Welcome to EnPeritus!
EnPeritus Pty Ltd comprises an experienced management team that provides solutions, products and training to the resources industry. We provide you with an efficient, tailored team of specialists who provide:
- consultancy services resulting in high quality reports;
- a Learning Center to empower you with environmental knowledge;
- free resources to provide you with relevant information at your fingertips; and
- innovative solutions based on collective intelligence.
What makes us efficient? Development activities in the resources industry have been in decline since August 2012, with many large consultancies reducing the size of their environmental teams by up to 90% due to overhead and labor costs. These are costs that EnPeritus does not have due to its virtual structure. Traditional companies have a limited number of experienced personnel with many graduates or minimally experienced employees, which represents a typical ‘pyramid’ business structure. EnPeritus has an inverted ‘pyramid’ or ‘flat’ business structure consisting almost entirely of experienced personnel. As a result of this structure, the Company is very efficient:
- almost no overheads so lower costs to the industry;
- best in field expertise to specifically meet needs no matter what phase the business cycle is in;
- faster and more flexible service;
- higher quality service; and
- known costs so more certainty for the customer.
What makes us unique?
- We’re competitive on price while maintaining quality.
- We’re giving back by providing free resources.
- We’re educating to lift the standard of environmental performance across the industry.
Steven Pearce and O’Kane Consultants have developed a new laboratory technology, which has further increased the ability to predict Acid and Metalliferous Drainage (AMD) issues in advance. The laboratory technology was developed as a result of data obtained from extensive field investigations involving the installation of oxygen, moisture content and temperature sensors into waste landforms to measure environmental variables that increase the risk of AMD. Using this data a new testing method has been developed that allows these conditions to be replicated in the laboratory while conducting kinetic testing. The primary benefit of this innovation has been to improve the accuracy of predicting AMD issues and provide more accurate method of “scaling” results from the lab to the field. O’Kane presented a paper (can be found here) on this topic at ICARD 2015 titled “Waste rock dump geochemical evolution: matching lab data, models and predictions with reality“.
Now this is the really exciting part. Firstly, there are a number of ways to manage AMD:
- Control systems that cover and “encapsulate” the AMD material, except years later it comes out of the waste and into the environment as the landform ages and is no longer proactively managed. This includes the widely used “PAF cell”.
- Remove from the landform, which is very costly for those that have likely inherited the liability (a second party, the government or community).
- Inject/apply neutralising chemicals, which is also costly as per 2. above.
- Controlled release as a result of an optimised waste placement method (and this is the innovation).
I originally heard about controlled release from a technical expert within government. Obviously, the team at O’Kane Consultants were also listening because they’ve now designed a system that allows quantitative assessment of the controlled release of AMD into the surrounding environment. This new method uses a quantitative assessment of AMD risk based on waste placement and construction methodology, and allows direct comparison of the net benefit of using a particular construction method for a particular material type. For example, the net benefit with respect to cost and AMD risk, of using a 5m high lift compared to a 10m high lift, or compaction of waste surfaces, can be directly assessed. Now that makes a lot of sense to me. And from what I could see, the cost of this system appears non-inhibitive.
In a nutshell, this is incredibly progressive and innovative technology. Obviously there are still risks associated with this technology. As one colleague pointed out, at the end of the day the success of these innovations comes down to the dozer driver operating in the field and the ability of the field staff to accurately monitor and manage the ongoing operations of the facility (stay tuned, we’re organising a training program in this field). Regardless, this is a step in the right direction and I commend the team at O’Kane Consultants.
I encourage you to contact Steven Pearce for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org) or catch the presentations at the AUSIMM Tailings and Mine Waste Management for the 21st Century conference in Sydney (July 2015), or at the AMR 2015 conference in Adelaide (August 2015).
Our team at EnPeritus are keen to share information about new and innovative technology that will improve the environmental performance of our industry.
Two papers have recently been published (Lee 2014; Lee and Gardner 2014), which specifically critique the reference to adaptive management, in approvals documentation, as a way of managing potential unknown impacts from water drawdown.
The intent of adaptive management is to provide flexibility when addressing unknown impacts or risk of environmental impact in instances where there is uncertainty. The process for implementing adaptive management regimes is illustrated in the figure below.
While in theory, the use of ‘adaptive management’ in approvals documentation is sound but in practice Jessica Lee (2014) states, “adaptive management is nothing more than a ‘political catch phrase’ or ‘comforting gesture’ that loosely promises some answer to future circumstances.”
I often hear environmental personnel complain that approvals specialists make promises that cannot be implemented or complied with, and this may well be an example of a vague term used by approvals specialists that doesn’t mean much to people in the field.
