Voluntary membership industry association, the Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (Aspasa), has amended its environmental compliance audits to keep track with changes in the environmental law, as well as new ISO standards.
Aspasa has been largely responsible for the professionalisation of the quarrying industry in recent years with the result that quarrying practices have become dramatically safer and kinder to the environment. Since 1994 the association’s compulsory About Face Environmental Management Program has also led the formal quarrying industry to become among the safest and most sustainable in the world.
According to Aspasa director, Nico Pienaar, the About Face program was originally implemented to stop the damage that was being caused by quarrying practices and to work with members to implement and optimise environmental management plans on their quarries. An annual audit program was also devised to ensure member quarries abided by the strict requirements. This has moved the Environmental compliance of the Aspasa member’s quarries to a very high standard. With the Mining Charter demanding environmental compliance Aspasa members have been in the leading pack.
“Since then, the audit requirements are regularly updated to measure changing requirements of the program. This time, it not only conforms fully with ISO 14001:2015 but goes further, including features particular to the aggregate and sand producing industry in Southern Africa. These include the requirements of South African environmental law most pertinent to the industry and international best practice.
“About Face 2017 also includes a manual to use in conjunction with the ISO 14001:2015 manual, that will assist each operation to effectively implement new requirements as set out in the program. It applies to all member operations including quarries, gravel and sand pits, as well as dump rock crushing operations among others,” says Nico.
He concludes that through the participation of members in the program, the association can provide assurance to stakeholders that members are practicing environmental stewardship at each operation and implementing management systems that improve their environmental performance.