CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday challenged the mining industry to take ten value-adding steps to hoist the industry into a potent new orbit across the entire continent.
Addressing the Investing in African Mining Indaba, the president said he wished to issue a challenge against the background of government being prepared to listen to the needs of investors, business, labour and communities.
This follows Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe going to the mining industry, unions, communities and a range of people who gave him “wonderful ideas” during the process of developing the Mining Charter in a way that can build the economy of the country.
“This collaboration process means that we all have tasks and I would like to believe that in doing so, government has responsibility, as well as labour and communities,” Ramaphosa said.
The ten value-creating principles that mining companies have been challenged with are:
1. Mining companies should foster inclusive growth in the areas in which they operate. “Gone are the days when you can sink a shaft and remain oblivious to the people. Gone are the days when a mining company can just build a road and reticulate water just for itself. That is not inclusive growth. We now need to pay attention to these important principles. Those who do, are the most successful. We live in world when people don’t want things to happen around them without being engaged and heard.”
2. Companies should partner with local government to help them. “Local governments don’t have full capacity. Investments don’t happen in the Union Buildings or in Parliament but in local areas where local government resides and this is where mining companies should engage with local roleplayers in infrastucture, which must be coordinated to prevent operating at cross purposes. Sometimes it is a painful process but it is something that has to be done,” Ramaphosa said to applause.
3. Companies should invest in the living conditions of their workers by building decent houses. “This is important because it brings to an end the dehumanising migrant labour system, which belongs to the relics of apartheid. Companies need to pay attention to the living conditions of their workers. A number of companies are already offering wonderful solutions.”
4. Companies should invest in education and provide exposure to mining engineering and metallurgy. “I worked with the Prime Minister of Sweden dealing with the future of work and the need to reskill and upskill to manage the work transition from technology change and climate change.”
5. Companies should partner with training colleges to provide work experience to students and draw on well trained graduates. "I would like this to be treated very seriously."
6. Companies should embrace beneficiation and locate markets closer to the site of production. “Several are working with government to develop downstream industries. In the past two weeks, companies who used to see beneficiation as a swear word and say ‘we are miners’ are opening their minds to say ‘we can mine and also add value to it in situ’. Embrace beneficiation.”
7. Companies need to pay more attention to heath and safety and workers should not be exposed to harm.
8. Companies needs to provide internships to prepare South Africa’s youth for the world of work. “Quite often, mining companies are large and small companies can feed off them.”
9. Companies must create opportunities for young women.
10. Companies must have the courage to include workers in their shareholding and to bring them on to their boards. “I would like to encourage companies to have the bravery to do that. Those doing it should be applauded and emulated to ensure a sustainable industry that benefits all.”