Mining activities are generally subject to risks of damage as a result of the processes, structures, and chemicals used in the extraction and production. This is particularly applicable to the bioheapleaching and metals recovery methods employed by Talvivaara, which require that the company use chemicals such as sulphuric acid, hydrogen sulphide, and caustic soda.
The most significant risks to be identified at Talvivaara in connection with harm to the environment are those of accidents occurring during the handling and storage of chemicals and of damage caused by heavy rains and the breakdown of the tight structures used for process solutions, which can result in the contamination of soil and exceptional discharges into surface waters.
The most significant occupational health and safety risks are risks of accident caused by traffic in the plant area and the handling of chemicals as well as health risks caused by harmful impurities in the atmosphere at the workplace.
Talvivaara’s operations involve the handling and storage of dangerous substances covered by the EU’s Seveso II directive. As required by the directive, a safety report, covering all of the company’s operations, has been prepared for Talvivaara, and the related risk assessments have been performed. At Talvivaara, the most significant risks of accident-related hazards are posed by the handling and storage of chemicals. The mine’s internal rescue plans include instructions to be applied in the event of any accidents. In addition, emergency drills are organized annually. The company aims to prevent accidents through appropriate operation and work instructions.
In 2008–2009, Talvivaara has conducted baseline studies of accident, environmental damage, and occupational safety risks arising from the handling and storage of chemicals and other factors associated with production. Similar studies have been conducted on occupational health risks caused by traffic in the plant area and dust in the atmosphere at the workplace. These studies will be updated annually.
At Talvivaara, the management of environmental risks, occupational health and safety risks, and risks of damage demand systematic preventive measures to identify hazards, assess risks, and reduce risk levels. Risk management is mainly based on appropriate operation and work instructions, our certified ISO 14001 environmental management system, the safety report prepared for the mine, and internal rescue plans. Talvivaara monitors the state of the environment in accordance with the requirements set in its environmental permit.
Talvivaara has taken out insurance for protection against risks of damage. The insurance covers any material loss and interruptions to production caused by damage to property owned or possessed by the company.