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DIVERSITY in mining Enabling the Disabled Unlocking opportunities to address exclusion

Women in Mining Levelling the playing fields

Covid-19 Recovery

Mining beyond a global pandemic

ISSN 1999-8872 • R55.00 (incl. VAT)

If its not INVAL, it’s not Invincible


CONTENTS FRONT MATTER Editor’s comment............................................................................................................................2 Foreword.............................................................................................................................................3

WOMEN IN MINING Breaking barriers while making history............................................................................ 6 Transformation, gender equality and diversity in mining....................................... 8


Gender equality in the industry...........................................................................................10 Mining entrepreneurs – a female perspective............................................................. 12

HEALTH & SAFETY Mine OHS amid a global pandemic................................................................................... 15


INCLUSIVITY SA mine companies featured in Bloomberg GEI............................................................ 18 Including people with disabilities – the next frontier in business acumen.......... 19 Involving disabled people in mining.................................................................................... 21 Opportunities for economic participation....................................................................23 Young mining entrepreneurs.................................................................................................25


COVID-19 RECOVERY Mitigating and managing the risk of the spread of Covid-19...............................27 Covid-19 might offer renewed hope for SA’s mining industry..........................28 Considering mandatory workplace vaccinations........................................................30


SKILLS & DEVELOPMENT Mining leadership – it’s a dog’s world...............................................................................32 International Women in Resources Mentoring Programme..............................33 Building skills in mining communities.................................................................................34 SAIMM Young Professionals Council................................................................................36



EMBRACING DIVERSITY in the mining industry

South Africa’s demographics show a diverse population. As such, it is important that this diversity is also reflected in various sectors of the economy, including the mining industry.


or the mining industry, South Africa’s diverse population can sometimes be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it creates opportunities for people from previously disadvantaged designated groups to now become participants in the industry. Women and persons with disabilities are part of these groups. On the other hand, having an inclusive and diverse industry has always been and continues to be a challenge. There are many initiatives, proposals and policies that address diversity and inclusion in mining. Although many have been effective, statistics of designated groups in the mining industry are still quite low. For example, Minerals Council South Africa’s 2020 Fact Book states that women represent just over 12% of the mining industry. This is inadequate considering that over half of South Africa’s population are women.

When it comes to persons with disabilities, the amended Mining Charter proposes that the mining industry should include at least 1.5% of persons with disabilities. According to a 2018 Marginalised Groups Indicator report, over 7% of South Africa’s population are persons with disabilities. Comparing the two, the benchmark proposed in the amended Mining Charter is very low.

Embracing diversity It is imperative that the mining industry embraces diversity and inclusion because this will go a long way in not only achieving diversity targets but exceeding them as well. Embracing diversity means understanding the value of having a diverse workforce instead of purely treating it as a compliance issue. Rather than treating diversity as a tick box exercise, mining companies will appreciate the benefits of having a diverse workforce and in turn be encouraged to increase diversity in the industry. The first step in embracing diversity would be to acknowledge that, although the industry has made progress, there is still much room for improvement. Next would perhaps be open and honest discussions with relevant stakeholders to identify challenges associated with diversity and inclusion and possible solutions to address them. The outcome of such discussions will hopefully lead to a constructive way forward.

Dineo EDITOR Dineo Phoshoko HEAD OF DESIGN Beren Bauermeister DESIGNER Janine Schacherl CHIEF SUB-EDITOR Tristan Snijders CONTRIBUTORS Musawenkosi Buthelezi, Pieter Colyn, Maria Combrink, Tyla Foster, Dibuseng Hlole, Talita Laubscher, Chloë Loubser, Lindiwe Nakedi, Simone Naicker, Bukiwe Pantshi, Olebogeng Sentsho PRODUCTION & CLIENT LIAISON MANAGER Antois-Leigh Nepgen GROUP SALES MANAGER Chilomia Van Wijk PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Jacqueline Modise DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Nomsa Masina


DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR Asha Pursotham BOOKKEEPER Tonya Hebenton SUBSCRIPTIONS subs@3smedia.co.za ADVERTISING SALES Amanda De Beer Tel: +27 (0)72 600 9323 / +27 (0)87 802 5466 Email: amanda.debeer@3smedia.co.za PUBLISHER Jacques Breytenbach 3S Media 46 Milkyway Avenue, Frankenwald, 2090 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 www.3smedia.co.za

Novus Holdings is a Level 2 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Contributor, with 125% recognised procurement recognition. View our BBBEE scorecard here: https://novus.holdings/sustainability/transformation ISSN 1999-8872 Inside Mining. © Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. All material herein Inside Mining is copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.



DIVERSITY and inclusion

This issue of Inside Mining is about diversity and the power of inclusion. I intended to draw from as many voices as I could because the core value of diversity is inclusion. By Olebogeng Sentsho*


hile preparing for the compilation of this foreword, I announced on LinkedIn that I would be taking contributions from anyone who had a burning issue to ventilate. Immediately, I was inundated with passionate appeals to highlight the agenda of the women in the mining industry for the year 2021. The response was overwhelming and so genuine. I realised that as much as women have a transformation agenda in the sector, we have so many other pressing issues that need to be addressed, thereby serving as the infrastructure for that transformation. Inclusivity and leadership development are the key drivers of transformation. To effect the changes we want, we must cultivate leaders that can lead that renewal.

Where the value lies Many of the responses I received had a recurring theme that is underplayed in the mining industry: value. As a multifaceted industry, we need to invest in the bounty of our diversity. The intrinsic value of a diversified workforce in the industry is a central theme that must be prioritised as a business imperative.

