and Liability Act (CERCLA, otherwise known as Superfund). More recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used CERCLA to address active mining operations. There is no evidence that this attention from the general public or the regulators will diminish, and mining companies in the United States can expect an ever-increasing level of scrutiny and control over their operations.

Proper concern and regard for the environment is one of the fundamental elements of any successful business strategy. Given the increasing level of attention to environmental issues in the mining business, it is even more critical today, as illustrated by the experience of Kennecott Corporation. Kennecott Corporation—a wholly owned subsidiary of RTZ, PLC, the largest mining company in the world—manages mining operations and exploration activities across North America, including several low-sulfur coal mines in the Powder River Basin, precious metals mines in the Southeastern and Western United States, and copper mines in Wisconsin and Utah. Kennecott is best known for its Bingham Canyon copper mine near Salt Lake City, which generates one-sixth of the total U.S. copper production. Kennecott's environmental strategy is based on an environmental policy that builds from a foundation of compliance with the legal, regulatory, and consent requirements of the countries and localities in which it operates. The firm's environmental policy attempts to strike a balance between society's need for metals and an environmentally sound approach to operations.

In general, the company's environmental policy dictates that its operations go beyond simply meeting current regulatory standards. The operations must exemplify best contemporary practice for the minimization and, where feasible, elimination of adverse environmental effects. The company does so by

  • incorporating environmental matters as a basic part of short- and long-range planning for all projects and operations;

  • complying with all applicable environmental laws, regulations, and prescribed standards and criteria, and ensuring that its contractors do likewise;

  • participating in the development of environmental legislation;

  • promoting and, where feasible, implementing new or more effective practices for environmental protection, compliance, and emergency response;

  • taking reasonable measures to ensure that Kennecott operations are responsive to the environmental needs of the communities in which they operate; and

  • regularly reporting Kennecott's performance on environmental matters through the Board of Directors to RTZ, PLC, Kennecott's parent corporation based in London.

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