Every Friday, SAfm’s radio anchor Elvis Preslin speaks to Martin Creamer, publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly. Reported here is this Friday’s At the Coalface transcript:
Preslin: Mining companies are going all out to combat the deadly scourge of malaria in Africa in compliance with United Nations wishes.
Creamer: A child dies every 30 seconds from malaria in the world and the mines are going all out now to combat this disease in the areas where they work, in compliance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.
They really are succeeding in their efforts, because it seems that if you do take steps against this disease, you can succeed and every dollar that is spent on the continent in eradicating this disease actually adds $12 to the gross domestic product of the continent. Where we see fierce activity and fierce eradication is by the company that is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Glencore, where it is active in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has worked holistically to remove the scourge of this blood born disease.
They have seen the incidence in the areas where they work plummet by 88%. We have also got another listed company, AngloGold Ashanti, on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, active in Ghana. Their figures there are incredible. You see the local hospital that was receiving 7 000 malaria cases a month, it’s down to 200 a month. Not only that, AngloGold Ashanti actually insecticides 1-million dwellings regularly and this is showing a shield of protection around 1,2-million people in Ghana.
Closer to home, in Mozambique, we see another Johannesburg-listed company, South32, working in the Mozal area, where it operates itself and has pushed down the incidence of malaria by 58%. This has an impact all around the region. So, it is some very good work being done by these members of a body that is now called the International Council of Metals and Minerals and a lot of our South African mining companies, including African Rainbow Minerals and Anglo American are members there.
Preslin: South Africa’s meticulous mineral codes are rapidly emerging as global world beaters.
Creamer: These are the Samcodes, the South African Mineral Reporting Codes. In other words they protect investors on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). When you go on to the JSE, it is very difficult to know the value of the metals and minerals in the ground of the companies in which you are investing. As we read in the papers today, they are saying that South African workers are now the biggest investors on the JSE through their provident and pension funds.
So, how do you protect these investors, when you have got metals and minerals in the ground? How do you measure all that accurately and do it ethically? We have actually set a pace for the world here.
We have got the Samrec code, which is involved with the resources, reserves and exploration. We have got Samval, where you value that and this is now being accepted. We see that there will be a large delegation of probably 20 to 30 people coming from China in October. They are coming to observe the way our codes work here, how we protect our investors and how the JSE interacts with all this. It is incredible because this is done by professionals at their cost.
The South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy doesn’t get any help with the fund for this. It does it through the member fees. They do a lot of training as well, which generates some revenue. Also, the Geological Society of South Africa fund this. It is all in the interest of creating something reputable in which people can invest.
We see that Kazakhstan has brought this code that had South Africans go to Kazakhstan to show them how to develop this code. We are the leaders there, but of course, it started in Australia many years ago, but we have gone very quickly to catch up and we see now that our South African’s like Ken Lomberg lead the international body on this reporting.
Preslin: De Beers has concluded a R600-million black economic empowerment deal at its rich diamond mine in Limpopo.
Creamer: This is a breakthrough for actually getting the community empowered in business. We know that the usual suspects normally pitch up when you do a big BEE deal, but this is not a BEE deal affecting diamonds as such, it is the transport. The 3 500 workers at Venetia mine in Limpopo they travel around the clock, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, because the mines operate around the clock.
What they have done is they bought in five different sets of BEE partners and created two businesses that will not only now take control of the actual operation in a 51% over five years, but they will also have the power in eight years to try and renew the contract. But, at that stage they are hoping that they will be so developed as business that their vision will go beyond the borders of the mine, because they say there is huge activity around Musina to go cross-border into Africa.
Preslin: Thanks very much. Martin Creamer is publishing editor of Engineering News and Mining Weekly.