Olebogeng Sentsho won the Leader of Tomorrow Award at the 2019 Mining Indaba (Credit: Poppy Photography)

Various minority groups in extractives across the world are aware of this value; however, because that value is not represented on annual reports as a number on the balance sheet, it is not given the requisite attention and priority status. This is a travesty. Technical workplaces are the breeding ground for skills transfer and the cross-pollination of culture and ethics. By marginalising women, the youth and persons with disabilities, we miss out on an incredible opportunity to develop and nurture unique talent. The youth, women, the disabled and SMMEs play a pivotal role in the mineral Inclusivity and economy. Their ingenuity is a job creator leadership and their proximity to technology is a useful resource in a scientific industry. development are the key Unfortunately, mines and the industry at drivers of transformation large are using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to circumvent their ESG obligations to this group of people. Commitments to 30-day payment cycles have fallen to the wayside. SMMEs are failing at an alarming rate and the proprietors of those SMMEs, being women, the youth and the disabled are unable to be economically active. The transformation agenda



does not function without the holistic inclusion of all who work in the mineral economy. The role of small businesses in the mining industry is to add that critical social value that holds our host communities together. By ensuring that they succeed, we inadvertently enable the diversification of the economy into more lucrative and sustainable sectors. The agenda of women in mining took a backseat to Covid-19. We watched, with sadness, as we lost colleagues and friends to the unrelenting carnage of the disease. We watched, helplessly, as millions lost their lives and livelihoods globally; and many were left without any idea of where to next. As an industry, we had to pull ourselves out of the wreckage of the pandemic and ensure that operations became productive again while minimising the risk of spreading the deadly disease. The pressure was on us to preserve jobs and productivity while maximising profits to make up for the damage caused by the hard lockdown. Many operations went on care and maintenance with few returning to full productivity in the junior mining space.

The fight against Covid-19 The return to productivity was spearheaded by some of the most undervalued employees in mining: the safety, health, environmental and quality (SHEQ) control officers. They faced a mammoth task to guide the industry through a pandemic while ensuring the safety of miners on a shoe-string budget. Many were expected


to innovate screening and detection protocols within days of receiving the government regulations. They spent countless hours designing and redesigning access protocols in line with complicated requirements. Their ability to facilitate the commencement of operations is why many in the industry were able to resume mining within a short space of time and recoup their losses. Recently, Minerals Council South Africa announced that it would assist in the vaccination effort by facilitating vaccinations at its private facilities. This commitment to health and safety is a testament to the soul of our industry and must be reflected in how we treat and remunerate those tasked with the work of keeping us healthy and safe at work. The majority of SHEQ officers in the industry are women. Unfortunately, their importance is often overshadowed by production targets and profits, leaving them standing alone, fighting for workers’ health. We have been reminded, through trauma, that the health and safety of all employees must remain paramount. It is important that we acknowledge and understand value. Our collective health is valuable and those who fight to protect it are valuable too.

Missed opportunities The agenda put forward in the responses to the LinkedIn appeal illuminated a missed opportunity for the industry. Understanding women, youth and



Diversity is vital to the success of any business

the disabled in mining is an opportunity to cultivate innovators and pioneers in the industry. Their invaluable contribution is missed because the relentless physicality of the work required undermines their ability to do it. The industry on the African continent has not yet adopted the technology to prioritise skill over strength. Once this technology is adopted, it won’t matter if you are a man or a woman in mining, everybody will be able to do everything. Once we change that dynamic through technology, I think we will then level the playing fields. The industry has mechanised and even automated globally. Unfortunately, the marginalised professionals in sub-Saharan Africa are still excluded from contributing because the local mining companies are manacled by an inability to understand their value. This foreword is not about demographic representation; numbers are not important. What matters here is impact. With transformation agendas at their most fragile as a result of political shifts towards the empowerment of women and the disabled, we need to re-examine the importance of ensuring that industries such as mining are dominated by women. Corporates often advertise that they have ‘empowered’ a set number of women within the organisation, as if they have done those women some sort of favour. Fish cannot be applauded for swimming. Mining companies should be empowering women in their workforce. It is not a favour – it is a sustainability imperative. If they

are not doing it, their companies will suffer in the long term. Holistic diversity is vital to success in any business. An ever-growing body of research shows that genderbalanced teams create better outcomes, better solutions, and improved financial performance. The mechanisms of transformation require the system to prioritise the marginalised. Women need to take centre stage in this endeavour because – unlike the dominion practised by men over women for centuries – women are not seeking autonomy, but rather equality. They require governmental structures to deviate from conventional policies and procedures to accelerate meaningful reform and inclusive growth. This deviation is often construed as corruption because it is a parallel system; however, parallel is not opposite. The systems have the same goals: maximum productivity facilitated by good governance. It is jarring because often, the processes feel unnatural and forced but that is exactly how they need to be to make meaningful inroads into holistic transformation. It is an uncomfortable process. There are no straight lines through it. We need to remain focused on the goal: widespread inclusive growth and the industrialisation of our economy. That growth will come from our commitment to the cause and our ability to harness the productivity of all men and women at their most empowered. *Olebogeng Sentsho is a mineral economist and the CEO of Ayana Group.



Breaking barriers while making


When Veronica Moratuwa De Koker applied for a job as a drill rig operator, little did she know that she was making history as part of an all-female drill crew at Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore Mine in the Northern Cape. By Dineo Phoshoko

Veronica Moratuwa De Koker pictured inside Rosond’s new fully remote-controlled drill rig (Credit: Rosond)


he all-female drill crew was trained by drilling contractor and technology provider Rosond as part of a R2 billion multiyear agreement to develop and implement a next-generation drilling contract. The partnership is a culmination of a long-term relationship between Rosond and Anglo American that spans 40 years. The agreement follows an exhaustive process undertaken by Kumba Iron Ore to modernise its geoscience operations and extend the life-of-mine at Kolomela and Sishen in order to elevate safety standards and improve productivity. Rosond dispatched the final batch of 28 state-of-the-art drill rigs to Kumba in December last year. Ricardo Cravo Ribeiro, managing director, Rosond, explains that the new drill rigs are fully remote controlled, with operators working within an airconditioned control room that has its own restroom attached. This allows for a much higher level of safety


because there is a lot less manual intervention in the operation of the drill rig. A lot of the work that previously had to be done manually is now automated. “Usually this job takes substantial physical strength due to the handling of rods and heavy equipment that must be loaded on to the machine. Up until now, it has made it difficult to employ women in this capacity. Now that we are in the process of implementing this technology, the opportunity also arose for several women to be deployed at Kumba,” says Ribeiro. This is paving the way for the future of gender equality in the mining industry itself. Recruiting and training the all-female team formed part of Rosond’s agreement with Anglo American. Inside Mining spoke to De Koker, who was the first female crew member who successfully made it through the recruitment process.


