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Issue 10 of 38 Next Issue | Previous Issue | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38
March 2012
 
NATIONALISM NOT A VIABLE POLICY FOR SA

“We have consistently maintained that nationalisation is not the policy either of the ANC or the government of South Africa and that, when all is said and done, the ANC will adopt a policy position on this issue that is in the best interests of South Africa.” So said minister of mineral resources, Susan Shabangu, in her welcoming address at the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town recently.

“We have consistently maintained that, were it not for the mining industry lagging behind in terms of implementing the provisions of Mining Charter and the MPRDA, through, among other things, instances of fronting, this debate would not have been there in the first place,” she added.

“I welcome the fact that the report of the ANC’s task team on nationalisation has reinforced the ANC’s earlier decisions that nationalisation is not a viable policy for South Africa. This is not a surprise. It demonstrates the consistency but pragmatic policy that has guided the ANC over many debates including the period of the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1955 and, even more recently, the period after 1994.”

The task team said nationalising the country’s mines would be disastrous and recommended that increased taxes on the industry should be considered instead.

Beneficiation

In her address the minister also focused on the issue of beneficiation, stressing that it is a critical component of the industrial and economic development framework and the vehicle through which South Africa’s resource based comparative advantage can be transformed into a national competitive advantage.

“To this end, a beneficiation strategy has been developed to maximise the returns from the exploitation of our mineral resources,” she said. “The beneficiation policy identifies five pilot mineral value chains: iron ore and steel, energy, autocatalytic converters and diesel particulates, titanium and the jewellery value chain. The fist two of these are complete and we are in the process of finishing the final three.

“It is not our intention to force mining companies into being manufacturers, but rather to address the challenge of the inaccessibility of our raw materials as an impediment to greater local beneficiation.”


BHP BILLITON TO FUND SMALL BUSINESS

BHP Billiton recently announced that it was funding a Soweto-based Centre for Small Business Development (CSBD) to the tine of R2.1-million to train small businesses in Soweto and other Gauteng townships. The CSBD is an initiative of the University of Johannesburg. Its focus is on creating a centre of excellence for the development of small businesses, and aims to develop and implement programmes and strategies that will enable small business owners to graduate from their existing very small enterprises to small and medium enterprises with higher levels of operation and profitability.

The BHP Billiton funding announced by Felleng Yende, senior manager of transformation will be invested in the Small Business Enrichment Programme aimed at strengthening the very small and informal entities in townships so that they become more competitive. Thus far 350 small businesses including taxi owners, some from Sasolburg and Mahikeng, have benefitted. In her address she said, “We believe in resourcing the future: if we do not foster the entrepreneurial spirit displayed by South Africa’s small and medium business owners today, the people of our country will find that achieving a bright future in which we all can share will be that much more f\difficult tomorrow”.


LONMIN’S JOURNEY TO SAFETY EXCELLENCE

Lonmin Plc was recently honored by the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa with a host of prestigious industry safety awards – taking 14 of the Association’s 36 annual prizes for safety excellence.

Commenting on this high level recognition, mark Munroe, executive vice-president mining, said: “I’m delighted for the team. This means a lot to us, but we’ll be striving just as hard to improve tomorrow as we were yesterday. That’s the nature of what we do.”

The company’s operations comprise 11 shafts and inclines situated in the Bushveld Complex. Lonmin is one of the world’s primary producers of platinum group metals and has been granted a new order mining licence for its core operations.

Jacques Erasmus, senior manager safety at Lonmin, says the company’s safety journey began in earnest during 2006 when management instituted a critical mindset change from fatal accident prevention to injury prevention. “Looking at the statistics since 2006, it’s evident that Lonmin has a history of maintaining a good safety record and that we are continuously striving to improve on it,” he says.

Following a tragic series of fatalities in early and mid-2011 management organized a safety day on 14 April 2011, when production at the Marikana mining operations was stopped and all employees signed a safety pledge. The event included an underground safety shift to inspect, risk assess and address all identified hazards.

This event was followed by a joint safety summit involving all Lonmin stakeholders, during which the group reflected on its current safety performance and agreed on a joint strategy.

“Although it’s difficult to identify which of these practices is achieving the best results, visible felt leadership is certainly up there with the best of them. It brings the company’s leaders right down to operational level to interact with the workforce and this allows them to get a better understanding both of the challenges and successes experienced by the workforce. Even Mark Munroe contributes weekly in the underground meetings to share and hear about successes.

The future

In the wake of Lonmin’s September 2011 safety summit, four areas of safety improvement have been identified. Task teams function under the guidance of a vice-president and, together with employee representatives, are working on those four areas to bring to light actions and ideas that will achieve a vision of making Lonmin even more successful and the safest mining operation in the industry.

“Safety is not just about the people at the top,” concludes Erasmus. “It all starts with each operational team member making a difference by acting in an appropriately safe manner and it builds from there. No task is so ‘important’ that it cannot be carried out safely!”

 

 

 

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