Annual Report & Accounts 2013
Severstal Annual Report 2013 Home > Sustainability > Environmental protection
 

Environmental protection

Our position

Our Environmental Policy, developed in 2011, commits us to maintaining high standards for environmental responsibility by:

  • Preventing environmental contamination, and participating in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Optimising the use of energy and natural resources
  • Managing waste efficiently

We aim for full compliance with applicable environmental regulations and focus on developing and deploying efficient management systems following international best practices.

We support the development of a system for constructive cooperation on environmental issues between the government, employees, business partners and NGO experts. Our managers work in partnership with the RUIE Committee on Environmental, Industrial and Process Safety. We also work with the World Steel Association (Worldsteel) to conduct research into climate change and reducing our impact on the environment.

Our progress

In 2013, all our Russian assets allocated more than 4.9 billion rubles to environmental protection initiatives. Responsibility towards the environment is at the forefront of our construction and modernisation projects. We are a member of the Sustainability and Environmental Committees of Worldsteel. Our Cherepovets Steel Mill was the first company in the Russian ferrous metallurgical industry to develop and implement an environmental management system that satisfies the ISO 14001 international standard. In 2007, we successfully completed recertification under the new ISO 14001:2004 standard. Nine of our key businesses in Russia and the US deployed ISO 14001 compliant environmental monitoring systems.

Severstal Russian Steel:

“Environmental projects remain a priority despite challenging conditions in the global economy and steel markets. In 2013, the Year of the Environment in Russia, Severstal more than doubled its investments in environmental programs in Cherepovets, to 2.5 billion rubles,” says Sergey Toropov, Chief Executive of Severstal Russian Steel.

Environmental components are a critical aspect of all new construction and rehabilitation projects at Severstal. Between 2012 and 2016, Cherepovets Steel Mill will invest approximately US$183.3 million in environmental projects aimed at reducing atmospheric emissions. In 2013, Cherepovets Still Mill implemented around 14 large-scale initiatives. Of these, about half are aimed at minimising atmospheric emissions, and are focused on reducing dust and hydrogen sulphide content in the air at Cherepovets.

We consistently use technical innovations further reducing our environmental footprint. For example, the new Coke Battery seven that we built and launched in April uses a dust-free coke discharge unit that will reduce dust emissions from the battery by 90 per cent.

The largest of our ongoing environmental projects is the installation of a 3.6 billion ruble escaped emissions control system for converters. This system offers the highest emission control efficiency in Russia, greater than 99 per cent according to its manufacturer Siemens VAI MetalTechnologies.

In the middle of 2012, we launched another dust emission control project at EAF (electric arc furnace) #1. By completely reconstructing the gas treatment facilities, we hope to achieve the best available standards. Completion of this project is scheduled for 2014.

By 2015, we will achieve a 33 per cent reduction in particulate matter emissions from our sintering plant by fully upgrading the aspiration system at one of our units, with an investment of up to US$28.3 million.

Another project launched in 2012 at a cost of approximately US$11.3 million will enable us to reduce silicon dioxide emissions by 284 tonnes annually, through reconstructing the gas-cleaning units of the dolomite rotary kiln. We have also set up production facilities to process coal tar from the Cherepovets coke production plant. These will supply premium quality chemical raw materials – pitch, naphthalene and technical oils – to the international market. This facility will be operated by Severtar, our joint venture with Rutgers. It will use state-of-the-art technologies that meet the latest environmental protection standards. We are also working with the Moscow MISIS University to reduce hydrogen sulphide emissions. We are carrying out 180 tests and taking 2000 measurements to identify principal emission sources. We have made several improvements in our technological approach, allowing a decrease in hydrogen sulphide levels in the air. The goal is to hit emissions targets by the end of 2015.

In 2013, we allocated 964 million rubles towards water-protection measures. For instance, we built a new unit for water purification that filters waste water into clean.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency and environmental performance have improved in regions where Severstal is present. In December 2013, Interfax, the ERA environmental and energy rating agency, rated Russian regions by the fundamental efficiency and environmental responsibility of their businesses in 2012. Vologda region, the home of the principal asset of Severstal – Cherepovets Steel Mill – took the eighth spot and had improved its efficiency performance compared with the previous year. Other regions where Severstal is present, including Komi Republic, Republic of Karelia, Murmansk region and Saratov region, also demonstrated strong efficiency improvements.

Vologda region improved its performance against all indicators included in the rating, with overall efficiency improvement of 1.9 per cent. The transparency of Vologda businesses was measured at 77.8 per cent, overall environmental performance was 85 per cent, and technological efficiency was 94.1 per cent.

Energy efficiency and environmental responsibility initiatives from Severstal and its principal asset in Vologda region contributed to the overall improvement in the region.

We were placed higher than all of our competitors in the Interfax ERA fundamental efficiency rating of the 150 largest enterprises and nearly 4000 businesses from all industries. We were ranked 45th, higher than any other steelmaker.

This rating reflects several business performance criteria including the ability to operate with a smaller environmental footprint, the amount of product manufactured per unit of energy and natural resources, performance improvements over the preceding six years, and the level of public transparency.

Energy efficiency is an area of focus for the Cherepovets Steel Mill. In 2013, Cherepovets Steel Mill produced 3511.826 million kWh of electricity, 7.1 per cent more than a year ago. Share of internally produced energy in the overall consumption increased to 63.6 per cent, which is eight per cent higher than in 2012. The economic benefit from increased electricity production compared with 2012 was 238 million rubles. Increased power generation was the result of optimized equipment operation, reduced scheduled and unscheduled downtime of power generation units, implementation of the new BSS components, and the launch of the new TG4 turbine unit, TPH-SAP (Thermal Power, Heat, Steam and Air Plant). The TPHSAP generated record high amount of electricity, 10.8 per cent up compared to 2012, while TPH-EAP-2 beat its previous record high of 2012 by 1.5 per cent. TSC and GNCT-12 recovery turbines also produced record high amount of electricity in 2013.