WOMEN IN MINING The dream Growing up in Dingleton, De Koker’s interest in the mining industry was piqued by dump trucks deployed at nearby Sishen. “I was ready for that challenge, as I wanted to see what was happening at the mine,” she says. Prior to this, De Koker was unemployed and staying at home. She explains that working in the mining industry had always been a dream of hers. “I just wanted a career [in the industry].” A lack of financial assistance hindered her from furthering her studies after matric and ultimately pursuing her dream. Securing a job as a drill rig operator not only changed De Koker’s employment status, but created an opportunity for her to work in the mining industry, as she had always dreamt. “I was excited and happy. I wanted to cry and didn’t know what to do with myself,” she says. On-the-job learning After the recruitment process, De Koker underwent training for a month at Rosond’s workshop in Postmasburg. On the morning of her first day of training, De Koker remembers being the only woman at the bus stop, making her even more nervous. “I was very scared, but I steadied myself. I told myself that I could do it,” she explains. When she arrived at the workshop, she was soon at ease after being welcomed by her soon-to-be colleagues. She didn’t know what to expect but was encouraged by the fact that she managed to secure a job that would set a new benchmark for gender equality in the mining industry. She soon realised that she had nothing to be worried about as she got a lot of help and support from her colleagues. With the assistance of her training officer, De Koker’s training progressed well. De Koker also became a pillar of support for the rest of the female crew who followed. She says that they all

continue to support each other to this day. “We helped each other through thick and thin.” As an all-female crew, the women felt that they had a lot to prove. “We told ourselves that we are going to do it and we made it,” says De Koker. Full-circle moment Once training and induction were completed, De Koker moved to the Sishen site where she would be working. Arriving on-site was another learning experience, as it was a different environment compared to the workshop. “The practical tests and the job itself are really different. At the workshop, you pursue theoretical training but in the field you get to experience the machine on-site,” she says. Finally, being on-site was such a profound moment for De Koker in realising her lifelong dream. She and her team were well received at the mine by their mostly male colleagues – something that she did not expect. “They were happy to see us on-site and they wished us luck.” De Koker adds that everyone on-site was also very supportive. This is testament to the diversity and inclusivity of the work environment and culture that Anglo American cultivates at all of its operations. Women in mining Sharing her views on women in mining, De Koker feels proud to be in the vanguard of this important development at Kumba Iron Ore. For young women with similar ambitions to be employed in the mining industry, De Koker advises them to finish matric and further their studies if possible. Once successful, young women must not be complacent in their pursuit of jobs either. “They must know that they can’t relax because it’s tough out here.” De Koker concludes that she is determined to learn and grow even further as she succeeds in this important milestone in her career in the mining industry.

The Rosond team on-site in the Northern Cape (Credit: Rosond)



Transformation, gender equality and diversity in mining Transformation, gender equality and diversity are the keys to unlocking long-term mining sector growth. By Bukiwe Pantshi*


t Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking, our many decades of experience in the local and global mining and resources finance sectors have shown us that there are five fundamental cornerstones required for any mine to achieve sustainable growth over time. These are: • accessible mineral resources – which is the most obvious requirement and, ultimately, the lifeblood of any mine • an effective, well-managed capital structure – which is set up to fully support the activities of the mine, as well as its planned development and growth • world-class technology infrastructure – which enables effective management and facilitates efficiencies • a supportive social and regulatory environment – which not only enables the mine to operate sustainably and profitably, but also gives effect to its social licence to operate • s trong and diverse human resources – a broad range of people that bring all the necessary skills and competencies to the operation. While the vast majority of mines have an appreciation of the first success components in the above list, the human resources element often receives less than its fair share of attention or prioritisation. It is ironic, because highly functional and effective people are arguably the most important support pillar that any mine can have. The simple truth is that to achieve sustainable and inclusive long-term growth, it is imperative that the human resources component of a mining operation is inclusive, diverse and transformed. In order to succeed,


mines must be fully representative of the society in which they operate. And in this country, that society comprises 51% women. Unfortunately, female representation in most mines in South Africa still falls woefully short of this figure.

Female representation in mining A March 2020 report by Minerals Council South Africa highlights this fact, stating that females currently represent just 12% of the local mining workforce. That is despite the fact that many key mining and resources sectors have made some progress, with mines in areas like gold, PGMs, and coal having workforces that include around 19% female employees and managers. Interestingly, this lack of female representation does not appear to be for lack of trying. Most sector participants have been sponsoring female students – in disciplines ranging from geology and engineering to environmental sustainability, accounting and humanities – in relatively large numbers since the early 1990s. Based on this student support, the industry should be at fairly commendable levels of female representation by now. Unfortunately, this is not the case; and it is time for the mining industry to start asking itself why?


WOMEN IN MINING Where are all these female graduates going, if not into mining? Why are they apparently reticent to enter into careers in a sector that offers excellent prospects and opportunities? And why does it appear as if many women who do take up careers in mining end up leaving the industry? This last question is of particular importance. I have personally witnessed a trend where female graduates enter mining company graduate programmes and reach management positions. But very few of these women then progress to positions at senior management and executive levels. It is a concerning phenomenon, and one that certainly requires urgent attention. And there are companies that are making the effort to understand the urgency of the situation. A good example is Exxaro, which has partnered with UNWomen to ensure that its female representation, particularly at senior management levels, is improved. But one or two instances of determination by mines to achieve gender equity is simply not enough. It needs to be a sector-wide priority – not merely in order to comply with regulatory requirements or tick scorecards, but because gender equality, like diversity as a whole, is both a moral imperative and a sensible business choice.

supported by mining companies, a high intake in students for mining-related courses, exceptional experience to tap into for coaching and mentoring, and an awareness of the power inherent in diversity. All that is needed now is the real will to make such diversity a reality. *Bukiwe Pantshi is the principal: Mining and Resources at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking.

