AAMEG Africa Awards 2020: Emerging ESG Leader Nominee – Deep Yellow
By AAMEG | 5 November 2020
ESG IN THE CONTEXT OF A JUNIOR URANIUM EXPLORER
Deep Yellow Ltd (ASX Listed) is an advanced-stage uranium exploration company aiming to become a tier-one, low-cost uranium producer. It is a dual pillar growth strategy focussed on organic growth through the development of its existing asset base in Namibia and inorganic growth through a targeted merger and acquisition program.
It holds a tenement package in Namibia of some 1.600km2. Its two key projects comprise the Reptile Project (100%) where, following a positive Scoping Study completed in late 2019, a Pre-Feasibility is currently underway due for completion last quarter CY2020 and the Nova JV where JOGMEC are completing its $4.5M earn-in for a 39.5% interest. Advanced exploration is also continuing.
It has a uranium resource of 159Mlb U3O8.
The Namibian operations are managed by its subsidiary Reptile Mineral Resources & Exploration Pty Ltd (RMR) based in Swakopmund, Namibia. All the tenements are located within the Namib-Naukluft National Park (the Park), an area of close to 50,000 km2 and the fourth largest national park in the world.
Although still in the pre-development stage, Deep Yellow decided to produce its first Sustainability Report this year, commensurate with and appropriate for the size of the company and to uses as a foundation document as the Company evolves. Also, being part of the uranium industry, Deep Yellow needs to place even greater importance and focus on sustainable reporting and transparency. The industry is often misunderstood by the public in terms of health and safety and, as such, a participant in this sector needs to demonstrate in a transparent manner that it operates at optimal performance levels across both the technical and non-technical aspects of its business.
In the context of the uranium and broader nuclear industry, Deep Yellow needs to show positive adherence to ESG principles, to provide confidence to its stakeholders and staff that the Company is doing its work with the required rigor.
Approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters
The expectation of ESG adherence must be an important part of the corporate existence at an early stage to allow effective implementation of key ESG principles as the group grows and develops.
On a day-to-day basis, this is achieved through:
- Its policy framework starting with the Group’s governance policies providing the overarching philosophy and all available on the Deep Yellow website
- Local operationally focussed policies, processes, and SOPs
- Regular training and toolbox talks
- Policy framework specifically addressed at inductions and requirement for adherence included in all legal agreements and contracts, also with recipients of CSR funding
- Participation in and membership of relevant industry groups
- Good interactive working relationship with Park authorities
- Attendance at workshops, training, and simulation exercises to ensure local Environmental Control Officer and Radiation Safety Officer are at the forefront of requirements and best practice.
- KPIs at local and senior management level cover ESG principles
- Responding to community needs at times of crisis – e.g. funding and logistics support for food parcels through Hand of Hope due to COVID-19 effect and implemented at short notice to respond to urgent local need.
- Budgeted annual CSR expenditure – in addition to making funding of CSR projects a requirement of associated joint ventures
- Defined process to assess CSR projects for suitability – assessing recipient’s governance and financial processes, and sustainability. On approval, management of the recipient group undergo governance training and the organisation is subject to monitoring.
- Finalised CSR projects are subject to formal review to assess success or otherwise and take on lessons learned for future projects.
- Publishing a Sustainability Report for transparency and confirming the importance of ESG to its stakeholders.
- Prior to publishing the first Sustainability Report, an annual CSR Report was published detailing community projects and contributions.
Example of a Company initiative in Africa that aligns with one or more aspects of an ESG topic
By producing a foundation Sustainability Report, generally not expected until a company moves into production, Deep Yellow’s initiative has shown leadership in its sector by highlighting the fact that, even at an early stage of pre-development, it is possible to publish a Sustainability Report. Whilst at Deep Yellow’s level of operation it is not possible to adopt such significant reporting standards as GRI (developed for those companies with a production history), it is possible to present a meaningful report that is fit-for-purpose and provides ESG transparency to its stakeholders. The report is in keeping with the size of the company and provides a foundation to allow this report, over the coming years , to successfully grow, evolve and ensure the Company reports to required standards on this very important pillar. In particular, it provides the local communities, government, and staff with confidence that the group is contributing to the growth and prosperity of the country in a meaningful and transparent manner.
Other useful supporting information
The recent Sustainability Report issued for the year end 30 June 2020 is attached together with the current and prior year CSR report. Although some CSR detail is included in the Sustainability Report, the CSR report provides greater detail for the local audience for the local audience. All are published on Deep Yellow’s website.