Mining companies defend social responsibility legacy

by Trust Matsilele 0

Lonmin begins its post-strike rebuilding process Indaba is a platform where leaders from the mining and resources sectors engage in discussions. PHOTOS: Getty

AngloGold Ashanti’s chief executive Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan addressing the Joburg Indaba this Thursday said his company had focused more on people, safety and sustainability.

He added that the group delivered on its social responsibility at the same time fighting to beat down inflationary pressures.

(READ MORE: Labour can contribute positively to the industry: Baleni)

Venkatakrishnan said his company had embraced technology in bid to improve employee safety throughout its operations.

“We put a lot of training to change behaviour and tolerance and we also managed to finish the third quarter free of fatality through all of our global operations,” he said.

“We are now 202 days without fatality in the business as we have learnt through our previous accidents on how to improve our safety measures.”

He however said the company’s gold production was on a decline partly due to low grades.

Venkatakrishnan added that the company was not mining deeper because of expenses and this was coupled with rising electricity and employment costs.

He said the group intended to establish a gentle mining method going forward adding that the group would work towards that project in the next 18 months.  

(READ MORE: Mechanisation does not necessarily lead to job losses)

Neal Froneman, Sibanye Gold’s chief executive also addressing the Indaba said mining companies required good relations with employees as delivery was ultimately depended on workers.

“Marikana was a turning point for the industry especially in transforming social relations,” said Froneman.

“Mining companies had to take on many issues that under normal circumstances they would not deal with like migrant labour transportation,” he said.

Froneman also added that his group had trained or educated over 6,000 of its employees and community members through its Care for iMali programme.

Care for iMali programme is a financial literacy program which was started in order to help employees and community members understand their finances and the implications of debt and to help them budget better.

The executive noted that some of the challenges they have had to deal with include workers’ unrealistic wage demands and community unrest.

He said dividend sustainability was a key strategic imperative for Sibanye Gold.

Stephen Phiri chief execute of Royal Bafokeng Platinum urged industry executives to refrain from doing or saying things that diminish the reputation of the country as this affected investor confidence.

“We hear a lot of talk about stopping corruption but regrettably corruption seems to be growing into a national sport,” he added.

“You cannot attack the industry consistently and expect owners of capital to keep pouring money into the sector,” a statement that could have been directed to the government.

“Investors want to see a clean government and clear policy framework that promotes investment.”

Phiri said the industry could do this country a big service if it rediscovered its humility and started treating investors with respect and less arrogance.