To achieve sustainable and inclusive longterm growth, it is imperative that the human resource component of a mining operation is inclusive, diverse and transformed

Diverse workforce Human capital that is diverse is a massive strength in a complex and ever-changing operating environment like mining. It is a proven fact that a diverse workforce, built on gender equality, leads to insightful decision-making, stronger governance, higher productivity and improved financial performance. I have been privileged to witness this truth first-hand, watching a number of leadership teams with good female representation turn around the performance of companies. The experience of Implats is a good recent example of this, where a diverse and inclusive executive team has improved safety, productivity, financial performance and growth significantly. South Africa’s mining sector has all the right ingredients needed to be a driving force in global mining and resources. We have a good foundation, a mature industry with diverse commodities, excellent universities that are still

Bukiwe Pantshi has a mining background and has worked as a geologist for prominent South African mines (Credit: Nedbank)




in the industry Without question, gender inequality in the mining sector persists and is acutely represented by the lack of women occupying senior industry positions. By Dibuseng Hlole*


Dibuseng Hlole believes that there is a lot of potential for women in the mining industry to progress


ost of the decision-makers in many of South Africa’s mines are men. This is partly attributable to women being deprived of opportunities that would enable them to thrive in the industry like their male counterparts. It is important to understand why women don’t progress as much as men in the mining industry. One of the reasons is that women are not treated the same as men in this industry – the perception that physical strength is an industry requirement persists. Access to adequate skills and resources is another factor that prohibits women from progressing successfully in the industry. Under the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) leads the Women’s Rights and Mining organisation. The aim of this organisation is to establish a better understanding of gender dimensions of mining and create awareness and secure commitment to take action and uphold women’s rights in the mineral supply chains. In my opinion, the MFA is not well recognised in most local mines. It is important that institutions such as the MFA collaborate with Women in Mining SA to access the database of women who are active in the sector. From a collaboration point of view, facilitating experience sharing and influencing policy on integration in the mining sector is essential.

Promoting gender equality There are two approaches that can be used to promote


Unlike in previous years, there are many passionate and dedicated women working in the mining industry

gender equality in the mining industry – the technical approach and the collaborative approach. The technical approach mainly focuses on disenfranchised groups of women. These women often come from rural areas or don’t have formal qualifications and are often regarded as small-scale miners. The government often mentions formalising ‘zama-zama’ mines as a way of legalising such mines so that they are included as economic contributors in the mining industry and in the country’s economy. Small-scale miners could potentially contribute 15% to 30% towards mining revenue in South Africa, which is a significant contribution. Establishing and implementing training programmes to assist disenfranchised women will empower them with the following: • equipping them with management skills • preparing basic balance sheets •d  iscovering experienced female mentors in the industry • accessing the markets • upskilling opportunities •e  quipping them with skills to run small-scale operations. On the other side, the collaborative approach concerns women with qualifications in the mining industry. Women should be provided with the necessary resources that will help them to climb the ladder. There are many women with mining-related qualifications that enter the industry, yet do not progress in their careers and remain in the same position for many years. If the MFA works closely with such women, there will be a significant improvement in the progression of women in their mining careers. The current skills available in the mining industry for women are not being sufficiently developed to help equip women and secure sustainable futures for young girls in our industry. Unlike in previous years, there are many passionate and dedicated women working in the mining industry. This means that there is a lot of potential for women to occupy senior positions in the sector. *Dibuseng Hlole is a geologist and CEO of Nichaant Consulting.


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MINING ENTREPRENEURS – a female perspective While the mining industry has seen a rapid rise in the founding of businesses owned by women, their personal experiences are not well researched. The aim of this article is to provide context from the perspective of a woman entrepreneur in the industry. By Lindiwe Nakedi*


he intention is to shed light on experiences and also to try to provide possible solutions for the many challenges encountered by woman entrepreneurs in the industry. In so doing, a mutually beneficial environment for all is created, which in turn allows for more female participation, creating a more inclusive and, therefore, sustainable industry.

My experiences and learnings In my 12 years in the drilling business, I have come to learn of some pitfalls of our approach as entrepreneurs to the mining industry. Yet it must be known that I have also experienced career highlights that have made a difference in my life. However, the eminent role of unconscious bias and psychologically embedded social constructs can cause systematic exclusion, which contributes to the lack of progress for woman entrepreneurs. It is, therefore, pertinent that we embark on a route to solutions to the table that can create the kind of environment that is conducive to present opportunities and fair treatment for all. Many up and coming entrepreneurs – particularly women – enter the industry on the back foot, with the perception that mining houses hold the keys that will open many doors for their business. When told to jump, one jumps regardless of bank balance, thinking that the sacrifice will eventually yield the desired results. I soon realised this was not the narrative I wanted to promote any longer, as it did not serve us. Jumping hurdles is only for track and field – this,


however, is business! I needed to understand that I have a business offering – a service that is needed. Ultimately, my client and I are equal and our approach to our relationship should be governed as such. No one is doing anyone a favour! Female participation is relatively new in the mining industry. As such, it creates a mismatch in the experiences between mining houses and woman entrepreneurs – especially at the contract negotiation stage. As in any negotiation, every party is looking out for their best interest. Mining houses have access to information and resources, as well as the advantage of years of experience that enable them to draft clauses that benefit them or eliminate the risk of loss. It is a different story for new entrants who could be disadvantaged by the lack of flexibility in adjusting those contracts in order to accommodate them. Small businesses are said to be the backbone of society because of the ability to create jobs, so when contracts do not consider the inexperience (or unequal playing field) of new entrants in doing business with major organisations, it keeps them small and unable to grow and make any impact. A possible solution to this is that woman entrepreneurs can empower themselves by leveraging off other people who have been successful in the industry, forming collaborations with allies in the industry to provide guidance and support, and engaging in programmes on contract negotiations and management that will assist in their ability to make empowered decisions. But they need a willing mining company to assist them through the process because



Lindiwe Nakedi has been in the drilling business for 12 years

redressing inequalities is the responsibility and work of all stakeholders involved.

Compliance not a tick box exercise Enforcing compliance can create unintended consequences. For example, mining companies who are unable to drive transformation and inclusivity – from the leadership of the company all the way down into operations – run the risk of merely engaging in tick box exercises when it comes to the compliance of suppliers. This problem is further exacerbated by the incongruency in strategy between head office and operations. Head office may have the noble idea of contracting new companies to do the services that they would normally give to suppliers who have been around for over 20 years. But the operational level finds it difficult to adjust their thinking and approach to new contractors. The resulting backlash for entrepreneurs is that we have sometimes experienced delays and possibly low-key sabotage under the guise of safety compliance. This can cost time and hundreds of thousands of rand before work is done and invoiced for. Often failure to get standard guidelines at inception of the project results in delays and additional costs. The solution here could be a standardised approach to what is required from a contractor from the beginning. This is something that is



Business support is key to the sustainability of the business relationship between mining houses and female-owned businesses

As a woman owning a drilling business, Lindiwe Nakedi has experienced many highs and lows in her career

practised by some mining companies that have more advanced policies on inclusivity when engaging with new suppliers. It is possible for a mining house to give support that does not jeopardise their need for work to be carried out in a cost-effective manner, as well as safely and on time – especially when there is trust between the contractor and the operations team. Company culture plays a major role in integrating and adapting to changes positively. Even though companies like these are few and far between, they do exist.

