Toward a Recycling-based Society
Along with global economic growth, demand for resources and energy is expanding. As a result, the amount of waste is increasing and environmental problems are becoming more serious. Accordingly, there is a growing need to shift from the conventional Linear Economy based on mass-production, mass-consumption, mass-disposal to a Circular Economy over the medium to long term. Mitsui Kinzoku Group is striving to make effective use of resources as well as reduce waste and environmental pollutants. We are also promoting the introduction of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as a means to minimize the environmental impact of our products throughout their life cycles. Through these efforts, we aim to meet the requests of society and achieve sustainable growth for our group.
Effective Use of Resources
Mitsui Kinzoku Group strives to manufacture products by recycling waste and other recycled raw materials in order to make effective use of resources. The Environmental Action Plan calls for group-wide efforts to increase the use of reused and recycled raw materials.
The metal smelting and refining business of our group is involved in the recovery of valuable metals from industrial waste, and we continuously make consistent efforts in downstream areas that lead to the venous industries. Mitsui Kinzoku Group has multiple smelters that are capable of processing a wide variety of raw materials, including zinc, lead, and copper. By organically linking these smelters as a Smelting Network, we have been able to increase the collection and processing capacity of various mixed-metal raw materials. Currently, we are promoting the expansion of the synergy effects of the smelting network by maximizing the effective use of resources. To promote the expansion, we are establishing and advancing separation as well as refining technologies for each material, enhancing technologies and improving existing manufacturing facilities in each process, and building and deepening the raw material collection network.
*The International Council on Mining & Minerals (ICMM), an organization of global mining and smelting companies, has proposed the 10 Principles for Sustainable Development. The 10 principles are to promote the establishment of a material-cycle society through management of the entire supply chain of the industry, starting from mining, smelting, and processing, to consumption, disposal, recovery, and recycling of metal products. Although we are not a member of ICMM, we support the 10 Principles for Sustainable Development and are working on them.
Initiatives in the Metals Sector
Integrated Report 2021 Business Strategy
Breakdown of usage by type of raw material (FY2020)
Waste Reduction Initiatives
Each manufacturing site strives to reduce waste by minimizing used resources and increasing efficiency. We are working to reduce the final disposal volume by improving the recovery rate of valuable resources, promoting the 3Rs of packing materials, and improving the yield rate of manufacturing processes. In the Environmental Action Plan revised in 2018, we are committed to reducing the generation of waste throughout the Group and set a target basic at each business site.
Prevent Air Pollution
Each manufacturing site of Mitsui Kinzoku Group monitors the following in accordance with laws, regulations and ordinances and voluntary standards: Sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions produced on the combustion of fossil fuels containing sulfur, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from boilers, incinerators and other combustion equipment, and particulate matter. We work on gathering and managing the monitoring results from each site, and sharing the initiatives and the technologies within the Group.
Reduction of Hazardous Chemical Substances Emissions
Each manufacturing site of the Group files the release and the transfer amount of chemical substances to the government under the Act on Confirmation, etc. of Release Amounts of Specific Chemical Substances in the Environment and Promotion of Improvements to the Management Thereof (Law concerning Pollutant Release and Transfer Register [PRTR] ). The management of hazardous chemical substances contained in products has become an essential requirement. We also respond to the guidelines for chemical substances contained in products, such as the RoHS Directive and the REACH regulations required by customers.
We aim to reduce the emission amount of environmental pollutants in accordance with the Environmental Action Plan, including our overseas sites. We continuously strive to collect and replace chemical substances that may cause environmental pollution. Thus we focus on reducing and removing use of such chemical substances from our products.
Environmental Contribution Product
In order to achieve a carbon neutral society, including our operations, and to realize a recycling-based society, we recognize that it is essential to create and develop products and businesses that contribute to the reduction of environmental impact in response to the social demands. In accordance with this, we evaluate the environmental impact of our products at each stage of their life cycle from the perspective of life cycle assessment (LCA), and define products that lead to the reduction of environmental impact and mitigation of social issues as Environmental Contribution Product. In FY2020, we started to operate a system to certify the environmental contribution products in our group.
Efforts for 3R in Kyushu Miike Area
In FY2020, the Miike Rare Metal Plant of the Engineered Powders Division of Mitsui Kinzoku and Miike Smelting Co., Ltd. established a process to effectively utilize byproduct chloride compounds, in cooperation with local companies. Hydrochloric acid produced as a byproduct in another company’s manufacturing process was previously disposed of by a waste disposal operator. The Miike Rare Metal Plant uses the byproduct in its material melting process and has subsequently reduced the amount of hydrochloric acid purchased for use in the process. The chlorine solution byproduct of this process had been neutralized and discharged as wastewater. However, by reusing it for neutralizing exhaust gas and in the washing process at Miike Smelting, we have reduced the amount of neutralizer and wastewater. This initiative has enabled us and the local companies to effectively utilize the byproduct chloride compounds. Going forward, we will further increase the rate of reuse, thereby promoting our 3R activities.
Appropriate Use and Management of Water
Water is an essential resource of the earth and is indispensable in the manufacturing process of our group. Mitsui Kinzoku Group works to use water appropriately and to preserve the water environment. Our Environmental Action Plan stipulates the appropriate management of water intake at each site and the appropriate management of the amount and quality of wastewater discharged.
We also consider it important that all employees have access to safe drinking water and a sanitary water environment, and we have installed sanitary facilities and are working to raise awareness of water conservation at all of our sites.
Appropriate Use of Water
Mitsui Kinzoku Group strives to reduce water consumption and recycle water in its business activities. At our manufacturing sites, we monitor water usage, wastewater discharge , and reuse/recycling volumes to ensure efficient water use. In particular, at smelting sites that use a lot of water, we promote the reuse of wastewater from ore dressing and of cooling water, as well as the use of seawater and rainwater and their reuse/recycling.
Reduction of Water Pollutants
Each manufacturing site monitors the status of water quality, including BOD and COD, which indicate the amount of organic matter in wastewater, in accordance with laws and regulations . Some sites have established their own voluntary standards, which are stricter than the laws and regulations. In addition, the results of monitoring at each site are collected and managed group-wide, and we share emission reduction efforts and technological solutions.
Survey of Water Stress Areas
Mitsui Kinzoku Group uses the World Resources Institute's (WRI) AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas to assess water risk for each of its domestic and overseas manufacturing sites. We identified sites located in areas where water stress* was rated as Extremely High (>80%) or High (40-80%) by the AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas. These sites have a total water use of 51.7 thousand m3 and account for 0.17% of the Group's total water use. We will continue to monitor and analyze water risks comprehensively, including detailed surveys of areas with high water stress, to preserve water resources and minimize the impact on our business.
*Water Stress assessment provided by AQUEDUCT Water Risk Atlas.
Water Use in Water Stress Areas
(FY2020, thousand m3)
|Water Stress Assessment
|| Percentage of Water Use
| Extremely High (>80%) Areas
| High (40-80%) Areas
| Medium - High (20-40%) Areas
| Low - Medium (10-20%) Areas
| Low (<10%) Areas
※Global consolidated basis, excluding seawater usage.
Water Management at Mines in Operation