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 process concluded when the Ministry of Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA) approved the final EIA Report in June 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.
The Mozambique LNG Project is planned to be implemented onshore of the Rovuma Basin, in Palma District, Cabo Delgado Province. The Project is expected transform the local and country economy, bringing about significant improvements in people’s lives and livelihoods.
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 ecosystem services within the region.
Extensive baseline ecological studies detailing the terrestrial (onshore) and marine (offshore) existing environments were undertaken to inform the siting of the project with many areas being excluded due to considerably high biodiversity value. Further, where able, Project infrastructure has been altered to avoid sensitive areas (e.g. pipeline corridor and/or routes) and certain areas within the onshore project areas have been classified as ‘no build zones.’ The final Project site selected was found to be an area that has experienced significant anthropogenic modification, to the extent that most of it was depleted of natural habitat features thereby avoiding large tracts of dryland forest and coastal wetlands, a predominant feature of the coastal region of northern Mozambique.
The Mozambique LNG Project’s biodiversity strategy is to promote the sustainable management and use of natural living resources in the area in which the Project will operate. The following objectives have been identified as a priority to meet this goal:
- Outline the Project’s commitment to biodiversity and ecosystem services management and conservation;
- Apply the mitigation hierarchy in Project activities to reduce adverse impacts on biodiversity;
- Integrate environmental and social monitoring protocols to assess priority biodiversity features and safeguard community needs;
- Engage relevant stakeholders in the management of biodiversity and natural resources; and
- Evaluate opportunities to align with relevant third-party regional biodiversity initiatives.
The figure below presents the Project’s overall framework for managing biodiversity risks under the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standard (PS) 6 (including ecosystem services), applicable Mozambican regulations and industry best practice, highlighting key outputs that will be developed associated with the Project development phases.