The outcome The result of these actions can be a loss of income or even liquidation of small companies. My company registered losses of over R1 million one year after the other on a three-year drilling contract. This was not due to a lack of financial management skills. The main reason was that a project was hampered so badly by some of the above-mentioned challenges that the ability to make money was almost impossible. Ironically, the mining company could still report on

their BBBEE scorecard and state that they have a blackwoman-owned drilling company on their books. Some entrepreneurs have borne the brunt of irregular contract management, where bullying tactics are used to keep them from growing or even be able to oppose disempowering actions. These result in women looking for opportunities elsewhere or walking away from contracts. Fearing victimisation or being blacklisted, such women do not speak out or seek help. This perpetuates the mistreatment of women and nothing changes. Many run the risk of experiencing appalling treatment on contracts while doing their best to deliver, just to keep their foot in the door. Not all experiences have been negative; there have been positives brought about by some supplier development initiatives and those should be acknowledged and supported. Furthermore, they should be driven even more intentionally to support the agenda of female empowerment in the mining industry.

Conclusion My experiences detail the narrative of an entrepreneur in the mining space, which is by no means the experience of all entrepreneurs. It is, therefore, prudent that frequent conversations such as these are engaged in by both men and women in the industry. The idea here is to make a lasting difference to our greater mining community – to intentionally create working relationships that are win-win in nature – and to also realise that business support is key to the sustainability of the business relationship between mining houses and womanowned businesses. I understand my role as a trailblazer for other women who will come after me and it is important that they do not fall victim to the same pitfalls but continue to build on the advances we have made in the industry. This is my contribution to the narrative of women in business in mining. *Lindiwe Nakedi owns a drilling business and is part of Women in Mining South Africa (WIMSA).




Mine OHS amid a

GLOBAL PANDEMIC Covid-19 impacted many areas of the mining industry, including occupational health and safety (OHS). Louise Woodburn, GM, KBC Health & Safety Risk Solutions, speaks to Inside Mining about OHS during Covid-19, as well as innovative technologies to drive its improvement in the mining industry. By Dineo Phoshoko


ealth and safety is a broad term that can have different meanings depending on the context in which it used. From a mining industry perspective, Woodburn explains that mining is a high-risk environment and therefore requires a clear understanding of the legislative framework within the sector, to ensure that both employers and employees are protected from risks to which they are potentially exposed. She further adds that it is important to identify possible gaps in the legislative framework, which might require the implementation of relevant systems to assist with risk management. In so doing, a culture of OHS will be entrenched in the industry.

Impact of Covid-19 on mine OHS The global pandemic has mostly had a negative impact on all industries; however, Woodburn believes that there are some positive aspects to draw from Covid-19. From an OHS point of view, the pandemic has created awareness around legislation related to the management of biological agents. Covid-19 falls in the category of biological agents. Woodburn explains that Covid-19 serves as a practical example to manage something that has been widely discussed in the legislation but has been challenging to implement. “It has highlighted the need for health and safety within businesses.” In addition, the pandemic has also highlighted certain vulnerabilities in businesses when it comes to OHS protocols. “It shows us that if we can be proactive with health and safety, we could have

Louise Woodburn has 25 years’ experience in the safety industry (Credit: KBC Health & Safety)


HEALTH & SAFETY actually had a plan in place before the pandemic hit,” she says. Another positive aspect that can be drawn from it is that businesses are starting to appreciate and understand the value of OHS, as well as the importance of identifying risks and having contingency plans in place to avoid serious repercussions in the event of a pandemic.

Adhering to regulations According to experts at the World Health Organization, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to be around for at least two years. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, local and international scientists have been hard at work trying to get as much information as possible and understand the virus better. As such, new information pertaining to the virus is released regularly. Woodburn says that OHS regulations have been updated by the Department of Employment and Labour as and when there is new information about the virus. “They have been updating on a regular basis to make sure that they are catching all the elements that need to be caught.” The pandemic has also put the spotlight on sick leave policies and the number of people taking time off work. Furthermore, it has also helped people understand the consequences of not adhering to Covid-19 regulations. “It has changed the way businesses look at how they are managing health and safety and how it can impact on production if they do not get it right,” Woodburn explains. Within the mining industry specifically, Woodburn believes that, unlike established mining houses, junior miners will also start improving their efforts when it comes to OHS, making sure that they understand their legislative responsibility. “I think we are going to see an uptake in smaller mining houses wanting to be compliant and actually implementing systems.” Considerations for products and technologies Woodburn outlines two key elements to consider when it comes to the latest OHS products and technologies. The first is that all businesses need to have policies and procedures pertaining to OHS. Whether they are documented in hard copies or electronically, it’s important that businesses have their legal framework done.


The second element is complying with the globally recognised ISO 45001 Standard for Occupational Health and Safety. “I think that gives them a basis to then make sure that they are aligned with best practices in the world for managing health and safety,” Woodburn says. Additional information about health and safety needs to be documented and regularly updated. Woodburn advises businesses to have a safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) IT tool that will assist them in keeping track of expiring documents and remain up to date with reviews and the latest information about OHS. A solid IT system further serves as an electronic management tool. More importantly, Woodburn says it is imperative for mine companies to ensure their contractors are ISO compliant. “The biggest challenge that mines have at the moment is that they may have the systems in place, but the contractors they are bringing in are often smaller businesses that don’t have all the processes and policies in place.”