Severstal Resources:

Karelsky Okatysh

Karelsky Okatysh is undertaking air protection initiatives to cut its gross harmful emissions. The initiatives already resulted in a 31.68 ton reduction in sulphur dioxide emission in 2013.

Karelsky Okatysh is also building a wastewater monitoring station to be completed by the end of 2014. The monitoring system is fully automated. All measurements are uploaded to a server over a wireless network, providing staff with online access to explosive residues in groundwater.

Vorkutaugol

Vorkutaugol’s environmental program in 2013 was focused on reducing its environmental footprint and recovering biological resources. Total investments reached 52.5 million rubles.

We will work hard on further reducing atmospheric emissions of coalbed methane, which is a byproduct of coal mining. Vorkutaugol has significantly reduced its emissions over the last two years by using methane as a fuel in boilers. Heat from these boilers is used to provide heating to surface buildings and for coal drying at Severnaya Preparation Plant. The launch of a gas-piston heat and power plant fired by coalbed methane will reduce methane emissions to a fraction of their current amount. The power plant is now in its startup phase.

Apart from in-house environmental protection initiatives, this year Vorkutaugol is planning to participate in River Band, an annual regional environmental volunteering program, for the third time. In summer, employees volunteer to clean up nearby rivers and lakes. In 2013, Vorkutaugol was the top contributor among all industry participants from Komi Republic. In total, 220 Vorkutaugol employees volunteered for this environmental initiative. Engineers and managers of all coalmines, Yunyaginskiy open pit, Pechorskaya Preparation Plant and Vorkuta Transportation Department participated in clean-up activities on a regular basis. They removed more than 150 cubic meters of waste, and cleaned the water protection zones of six creeks and four fishing rivers. Our employees also removed more than 370 tonnes of scrap from a collection site near Bolshoi Micha-Vozh creek.

In 2013, Vorkutaugol arranged environmental training for employees. This training was included in this year’s comprehensive corporate environmental protection program.

Training sessions for employees took place in the training center at Vorkutaugol. Our corporate ecologists trained supervisors and their deputies in all functional departments. They familiarised themselves with Severstal’s environmental protection policy and discussed the components of Vorkutaugol’s environmental footprint and the effort taken to reduce it and improve the environmental performance of the company.

“Our environmental policy is designed to reduce the environmental footprint of our mining operations,” explains Principal Ecologist of Vorkutaugol Natalia Vishniauskene. “We invested more than 36 million rubles in environmental initiatives in 2013. We used some of this money to refurbish local treatment facilities at Vorkuta Mechanical Plant, which is located at the city limits.”
 
In 2013, Vorkutaugol installed a wind turbine at one of its plants to reduce electricity costs and minimise its environmental impact.

The wind turbine uses wind to generate electricity. Tsentralnaya station uses this electricity as a backup power supply for its telecommunications and alarm equipment. Access to wind energy enables the mining company to continue transportation operations even after mains power loss. The 6 kW wind turbine is connected in parallel with the main grid helping rail operators to save on electricity costs. Vorkuta Transportation Department is currently planning to purchase a battery to store the energy generated by the wind turbine.

Vorkutaugol purchased two state-of-the-art ANTARIS 6 kW generators from German Braun Windturbinen. One of these is already installed at the Tsentralnaya rail station managed by the Vorkuta Transportation Department (a subsidiary of Vorkutaugol).

“If the tests of the first wind turbine are successful, we will purchase more turbines for other railway stations,” says Andrey Shveitser, Director of Vorkuta Transportation Authority.

Apart from generating electricity, wind turbines reduce the environmental footprint of local operations, which is a priority of the corporate environmental protection policy. One 6 kW wind turbine saves approximately 175 tonnes of coal over its average useful life of 20 years (eight tonnes per year) and also helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

In 2013, Vorkutaugol also completed a large construction project that included two (11.6 MW and 5.8 MW, respectively) gas-fired reciprocating engines at Severnaya deep coal mine. When commissioned, the reciprocating engines will utilize around 28 million cubic meters of coalbed methane to generate heat and power for the mine, which will result in the annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 470,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Following the cost benefit analysis of Severnaya methane project, we may launch similar projects at other Vorkutaugol coalmines.

Olenegorsk Iron Ore Plant

Olenegorsk Iron Ore Plant invested 46 million rubles in its 2013 environmental programme. Priorities included laboratory monitoring of air and water, as well as the application of dust suppressants to biological rehabilitation of its tailing pond. The plant spent more than 4 million rubles on dust suppression on mine roads.
 
Key initiatives focusing on reduction of impact on water bodies included the construction of shore discharge piping and water conduits at the new open pit. The plant invested 15.5 million rubles in these projects.

In 2013, Olkon continued the rehabilitation of the dryer at its crushing and treatment plant to reduce emissions of particulate matter. This project included the construction of a new 63 million ruble bag filter separator that decreased pollutant emissions from winter drying of iron ore concentrate.

“We are committed to full compliance with applicable environmental laws. On top of that, we design and implement future-proof environmental projects accounting for a possible growth of production volumes,” says Chief Executive of Olkon Aleksandr Popov.

In 2013, Olkon developed the technology and regulations for removal of nitrous pollutants from pit water, and embarked on a series of environmental initiatives focused on municipal landscaping.

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