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Making a positive contribution

This year’s Nedbank ­Capital Green Mining awards indicated that mining companies were taking their corporate responsibility outcomes seriously. Many were taking steps to minimise their environmental footprint, uplift communities in the areas in which they operate and emphasise sustainability in a major way.

Launched in 2006, the awards recognise and celebrate the important contribution that responsible, sustainable and environmentally aware mining and mineral beneficiation make to the economic development of South Africa and Africa. “Environmental responsibility, socioeconomic development and sustainability are core to the South African mining industry’s ongoing success and positive impact,” said Peter van Kerckhoven, joint head of resources finance at Nedbank Capital.

Anglo American Thermal Coal’s Gypsum housing project and BHP Billiton’s Ongoye Forest project to “turn employee benefits into company profits” were joint winners in the environmental category. The judges said the winners in the ­category illustrated how real socio-economic benefits could be derived from implementing creative solutions to environmental issues.

The Gypsum housing project deals with waste generated directly from mining activities and the Ongoye Forest project tackles existing ­environmental degradation. Anglo American Thermal Coal’s HIV/Aids workplace programme and Kumba Iron Ore Sishen mine’s Ulysses Gogi Modise Wellness Clinic were joint winners in the socioeconomic category. They demonstrated excellence in terms of technical planning, care of people, recognition of parties’ interests to solve problems collectively, depth of partnerships and the positive contribution mining can make to address the prevalence of HIV/Aids.

Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore business won in the sustainability category for its John Taolo Gaetsewe rural research project at Sishen mine in the Northern Cape. The project focuses on identifying, evaluating and locating an appropriate socioeconomic framework for the communities in the John Taolo Gaetswe District Municipality as well as the Kgatelopele and Tsantsabane local municipalities. This targeted, year-long intervention plan, which was designed and implemented in 2009, was part of Kumba Iron Ore’s commitment to increase its knowledge and capacity to drive effective change in the region for years to come.

The research was co-funded by BHP Billiton and Assmang mines. The judges said it was an outstanding example of how a mine’s long-term needs were fully aligned with national, provincial and local development planning needs. Anglo American’s commitment to sustainability secured the company three out of four category wins at the sixth annual awards.

Its executive director in South Africa, Godfrey Gomwe, said: “We are committed, in everything we do, to going beyond ­compliance in order to minimise our environmental ­footprint and uplift our host communities. “Nedbank’s recognition of the strength of our initiatives reinforces that we are on track in terms of achieving these goals and creating real and sustainable change for communities surrounding our operations.”

This article originally appeared in the Mail & Guardian newspaper as an advertorial supplement

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