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Biodiversity Conservation

Preserving the Natural Environment

Purpose of activities Activities during fiscal 2020 Self-
Targets/plans for activities from fiscal 2021 onwards
  • Contributing to local communities, society, and the global environment through sustainable management of company-owned forests
  • We received and passed periodic screenings to maintain forest certification from the Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council (SGEC). (Site inspections were conducted at Teine Forest and Hayakita Forest.)
  • Maintain SGEC forest certification
  • Provided placements for six overseas trainees as part of JICA issue-specific training, and organized training workshops
  • Promote forestation that makes use of nature’s strengths, aiming for both economic and environmental achievements (such as practicing close-to-nature silviculture)
  • Held a tree-planting and environmental training event that invited 33 local residents to Sodachi-no Mori (forest of growth), a forest owned by the local government of Mori Town, Hokkaido. We plan to assist the forest's recovery over a period of ten years under an agreement with the local government concerning recovery of forests from typhoon damage.
  • Improve the efficiency of forest management using cutting-edge technologies such as drones and other remote sensing technologies, ICT, and IoT
  • Held an environmental training event in Teine Forest that invited local participants (57 participants)
  • Promote new ways of using forest resources (effective utilization of timber from thinning, high added-value use of broad-leaf trees, and use of other forest resources)
  • Equipped the Sapporo office with chairs made of timber from broad-leaf trees grown in our company-owned forests, realizing a high added-value use of timber from company-owned forests
  • Continue to hold tree-planting and raising ceremonies and environmental training events
  • Conducted measurement tests of forest resources using remote sensing technologies including drones and laser measurement with unmanned helicopters. Tests are continuing to improve the precision.
  • Promote the provision of sites for recreational activities, education, research, and training
  • Christmas trees, which we made using trees in company-owned forests, were donated to two nurseries in Atsuma Town
  • Contribute to local communities by using services related to company-owned forests (initiatives such as the donation of Christmas trees)
  • Invited a forester from Switzerland to lecture and provided training on close-to-nature silviculture that is practiced in the country. Training based on the same content is being provided at company-owned forests.
  • Creating disaster-resistant forests
  • Provided part of Teine Forest as the training site for spreading self-employed timber harvesting, which is on a small scale and features the construction of disaster-resistant, indestructible access roads
  • Enhance monitoring activities (such as increasing fixed-point monitoring sites) for a more accurate understanding and evaluation of the status of the conservation of biodiversity and the improvement of ecosystem services realized through forest maintenance, among others.
  • Carried out monitoring activities for conserving the biodiversity of company-owned forests, both internally and through outsourcing

Self-assessment grades A: Target achieved B: Target mostly achieved C: Target not achieved


Preserving Biodiversity

The preservation of biodiversity is an element that forms the basis of our approach to business. We clarify this point both internally and externally by stating, “We will be more considerate of biodiversity and work to live in the harmony with nature,” in the Article 5 of our Code of Conduct. In addition, in our Environmental Policy we state, “We recognize that biodiversity is one of the cornerstones of a sustainable society, not least in terms of natural resource development, and will ensure that our business activities remain in harmony with society and the natural environment, taking ecosystems into consideration every step of the way.”
In our business activities, the impact on biodiversity is particularly likely from overseas mines from which we procure raw materials. At the copper mines in which we have invested (as a minor investor with up to 25% equity stake) and are our important suppliers (Copper Mountain Mine in Canada, Escondida Mine in Chile, and Los Pelambres Mine in Chile), an Environmental Impact Assessment was appropriately conducted before the mining operations commenced and environmental monitoring has continued ever since. In ongoing copper mine development projects (at Zafranal in Peru and Namosi in Fiji), we are carrying out environmental baseline studies for Environmental Impact Assessment and collecting data for preserving diversity. As an investor, we confirm with operators of the mines that these initiatives will be taken, and encourage them to take such initiatives. In addition, when we procure materials from a mine in which we do not invest, we confirm that considerations are given to natural protected areas and biodiversity is preserved, in accordance with the CSR Procurement Standards of Metals Company.
On the other hand, at limestone mines in Japan and other countries, which we manage directly, we transplant rare species of plants at the sites and plant trees in former mining sites to recover the original vegetation. At some mines, we also take measures to protect wildlife in the surrounding area.
We also take initiatives to preserve biodiversity at our manufacturing facilities by considering the characteristics of each site. For example, at Naoshima Smelter & Refinery (Naoshima Town, Kagawa County, Kagawa), we have been engaged in Material-no Mori (Materials Forest) tree-planting activities in districts where trees were lost due to wildfires. At such sites, we also create biotopes, grow sunflowers, and use their seeds as part of the Wanosato Project, which is aimed at environmental education and learning. Naoshima Smelter & Refinery ensures thorough treatment of exhaust gas and effluent from the facility under its own standards, which are stricter than government standards, in its efforts to protect the natural environment of Setouchi.
We own 14,000 hectares of forest across Japan and manage it by considering the habitats of the plants and animals that live there. We carry out wildlife monitoring and include rare species confirmed to be living in the areas on our red list. Our nine forests in Hokkaido have obtained certifications for sustainable forest management with consideration for biodiversity.
We will continue to pay attention to the contact points between our business activities and biodiversity, and take action to conserve biodiversity from a broad perspective.

