Environmental Impact Assessment
Mozambique LNG will be developed in a location with no existing industrial development. The project participants recognize that an LNG development of this scale at this particular location requires great care and a dedicated commitment to avoid, mitigate and manage impacts, and optimize positive environmental and social benefits that may result from the project’s development. To assess the extent of potential environmental, social and health impacts that need to be managed during construction and operation, the project conducted a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) between 2011 and 2014.
Following an environmental and social field reconnaissance, the potential sites were evaluated to screen out potential site options. This allowed the project to focus on select areas of the Cabo Delgado and Afungi Peninsulas as potential options for detailed evaluation. A second, more detailed, field reconnaissance was carried out to characterize the sensitivities of each site. This time a comparative analysis was conducted to determine which site was preferable from the marine ecology, terrestrial ecology and socio-economic perspective. This analysis identified similar socio-economic characteristics on both sites but noted that the Cabo Delgado option held substantially more ecological constraints. The goal of the site selection process was to identify the best location to develop the project, while minimizing likely impact to the extent possible.
The EIA concluded when the Ministry of Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA) approved the final EIA Report on June 20, 2014.
Environmental & Social Management
The conclusion of the EIA led into the development of an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP). The ESMP consists of a program of measures and actions to manage project-related environmental, social and health risks and impacts on the Afungi peninsula and wider host environment, specifically during the construction phase of the project. The ESMP also outlines practical and measurable ways in which to enhance positive impacts and opportunities associated with project development. Collectively, the ESMP articulates the project’s approach to environmental and social performance management.
The ESMP is being developed in line with Mozambican regulatory requirements as well as industry best practice performance expectations, standards and guidelines. Some of the relevant industry best practice performance expectations, standards and guidelines includes the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Environmental and Social Performance Standards (2012), Equator Principles (2013), UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011) and the global oil and natural gas industry association for environmental and social issues, IPIECA, industry guidelines.
Within the ESMP, responsibility for implementing the environmental, social and health management plans and procedures is shared between the project operator and the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors. Some plans are referred to as ‘Company Plans’ (implemented by the project operator) and others as ‘Contractor Management Plans’ (implemented by the EPC contractors and subcontractors).
The company plans include a Stakeholder Engagement Plan, a Community Investment Plan, a Community Health Management Plan, a Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and a Resettlement Plan.
In addition, a series of support studies have been conducted between 2012 and 2015. The assessments, findings and recommendations in the studies have been included across various plans within the ESMP. Support Studies include a Revenue Management Study, a Project-Induced In-migration Risk Assessment and Action Plan, a Gender Assessment and a Human Rights Assessment.
The Contractor Management Plans (CMPs) consist of a suite of environmental and social management plans. Environmental CMPs include pollution prevention plans, natural resources plans and activity specific plans. Social CMPs address labor and worker relations, community relations and cultural heritage. The CMPs will form the basis for ongoing stringent monitoring and reporting by contractors and the company to track compliance with environmental and social performance expectations.
The ESMP will form the basis of communicating the project’s environmental and social management commitments and performance to third parties including the Government of Mozambique, the project Independent Environmental and Social Consultant (IESC), project Lenders and other stakeholders.
The greater project area and region is characterized by important vegetation including coral rag forest and coastal dry forest, miombo woodland, and wetland and mangrove areas. Palma Bay is 45-kilometers south of the Rovuma River and forms the northern boundary of the Quirimbas Archipelago that comprises 32 islands with associated coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, sandy beaches and mud flats.
The coastal habitat forms a vital link between offshore and onshore biodiversity ecosystems, integral for supporting marine, coastal and terrestrial livelihood activities. The faunal diversity within the project area and region is diverse and functional, with many regionally important or protected IUCN Red-Listed species having been identified in the Afungi project site.
The project recognizes biodiversity as one of the pillars of sustainable development and is committed to design, construct and operate the project in a sustainable manner that values the health, socio-economic and environmental contributions of biodiversity, thereby contributing to the maintenance of diverse ecosystems services within the region. The project will also promote biodiversity conservation within the areas directly and indirectly impacted by its activities.
Between 2013 and 2014, extensive baseline ecological augmentation studies were undertaken, building on the studies conducted during the EIA. The studies were conducted in the wet and dry season and aimed at detailing the terrestrial (onshore) and marine (offshore) existing ecological environments as precisely as possible. The baseline augmentation studies investigated the seasonal effects and provided an opportunity to update the faunal inventory with the addition of observation frequency data. Based on environmental/ecological findings, certain areas within the project site have been classified as ‘no build zones’ and will not be developed.
Information from the baseline ecology studies will inform the undertaking of an ecosystems services assessment, as well as the project’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan that is being developed in line with the requirements of the IFC’s Performance Standard 6..