PRIDE IN PEOPLE
Kestrel’s investment in the development of its future leaders is just one of the ways in which it upholds ‘People’ as the first pillar of its sustainability approach. By growing its own people, Kestrel sustains the wider growth of the company itself.
With an increasing emphasis on diversity and inclusion, the company fosters an environment of equal opportunity and is making steady progress toward greater gender representation. In 2021, female employment at Kestrel was reported as 7.4 percent. As of last year, this number has increased to 10 percent. Although the underground workforce is still dominated by male employees, greater numbers of women are now represented in management positions and the company actively supports events including International Women’s Day and Women in Mining.
The business expresses its pride and recognition of employees with the COAR Awards. An acronym for Committed, One, Agile and Respectful, each nomination for an award entails a donation of AUD$20 to a nominated community group in the Central Highlands, thereby creating a direct bridge between team performance and contributing to the community. In 2022, the total funds raised through these donations equated to AUD$3,898.
Providing both empowerment and motivation, the awards are designed to reward individuals who truly embody the company’s values and acknowledge those who go above and beyond the expectations of their roles. They represent one of the many ways in which Kestrel lives, breathes, and enacts its values, rather than simply talking about them.
PLAYING IT SAFE
Working in a high-risk industry such as mining, Kestrel marries this people-centric philosophy with an unrelenting commitment to safety, as the second pillar of its sustainability approach.
By setting the standard for best practices in health and safety, Kestrel fulfils its ultimate priority – to protect its people from harm and ensure that everyone can return from a day’s work in good health, both physically and mentally.
Through building trust and motivating its team, Kestrel encourages individuals to adopt, interpret and connect to the company’s safety culture as their own. The Kestrel vision of ‘making the right way, the easy way’ results in the obvious benefits of fewer injuries and less downtime, but also in solidifying a safety mindset that coexists alongside high-performance levels.
Adopting a multi-pronged approach to safety, Kestrel implements training compliance and innovation with contractor management to ensure streamlined operations with a capable employee and contractor workforce. In addition, the company maintains its world-class operations by incorporating critical controls, conducting internal and external audits, and championing safety innovation by partnering with business units (BUs) to strive towards safe production through ongoing improvement.
At the apex of the Kestrel safety pyramid, the business enables growth through the continuous simplification of its safety and health management system (SHMS). Through this scalable solution and a high-functioning health and safety team, the SHMS facilitates company growth without compromising on this core priority.
With significant time and money consistently invested into perfecting such systems, Kestrel is rewarded by continually reducing risk.
Another major effort that reflects Kestrel’s concern for employee well-being was introduced last year with the ‘Kestrel Lifestyle Challenge’. This scheme was designed to encourage employees and contractors to adopt positive exercise habits and offered expert advice in terms of promoting sustainable and nutritional meal choices.
Thriving hand-in-hand with the company’s emphasis on positive mental health, the programme’s success was highlighted as the Winner of the Health Program Award at the 2022 Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference.
LOW IMPACT MINING
Alongside health and safety, people, community and Indigenous development, and governance, the environment is a strategic segment in Kestrel’s dedicated sustainability approach. This spotlights the company’s journey of continual improvement to minimise its impact on the environment and the land.
“We continue to invest significantly into leading-edge technology to reduce our impact on the environment,” shares Hansen.
For Kestrel, sustainability encompasses a holistic vision that honours the mine’s past, present and future, as it seeks to contribute to its place in the world, operate a meaningful place of employment, and grow its value to stakeholders.
Its approach endeavours to create a Legacy Worth Leaving – an idea that relies on ethical business practice that values people, builds connected communities, and promotes responsible environmental stewardship.
“We are creating a high level of awareness around what sustainability means and the importance placed on getting it right,” Hansen continues.
Kestrel continuously measures its sustainability performance against International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Sustainable Mining Principles. These 10 core principles are common to the global mining community as an industry benchmark, incorporating both the Paris Agreement mining targets and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We established a solid foundation through releasing our first publicly available Sustainability Report in 2021,” he informs us. Since that time, Kestrel’s annual Sustainability Report has served as a transparent outline of exactly how the company creates and sustains long-term value in a rapidly changing world.
For Kestrel, ESG represents an ongoing journey – one where its strategies, objectives and priorities are constantly in flux as they mature and develop.
Across the primary areas of ESG significance, the company actively manages risk and identifies areas where it must strive to improve. These include diversity and inclusion, decarbonisation, heritage protection, and biodiversity and water conservation.
Here, Kestrel channels the spirit of agility by looking ahead and adapting its decision-making accordingly, to ensure that it is consistently operating in the best interests of its people and the community.
“Our ESG Strategy mirrors our business approach of balancing sustainability and takes into account the impact we have on our stakeholders, community, and the environment,” says Hansen.
The company’s first ESG Strategy was officially launched in 2022 after being endorsed by the Board. It came to life through a comprehensive process consisting of employee interviews, industry benchmarking, listening to the concerns of the local community, and an extensive review of current and emerging ESG issues. This also led to the identification of the four pillars of the aforementioned Legacy Worth Leaving. Since that time, ESG has been positioned at the core of the company’s operations.
“Although Kestrel is in the early phase of its ESG journey, I am immensely proud of the results that we have achieved to date,” he expresses. “Through our latest strategy, we reaffirm our desire to not only continue to evolve our ESG maturity but also how we aim to create a Legacy Worth Leaving.”
A major aspect of this includes the ongoing pursuit of innovative solutions that will make Kestrel more sustainable, environmentally considered, and energy efficient. Over the course of 2023, key actions in ESG development include conducting an independent third-party audit of the Kestrel SHMS, reviewing and updating the company’s Modern Slavery Statement, and developing a five-year implementation plan dedicated to the progressive rollout of the overall strategy.
“We will challenge ourselves to ensure our ESG Strategy continually evolves and keeps pace with what matters most regarding our role in society, the impact we have, and the value we create,” Hansen concludes.