Biodiversity Initiatives at Our Mine

Monitoring Water Quality at Copper Mines (Copper Mountain Mine)

We invest in Copper Mountain Mine, located in British Columbia, Canada, where we engage in corporate management with an emphasis on biodiversity. We continually monitor the quality of water in local rivers, in accordance with quality guidelines issued by the provincial government, and also carry out ongoing surveys into fish populations, in order to gauge the impact of our activities on the ecosystem. Continuous environmental monitoring has been carried out since the mine operation started, and also closure plan is established.

Surveying fish populationsSurveying fish populations

Environmental Impact Assessment as part of Copper and Gold Deposit Development Project

We are carrying out a basic environmental study geared towards conducting EIA* as part of a development project in Zafranal, in southern Peru. At the same time, we are studying and analyzing the potential impact on the environment by the development, and are looking into ways to secure new habitats for species of flora and fauna if there is a risk of any impact on the ecosystem.

* Environmental Impact Assessment

Exploration drillingExploration drilling

River water quality surveyRiver water quality survey

Initiatives at Limestone Mines (Cushenberry Mine)

At Cushenberry Mine in California, Mitsubishi Cement Corporation extracts limestone and also manufactures cement at the foot of the mine. Having worked with local experts to develop and plant trees across a mining area covering 25,000 square meters. Around 90% for the trees we have planted to date have grown. We also carry out activities to protect precious wild animals in the area, in cooperation with the local nature conservation authorities*. To protect bighorn sheep living in the hills behind the mine, we have maintained watering stations ever since the area was operational. We also offer financial assistance to biological research on the sheep, which is conducted using GPS.

* Mitsubishi Cement Corporation is a member of the local association for the protection of bighorn sheep

Bighorn sheepBighorn sheep

Environmental Impact Assessment on Construction of Power Plants

Environmental Impact Assessment for Launch of Operations of Appi Geothermal Plant

In 2015, we established Appi Geothermal Energy Corporation in conjunction with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc. to the west of Appi Highlands in Hachimantai City, Iwate. We were joined by Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. in 2018, and the three companies are promoting the project towards the launch of the operation, aiming to begin operating a 14,900 kW geothermal power plant in 2024. Appi Geothermal Energy Corporation began procedures for an Environmental Impact Assessment in 2015, and studied, predicted, and assessed the impact of the construction of the Appi Geothermal Power Plant on the surrounding environment. The company received approval for the final environmental impact statement from the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in January 2018 and began construction of the plant in August 2019.

Voluntary Assessment of the New Komatagawa Hydroelectric Power Plant

We own a hydroelectric power plant immediately below the Moriyoshi Dam in the Komata River, a branch stream of the Ani River in the reservoirs along the Yoneshiro River in Kita-Akita City, Akita. In May 2019, we began construction on the New Komatagawa Hydroelectric Power Plant (rated output: 10,326 kW), a hydroelectric power plant that will use the discharged water which was used for power generation at the existing plant. When planning the construction of the new power plant, we undertook a voluntary environmental assessment to determine the impact on the surrounding environment. We are also creating a new plan to ensure that the flow rate of surplus from the new plant will be appropriate for the river to preserve the surrounding river environment. In addition, we will carry out eco-friendly construction work. We will use power generated in the existing hydroelectric power plant, a renewable energy, for construction work on the headrace tunnel with TMB method. We will also recycle trees that were felled to construct the new power plant.


Biodiversity Conservation Activities of PT Smelting (Indonesia)

Activities for Protecting Rare Animals

To further develop its activities for environmental protection and biodiversity preservation, PT Smelting has been co-sponsoring a program for protecting rare animals by Taman Safari Indonesia since 2018. In this program, endangered species designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are bred and released into the wild to enhance sustainability. PT Smelting participates in a program to protect Javan hawk-eagles. The Javan hawk-eagle is the national bird of Indonesia because it has the same characteristics as Garuda, the divine bird in the national emblem of Indonesia (Garuda Pancasila). However, recently there is concern over the decrease in the population of this species due to the destruction of rainforests as well as poaching. Through this program, the company not only aims to breed Javan hawk-eagles as a national symbol but also to support the education of children as future leaders and biological research on the birds, thereby contributing to preserving biodiversity.

Javan hawk-eagleJavan hawk-eagle
Photo provided by Taman Safari Indonesia