Painting the turbine hall at the Ekibastuz Power Station

Our performance

The Board is committed to achieving zero fatalities at the Group’s operations and reducing the occurrence of occupational injuries. Over the past six years, progress has been made towards these goals with a significant reduction in the number of fatalities occurring at the Group’s operations as well as a reduction in the rate of fatal incidents per million man-hours worked. There has also been a reduction in the rate of occupational injuries over this period.

From 1 January 2015 the Group adopted the health and safety performance indicators as defined and published by the ICMM in order to disclose the Group’s health and safety performance in a comparable way to its mining sector peer group. Amongst other changes, this led to the adoption of the Total Recordable Injury (“TRI”) and Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (“TRIFR”) metrics which replace Lost Time Injuries (“LTI”) and Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (“LTIFR”). The criteria for classifying an incident as a Recordable Injury are wider than those used to define a Lost Time Injury, and therefore the number of TRIs occurring would normally be expected to be higher than LTIs for the same operations over the same time period. The Group continues to monitor LTI and LTIFR in order to make comparisons to performance prior to 1 January 2015.

Fatalities

We are disappointed to report that three fatalities occurred at our assets in 2015, one of which involved an employee of KAZ Minerals in the East Region and two involved contractors, one in the East Region and the second at the Aktogay project. Both of the East Region fatalities occurred at the Irtyshsky mine, with the first resulting from interaction with stationary energised equipment and the second from contact with moving equipment. At Aktogay a fall occurred during lifting of construction materials.

Number of fatalities
 

Following any fatal incident, operations are suspended until management and the relevant authorities complete their initial investigations. All fatalities are subsequently thoroughly investigated by the Group’s Health and Safety management and mine management. Measures have been taken in light of these investigations to prevent the recurrence of the circumstances leading to the incidents.

KAZ Minerals considers all fatalities to be avoidable and has a target of zero fatalities. A range of initiatives has been undertaken in recent years to reduce fatalities and progress has been made in 2015 towards this target. Three fatalities in 2015 compares to seven fatalities in the continuing operations in 2014, and 14 for the full Group in 2014.

The reduction in fatalities for continuing operations has occurred in a period in which there was a large increase in the number of man-hours worked, as construction activity at the major growth projects increased and open pit mining operations have commenced. The Bozymchak mine increased its processing activities during 2015 and mining commenced at Bozshakol and Aktogay. As a result, the total number of man-hours worked in 2015 was 41 million, a 78% increase compared to the 23 million hours worked in 2014 in the continuing operations. The rate of fatal incidents per million hours worked in the continuing operations has reduced from 0.30 in 2014 to 0.07 in 2015. This compares to the ICMM average fatality rate per million hours worked in 2014 of 0.02.

Whilst the reduction in both the rate of fatal incidents and the overall number of fatalities year on year is a welcome development which indicates that the Group’s health and safety investments and initiatives are having a positive effect, management and the Board will not be satisfied until the incidence of fatalities has been reduced to zero.

Incidents and injuries

There were 51 Recordable Injuries in 2015, representing a Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (‘TRIFR’) of 1.25 cases per million hours worked. This compares to the average TRIFR for ICMM members of 4.50 cases per million hours worked in 2014.

Total Injury Rate

The most common causes of injury at KAZ Minerals’ operations, accounting for more than 59% of Recordable Injuries, were falls, rock falls and injuries from falling objects, with 47% of Total Recordable Injuries occurring in the East Region. These injury categories reflect both the hazardous nature of underground mining operations and the increased risk faced by our contractors when working at height during an intensive period of construction activity at the major growth projects in 2015.

On 14 August 2015, a fire occurred in the grinding area of the concentrator building at the Bozshakol project. The fire was contained within the grinding area and successfully extinguished without injury to any person at the site.

Occupational health

The number of occupational health cases decreased in 2015 to 42 Total Recordable Desease Cases (TRDCs) from 53 in 2014. An internal review of the Group’s rehabilitation and return-to-work programmes is being undertaken to improve performance in this area. An employee “wellness” programme is also being planned to improve the general health of employees, with the goal of reducing the impact of health-related issues that could affect the Group’s employees in the longer term.

In accordance with local regulations in Kazakhstan, we are required to make payments to employees and former employees for illness and disability sustained at our operations.

The financial impact of this amounted to $16 million in 2015.