exceedances

*   Non-sequential months (January, August, September)

#   Mine in closure

      Highest recorded
  Maximum allowance Limits 2021 2020 2019
Dust fallout rate Coal: 300mg/m2/day m2/day 197 197 206
Non-residential dust fallout exceedances Two exceedances per BU per annum (within sequential months) 600 0 9 (across 6 BUs) 8 (across 4 BUs)
Residential dust fallout exceedances Two exceedances per BU per annum (within sequential months) 300 0 0 3 (across 2 BUs)

Pollution prevention plans

Section 29 of the Air Quality Act requires pollution prevention plans from significant industrial sources in identified industries and sectors to manage GHG emissions. Grootegeluk completed its first five-year implementation plan (2016 to 2020) and submitted its progress report on the identified emission reduction projects. The operation achieved 27 607tCO2e in carbon savings in this first period.

Our newly submitted 2021 to 2025 pollution prevention plan includes five CO2 emission reduction projects. Two of these projects are ongoing from the previous plan, and three are new. These projects are energy-saving initiatives that result in the reduction of diesel consumption and carbon emissions.

      Anticipated emission reduction (tCO2e)
Project Implementation 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 Total
Grootegeluk in-pit crushing and conveying project Ongoing 6 053 6 503 6 250 6 104 6 050 30 960
Road management and improvement Ongoing 3 563 3 827 3 678 3 592 3 561 18 222
Pantograph utilisation optimisation 2021 684 735 707 690 684 3 500
Out of cycle time reduction 2021 1 605 1 724 1 657 1 618 1 604 8 208
Autonomous drilling 2021 193 208 200 195 193 989
Total 12 098 12 997 12 491 12 199 12 093 61 879

Assumption used to estimate anticipated GHG emission reduction: electrical and diesel conversion factors, and the project scope remain consistent throughout.

At all our other operations, we quantify and report our impact through our national atmospheric emissions inventory system.


In 2022, we aim to maintain our current air quality monitoring network at all BUs and mines in closure to ensure compliance and emissions reduction. Our monitoring performance will be linked to our new STIs. We will be reviewing our air quality management system at Leeuwpan based on changes in mining operations. At Belfast, we will investigate alternative dust control measures (wind breakers, other technology for stockpiles) to improve our dust fallout rate. Our strategy to go beyond compliance for air quality, will be to invest in advanced digital technologies to monitor and measure a broader spectrum of emissions such as Methane, SOx and NOx in real time.

Report SelectorReport Index

Generate your own report

You can create your own custom PDF version of the report.

Select your areas of interest from the list below and submit your selection to create a PDF ready for you to download.

Add section
About this report
About Exxaro
Evolution of a 21st century company
Our ESG perspective
Measuring our performance
Strategic key performance indicators
Stakeholder management

Add section
Air quality
Climate change resilience
Energy management
Water security management
Waste management
Environmental liabilities and rehabilitation
Add section
Ethical culture
Performance and value creation
Adequate and effective control
Trust, good reputation and legitimacy
Board of directors
Our executive team
Remuneration and nomination committee report
Remuneration committee report
Nomination committee report
Risk and business resilience committee report
Social, ethics and responsibility committee report
Audit committee report
Investment committee report
King IV application register
Remuneration report
Add section
Human rights

Add section
GRI index
SASB index
Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
Assurance report
Appendix A: Criteria