Technologies to enhance mine health and safety KBC has technological innovations that enhance health and safety in the mines. Among them is the Passport 360 Contractor Management System. Passport 360 makes use of QR codes and scanners that create a checklist for OHS requirements on specific equipment or machinery when they are scanned. This is a great innovation for the mining industry because there are different types of equipment and machinery on a mine site, each with their own checklists and registers that need to be checked from a legal compliance point of view. “The QR codes and scanners have enabled us to become more proactive in making sure each piece of equipment has a QR code that can be accessed in real time by anyone working on-site, to understand what the risks are and what the necessary checks and balances are to have them under control,” Woodburn says. AI and BI reporting Artificial intelligence (AI) and business intelligence (BI) reporting is another useful innovation where cameras measure stress levels in the working environment. The information is fed back to a computer that analyses the data using AI. BI technologies then generate a report based on in the AI data. This is beneficial as it enables businesses to identify potentially serious risks. Once risks are identified, businesses would be able to implement the necessary controls to address them accordingly.


HEALTH & SAFETY We have become much smarter in terms of being able to use technology to our advantage.”

Virtual safety officer Most mines have a SHEQ team that consists of safety officers, administrators and other key members. “What we are finding is that a lot of the contractors who are working on those mines and within other industries are battling to be able to afford a full-time resource,” says Woodburn. Instead of a full-time SHEQ team, contractors can use the virtual safety officer (VSO) as an alternative. This option is more cost-effective for contractors as they are billed on an hourly basis instead of a fulltime service. A scope of work is used to determine the potential OHS risks and then a specific programme is customised for clients based on the risks identified. “We unpack with each client to understand what their scope of work is, what their risks are, and how much time they would need.” VSO is divided between face-to-face and virtual interactions between KBC and the client. “Some of that is face to face, where we will physically go

out to the mine site and do audits, inspections and investigations.” During virtual meetings, documentation, policies and procedures are discussed. The virtual interactions are also used to regularly touch base with the clients to find out if they are on track with their OHS needs. “We have become much smarter in terms of being able to use technology to our advantage,” says Woodburn. This includes conducting training, induction and virtual tours of the mine sites. Woodburn stresses the importance of ensuring that the virtual tours are done by a SHEQ professional with the relevant experience. “You need to make sure that the person doing the inspection understands the environment.” To conclude, Woodburn believes that if mining houses compel their contractors to become ISO compliant, there will be an improvement in the level of safety compliance in the industry. “We all need to be striving for best practice.”



SA mine companies featured in Bloomberg GEI In an altered, post-Covid-19 business environment, Bloomberg’s Gender-Equality Index (GEI) highlights practices and policies – including flexible work arrangements – that can create competitive advantages for companies. GEI statistics show that index member companies are hiring more women than they are losing


loomberg announced that 380 companies headquartered across 44 countries and regions are included in the 2021 GEI. For the first time, firms domiciled in Indonesia and Bermuda are reporting gender-related data. The GEI brings transparency to gender-related practices and policies at publicly listed companies, increasing the breadth of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data available to investors. At a time when it is critical for firms to demonstrate their commitment to gender equality, the companies included in this year’s index are setting an example for more transparent reporting and disclosure of social data. “As we continue to grapple with the pandemic, we’ve seen companies put increased emphasis on the ‘S’ in ESG,” said Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg. “The companies included in this year’s GEI are committed to providing an inclusive work environment, supporting work-life balance and flexible work arrangements to retain a talented workforce, and create a competitive advantage in this changing business environment,” Grauer said. Local mine operations featured in GEI Several mine companies with operations in South Africa featured in the GEI. They include: • Anglo American Platinum • AngloGold Ashanti • Exxaro Resources • Gold Fields • Harmony Gold Mining • Impala Platinum • Sibanye Stillwater. Despite raising the threshold for inclusion in the 2021 index, a record number of companies disclosed their


data, and the quality of disclosure continues to improve. This year, GEI companies had a 94% disclosure score on average. While the average disclosure score was high, the average data excellence score was 55%, making it evident there is still work that needs to be done. The data excellence score is broken down into scores across five pillars: female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand. Sibanye-Stillwater was included in this year’s index for scoring at or above a global threshold established by Bloomberg to reflect a high level of disclosure and overall performance across the framework’s five pillars. “We are delighted to once again be included in the Bloomberg GEI, as recognition of the conscious journey that the Sibanye-Stillwater Group has embarked on, to actively promote and create a more inclusive business environment,” said Neal Froneman, CEO, Sibanye-Stillwater. Mxolisi Mgojo, CEO, Exxaro, said meeting South Africa’s transformation objectives through continuous investment in diversity and skills development is important for Exxaro. “The recognition of our gender equality efforts by being included in the Bloomberg GEI has reassured our diversity and inclusion and employment equity strategies in promoting transformation and empowering our employees,” he said. Patricia Torres, global head: Sustainable Finance Solutions, Bloomberg, said that while businesses are looking to maintain strong corporate cultures in today’s virtual world, business leaders have the opportunity to drive progress on gender equality for years to come. “This progress can begin with the GEI framework, which helps companies assess where they are on the path to gender parity relative to their peers, and hold themselves accountable to their goals.”



Including people with disabilities – THE NEXT FRONTIER IN BUSINESS ACUMEN

The necessary facilities need to be in place to accommodate disabled people

The statistics on people living with disabilities are very outdated, with the most recent drawn from the 2011 census. This recorded around 7.5% of the South African population as disabled, with less than 1% of this group being gainfully employed. By Maria Combrink *


ithin the mining sector, 3 500 people with disabilities were employed in 2009 – this accounts for 0.7% of total employment in the mining sector. These statistics are very disconcerting, especially if one looks at the benefits companies can reap when employing people with disabilities.

Benefits of including disabled people in the workforce Employing people with disabilities makes great business sense, as they tend to be more loyal when appointed, are more focused on safety, and are no more likely to be injured than an able-bodied colleague. Creating teams that are diverse build stronger relationships, boost staff morale and improve the company’s public profile. From a financial point of view, companies can employ people with disabilities in an internship position and earn a tax deduction upon completion of the learnership. Unfortunately, many companies do not make use of this opportunity to identify and retain talent. Talent that might be packaged slightly differently from what is expected to be the norm.

Attracting and retaining people with disabilities To attract and retain people with disabilities must be part of the recruitment and selection of candidates. To ensure that reasonable accommodation is already part of the recruitment process, for instance, advertising should be done in an audible as well as a visual format, to ensure that people with visual impairments also have access to the position and opportunity to apply. Regrettably, most recruiters do not know how to respond to applicants with disabilities. However, this can easily be mitigated by identifying exact requirements for a position, clearly describing the necessary skills and capabilities, and setting reasonable criteria. The criteria should be applied to all possible candidates. Should a candidate with a disability be successful, reasonable accommodation in the work environment must be discussed. This might include installing ramps, raising awareness within the team, or acquiring appropriate software. Reasonable accommodation is not a one-size-fits-all solution but must be evaluated on a case by case basis and will be disability dependent.