Jessica Lee considers two Western Australian mining projects that have used the term ‘adaptive management’ in their approvals documentation. Lee constantly highlights the use of indefinite terms subject to interpretation (e.g. significant, excessive), vaguely stated objectives and triggers, and lack of substantive groundwater standards among other things.
Lee (2014) made the following recommendations:
- Legally define the content of adaptive management.
- Integrate adaptive management planning into EIA documentation.
- Set substantive objectives and standards in law.
- Set binding and legally enforceable obligations to adapt with clear, quantitative and measurable triggers and specific adaptive responses.
While these recommendations were specific for groundwater management, don’t be surprised if further investigation and up-front detail and commitments are required by the EPA during the Environmental Impact Assessment process in instances where adaptive management processes are used to address uncertainty.
Lee, Jessica. 2014. Theory to practice: Adaptive management of the groundwater impacts of Australian mining projects. EPLJ 31: 251 – 287.
Lee, Jessica and Alex Gardner. 2014. Comment. Peek around Kevin’s Corner: Adapting away substantive limits? EPLJ 31: 247 – 250.
Are you are a team leader working in the resources industry? You are responsible for managing important activities, while ensuring that your team implements the procedures to keep them safe and stay compliant. You are the expert in this field and have years of experience leading teams to perform at their best. That’s why you have the job of manager or supervisor of a specific area.
While you have years of experience, you are always looking at ways to improve, outperform and lead your colleagues. One aspect of your role is environmental management. You have support from the environmental department sometimes but often if feels like they are policing your work without understanding that you need to get the job done.
We completely understand. We’ve seen those same frustrations in our career. We’ve developed ways to overcome those barriers/annoyances/ frustrations by having a clear understanding of the minimum environmental commitments and legislation under which you operate.
We’ll use our pragmatic approach towards the construction and resources industry to give you the knowledge and tools needed to feel like you completely understand the environmental compliance component of your job.
You’ll know what the environmental department’s role will be in comparison to yours.
You’ll likely walk away from this course having a better understanding of your environmental responsibilities than the environmental department.
This will give you more control over the activities over which you have ultimate responsibility.
We will share our knowledge to develop non-environmental professionals working in industry, but only to those who are prepared to absorb the knowledge and take action for themselves.
Does this sound like you?
You have responsibility to do an activity, you work hard and know your stuff, your team respects you and you know how to motivate them to get the job done on time and within budget.
One of the barriers of your job is interference from outside people such as environmental teams. You are sometimes frustrated by their lack of support and timeliness in providing the information you need. You wonder if you can do it better yourself and are eager to get the knowledge needed to overcome those barriers.
You are an organized, well prepared person and want to be proactive. You have many great ideas that you’d like to investigate and implement. Your list of things to do is never-ending.
You wish you had all the answers, often not raising issues due to a lack of knowledge of legislation.
What if you could?
What if you could build your knowledge base and have the resources you need at your fingertips, to give you the results you want and help make your life easier.
If you want tools that provide you with:
- Knowledge i.e. environmental management
- Resources for ensuring compliance
- Efficient methods for getting results
- The ability to overcome barriers associated with environmental requirements
- Less reliance on the environmental team
- And support….
Yes? You’re in the right place…
Who is this for?
- Area managers and supervisors working in the resources industry.
- Those who are prepared to take it to the next level.
- Those who understand that to get different and better results, it is time to change the strategy.
- Be prepared to take action and to implement!
Who this is not for?
- Environmental professionals working in industry.
- Those who are pessimistic and wingers.
- Those that do not want to work in industry.
- Those who are not prepared to listen, learn and implement.
Why are we doing this?
We understand the frustration you are experiencing, not knowing how to progress or having the support you need and we know we can help you.
Times are tough. The size of environmental teams have decreased, which translates to less support for you.
You know that you need to up-skill to keep things moving along smoothly. Your team is expected to know and stay compliant with environmental legislation and commitments.
Most importantly, I don’t want you to waste your time and I know you don’t want to waste mine.
If you are serious about adjusting to the current market, reducing your frustrations when it comes to environmental compliance then it is worth investing the time to:
- Broaden your knowledge.
- Value-add to your company.
- Become more efficient.
- Create opportunities for yourself.
- Alleviate the frustrations associated with managing compliance.
This one-day course will be held in Perth in July.
Contact us (below) for a copy of the course outline and registration form.
Register early to get a place, we’re limiting the number of people in any one session.
A long time ago, I visited a mining operation. I won’t mention which one but when I entered this site for the first time I was really impressed by what I saw. The site had clear boundaries and healthy vegetation where-ever I looked. The road had been wet to reduce dust, the buildings were clean, lots of positive visuals, good signage and company values in clear view. This was also reflected by the general friendliness of the staff on site. I admit I hadn’t experienced a site like this before. I wasn’t there to conduct a thorough environmental audit so this was just based on first impressions. And I was impressed.