Companies are starting to realise that there are benefits to employing and retaining disabled candidates

Maria Combrink believes that employing people with disabilities makes great business sense

Companies are starting to realise that there are benefits to employing and retaining disabled candidates – not only for social development but also for the financial bottom line of the organisation. Mining companies such as Harmony are starting to include people with disabilities in their supply chain, Petra Diamonds actively recruits people with disabilities, and Anglo American has joined The Valuable 500 to show its commitment to putting disability on the leadership agenda.

What does this mean to me – a person with a disability – working in mining? Hopefully, this means that I can confidently disclose my disability at the beginning of the application process – without fear that it may hamper my chances of employment. Perhaps it also means that I will still get the opportunity to travel for work and have a seat at the table. It should certainly mean that I get a fair and reasonable shot at a decent career path. *Maria Combrink is a senior data geologist at CSA Global. She regards herself as able and agile.








ith such a significant number of persons with disabilities in the country, it is imperative that they are afforded opportunities to be economic participants across various sectors of the country, including the mining sector. This means including persons with disabilities through direct employment or affording them business opportunities. Different mining companies have various initiatives aimed at including and accommodating disabled persons in the industry. Here are a few:

Harmony Gold: Preferential Procurement Strategy Harmony Gold’s Preferential Procurement Strategy and Enterprise Supply Development Framework was approved in 2019 and formulated with the assistance of an external consultant. “We devised a strategy and it was approved by Harmony’s board of directors in the social and ethics committee,” says Tom Dewet, supply chain manager, Harmony Gold. Using enterprise development initiatives, the strategy includes an internal process to assist potential contractors with challenges they may encounter. The strategy is meant to increase participation of previously disadvantaged designated groups in the mining industry’s economy – which includes persons with disabilities. To ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from economic participation, the strategy prioritises companies owned by persons with disabilities or employs disabled people. “Where those people can do the work, they are allowed to do so. When it comes to adjudication processes, the fact that a person is disabled is in no way or form held against them,” says Dewet.

According to the 2011 Census, approximately 7.5% of South Africa’s population consists of persons with disabilities. The South African Human Rights Commission states that “people with disabilities are at risk of economic isolation with no prospect of securing employment”. In 2019, Anglo American announced its membership of The Valuable 500, a worldwide movement to put disability inclusion on board agendas and encourage global business leaders to recognise the value of the world’s 1.3 billion people living with disabilities. Launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit this year, The Valuable 500 now has more than 200 members. “Our people are critical to all that we do and we strive to promote an inclusive culture with equality of opportunity for all – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or disability – enabling us to appoint the right person to the right role, so that everyone can bring their full self to work,” says Mark Cutifani, chief executive, Anglo American. As part of the commitment to The Valuable 500, Anglo American will continue to foster an environment that involves, supports and enables colleagues living with a physical disability, learning difficulty or mental health issue to reach their full potential. The company’s Enabling You colleague networks, which were launched in 2018, continue to provide education and awareness, extending support to those colleagues who also care for someone living with a disability. “Through our commitment to The Valuable 500, we look forward to working with the organisation and its community of members to do more to put disability on the business leadership agenda,” Cutifani says. Anglo American will continue to implement its global mental health framework to increase mental health awareness, support colleagues, remove any stigma, and encourage openness to build and sustain a safe and positive workplace, with 5% of global colleagues being trained mental health first aiders by the end of 2020. Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500, says, “Anglo American has already made great strides in ensuring



There are opportunities that can be created within organisations to accommodate both new employees and learners with disabilities disability inclusion is on its board agenda, particularly in mental health.” She also explained the advantage of including persons with disabilities in the workforce. “Businesses worldwide are missing out on an US$8 trillion (R115 trillion) market opportunity through failing to include the disabled community, and we encourage more businesses to take note and put this crucial issue on their board agendas.”

Petra Diamonds: NCPPDSA partnership Petra Diamonds formed a partnership to support the National Council for People with Physical Disabilities in Southern Africa (NCPPDSA) in 2014. The company’s first initiative in the partnership was to restore and reopen the Ikageng Skills and Entrepreneurial Development Centre in Kimberley. The centre consists of a workshop that employs persons with disabilities to produce various products such as jewellery. A minibus was also purchased and modified for the specific requirements of people with disabilities to transport them between their homes and the workshop. In 2015, Petra Diamonds entered into another partnership with the NCPPDSA, this time to create income-generating, selfemployment and entrepreneurship opportunities for people with disabilities by establishing a glove-making factory at the workshop. A cooperative will be registered, with all assets to be registered, managed and insured by the NCPPDSA until full production and profitability have been established. MQA: Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Toolkit Persons with disabilities have special needs that need to be considered by businesses. Sometimes creating an environment that accommodates for the various needs of persons with disabilities can be challenging. For this reason, the Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Toolkit was developed to assist companies in the mining and minerals sector with tools that will allow them to ensure concerted efforts are put in place to incorporate people with disabilities in the workplace. Since the establishment of the Mining Qualifications


Authority (MQA) in 1996 – as a result of the Mine Health and Safety Act (No. 29 of 1996), and later established as a SETA in 2000 under the Skills Development Act (No. 97 of 1998) – the MQA was required to ensure that, based on the requirement of the National Skills Development Strategy, 4% of learners and employees in the sector should be people with disabilities. The mining sector is one of the largest contributors to South Africa’s economy; however, it is also a sector that experiences accidents from time to time. The accidents that take place result in injuries, temporary and permanent disabilities, and even fatalities. Employees that become disabled due to work injuries in the mines need to be incorporated into the workplace. Equally, employers are also encouraged to participate in skills development by including employed and unemployed learners with disabilities in all their training and development programmes. Although the underground environment may not be suitable for certain types of disabilities, there are opportunities that can be created within organisations to accommodate both new employees and learners with disabilities. The toolkit will assist to: • guide employers regarding the intake of employees and learners with disabilities for effective inclusion in the mining and minerals sector • equip employers with cost-effective and reasonable options for ensuring that employees access their worksites •p  rovide ideas and recommendations for improving accessibility for people with disabilities and in turn the general public. The mining industry has many opportunities for economic participation. There is no reason for persons with disabilities to be excluded from being economic participants in mining. It is only fair that persons with disabilities also have access to those opportunities in an environment that accommodates their needs.