During the course of my visit, we went out to surrounding tenements where exploration had been occurring. My impression there was quite the opposite. There were disintegrating sample bags left lying around (the photo is of a different site, courtesy of DMP), rubbish, half intact signage, no topsoil stockpiles associated with each drill pad and drill holes left without collars and caps etc. etc., you get the idea. What do you think this says about the exploration department of the company?
Here were my thoughts:
- They were sloppy.
- Probably inefficient and not as productive as they could be.
- They don’t value the environment in which they are working.
- They don’t care for the company’s reputation: A regulators first impression of an up and coming company is their view of their exploration program and this generally sets the scene for the approvals process – longer timelines, more stringent review of approvals documentation and commitments, more stringent conditions and higher cost of offsets.
- They will carry the highest environmental and safety risk in comparison to the mining operations.
This may not be the case but that was my first impression. And generally, that’s also the first impression and thus company reputation that will be carried as government visitors come and go from a mine site, and communicate with each other.
Take a look at your work place. What do you see and conclude about the general first impression of different areas of the business? Do these first impressions translate to risk and costs highlighted above?
As an approvals specialist, this first impression and reputation is an indirect but key aspect of the Approvals process. It is one that often I wish I could have previously been engaged in order to to train and inspire these untidy rascals to take the time and care for the location in which they are working. The effort and cost is minimal in comparison to the scene that it sets for the Approvals process.
As one young, naïve geologist once said to me, “Lara, you will always be too green to know what a true slash and burn geology department gets away with” – true, but I’m the one that the company turns to as a result of Approvals problems associated with that ‘true slash and burn geology department’ because not much gets past the Department of Mines and Petroleum (even though they do their inspections with big smiles on their faces).
These significant Approvals problems could be prevented by SIMPLE housekeeping activities and the geology department (and individuals within it) will have an exceptional environmental record and reputation. The signals being sent to government departments will be:
- This is a company that understands the environment in which it is working;
- This company pays attention to policy, laws and regulations;
- This company understands its conditions by which is it allowed to explore for minerals;
- This company is responsible and proactive with a good environmental policy; and therefore,
- This company will likely mine for minerals with the same high standards that it sets for exploration.
And what this will likely translate to:
- A level of trust.
- Steady timelines for getting Approvals (assuming no major environmental issues).
- Less stringent and costly Approval conditions.
- Lower cost of environmental offsets.
For this particular site, the excellent impression that mining operations gave may likely have offset that of their exploration department. However, greenfields sites and up-and-coming junior resource companies will only have the impression given by their exploration department and associated drilling contractors. So logic says, “Such a small price to pay for benefits to the long term sustainability of the company”.
REPUTATION is IMPORTANT and housekeeping is a reflection of the risk your company is carrying.
Priority Threat Management for Pilbara Species of Conservation Significance by Carwardine et al (2014).
This report is a wonderful, refreshing step forward for conservation. Yes, the methodology has been published previously but I really like the fact that it involves a cost and benefit analysis.
Firstly, what I liked about this document is that it brought together a group of people from industry, government, consultancies, and research backgrounds to assess threats to conservation significant species on a regional scale.
Secondly, in order to prioritise land management strategies, they’ve incorporated consideration of the feasibility of implementing management strategies.
Thirdly, the time frame for the consideration of threats and management strategies was a 20 year period – so, so refreshing to see long term planning.
Fourthly, the cost-effectiveness (CE) of each strategy was calculated. And a sensitivity analysis was then conducted to determine the robustness of the CE rankings in relation to benefit estimates.
The development of offsets packages generally have similar outcomes. A set of commitments are made to offset irreversible, significant environmental damage. However, these commitments are determined without the rigor described above and thus the benefit to a species or habitat as a result of offsets commitments are rarely measured because:
- they are not a component of a collective effort on a regional scale;
- they are not a component of long term planning; and
- such measures as cost-effectiveness and sensitivity analysis are not calculated.
Industry has the ability to have a positive, cost-effective impact on the environment. By using the techniques described in this document, it could quite easily employ a united effort to have a significant positive impact in comparison to the localised efforts resulting from offsets commitments.
While we must follow the guidelines developed by government, Carwardine et al. (2014) provide inspiration to utilise measures that justify the commitments made in offset packages. It is certain that in some situations our offsets commitments likely contribute in a minor, token manner in comparison to that of a collective, regional effort as described by Carwardine et al. (2014).
Reference: Cowardine, J., Nicol, S., van Leeuwen, S., Walters, B., Firn, J., Reeson, A., Martin, J.G., Chades, I. 2014. Priority Threat Management for Pilbara Species of Conservation Significance, CSIRO Ecosystems Sciences, Brisbane.