OPPORTUNITIES FOR ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION Inside Mining attended a webinar, hosted by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), that discussed economic opportunities for disabled people in the mining industry. Advocate Thabo Mokoena, director general, DMRE, presented the keynote address, from which the following article is transcribed.


t is worth noting that the rise of persons with disabilities in South Africa is enshrined in our Constitution. Our government guarantees the dignity of every citizen based on a good quality of life for everyone without regarding race, colour or disability. Accordingly, the White Paper on [the] Integrated National Disability Strategy stated that among the yardsticks by which to measure a society’s respect for human rights, to evaluate the level of its maturity and its generosity of spirit, is by looking at the status that it accords to those members of society who are most vulnerable, with specific emphasis on persons with disabilities in this case. South Africa, as a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is expected to

act consistently with the provisions of the convention and its protocols. The DMRE appreciates its obligation to ensure inclusion of persons with disabilities within all facets of the country’s economy. It is indeed commendable that government continues to provide safety nets in the form of social protection through grants; however, such is a type of relief that can only go so far in addressing the needs of persons with disabilities adequately, as well as affording them with a measure of independence.

Employment and economic participation challenges The DMRE is responsible for two major economic sectors of South Africa. The two sectors are the engine of economic development and play a central role in


INCLUSIVITY the economic empowerment and transformation, and redress of the economic imbalance in the country. It is against this backdrop that the DMRE is availing this platform with the view to provide and outline opportunities in the energy and mining sectors, as well as providing a platform for networks for the disability sector to exploit. The DMRE as an economic department has chosen to conduct a session on economic empowerment for persons with disabilities in the country [to] disseminate information as well as an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate international day for persons with disabilities under the adopted 2020 theme, which refers ‘Not all disabilities are visible’. On the other hand, the department is encouraged by the continued support from mining and energy companies in tackling these challenges. The amended Mining Charter has pronounced employment equity targets of 1.5% participation for persons with disabilities within the mining sector. Notably, a significant number of persons with disabilities in the country are excluded from both employment and economic opportunities. This can be attributed mainly to the following factors: • low skill levels due to inadequate education • discriminatory attitudes and practices • past discriminatory and ineffective labour legislation • lack of enabling mechanisms to promote employment and other economic opportunities • inaccessible public transport • inaccessible and unsupportive work environments • the fact that manual labour is often the only option for poorly skilled job seekers Advocate Thabo Mokoena is the director general at the DMRE

• inadequate access to information • societal ignorance of disability rights. Ladies and gentlemen, may I reiterate that both government and private sector cannot afford to view persons with disabilities as objects of pity. Rather, this sector should encourage, promote and support them to become self-employed, develop their entrepreneurial capacity or even to own and operate their own businesses. To this end, mining and energy companies in the country have a moral obligation to be accessible and inclusive of persons with disabilities as customers, [the] workforce, and business partners.

Enhancing economic empowerment Economic empowerment of persons with disabilities in the country remains a human rights issue of concern for all. We – collectively, as the public and private sector – need to ensure that we comply and implement government policy and legislation to ensure that we include people with disabilities in our workplaces – [as well as] our business value chain for both the mining and energy sectors. All economic transformation initiatives should have a major deliverable implemented and monitored as well as the inclusion and participation of all of you here. The disability-inclusive development strategy incorporated into the mainstream developmental agenda at all levels, accompanied by a deliberate effort to eliminate extreme poverty commonly experienced by persons with disabilities in the country, will really go a long way in economically empowering you. We have invited representatives from both the mining and energy sectors to give us a highlight of opportunities that are available and accessible to you. Such opportunities will cover the full mining and energy value chains. Please listen attentively, learn and follow up on those opportunities that appeal to you. If we follow the disability-inclusive economic strategies, we will have lived up to and also met the aspiration of our former late president Tata Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela who said in 2004: “It is not a question of patronising philanthropy towards disabled people. They do not need the patronage of the non-disabled. It is not for them to adapt to the dominant and dominating world of the so-called non-disabled. It is for us to adapt our understanding of a common humanity; to learn of the richness of how human life is diverse; to recognise the presence of disability in our human midst as an enrichment of our diversity.” I thank you.



YOUNG MINING entrepreneurs

Small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) have been recognised as critical contributors to job creation and economic growth in South Africa. However, very little progress has been made in some of the SMME sectors. By Musawenkosi Buthelezi*


ur sector is one where young mining entrepreneurs – prospectors, geologists and mining engineers – are facing several challenges in a country famous for its abundance of mineral resources, which accounts for a significant proportion of world production and reserves, estimated to be worth approximately US$2.5 trillion (R41 trillion)1. These incorporate admittances to fund capital concentrated on planned greenfield and brownfield mining ventures and the high financial and specialised dangers. With the changing political atmosphere within South Africa and worldwide, it is predicted that junior mining has a significant role to play in the future, as there are numerous potential undiscovered mineral deposits.

Financing challenges Financing is hard to obtain with traditional financing instruments. It is consequently a space where

both innovation and entrepreneurship are required for junior mining organisations, not only to accomplish their medium- to longterm objectives, but also to help draw in much required foreign investment into the country. These organisations include junior exploration, development and mining companies. Currently, there is a huge gap between wellestablished mining houses and junior mining in terms of market capitalisation, with the top 13 big mining houses constituting 95% of the total market capitalisation of all listed mining companies.

For South Africa’s mining sector to remain sustainable and competitive internationally, it must appreciate the emergence of young mining entrepreneurs

Way forward The Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE) should explore the idea of offering incentives to financing institutions to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in order to see the sustainable development



of junior mining companies in an industry dictated by fluctuating commodity prices. This can be achieved by starting with the mining exploration phase, as it can act as a catalyst for future economic growth and business opportunities. Young mining entrepreneurs can be assisted to meet the minimum funding thresholds stipulated by banks and private equity funders. It is worth noting that, in mid-2018, the DMRE – in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) – launched a junior miners’ programme in the form of a junior miner’s fund, which provides exploration investment capital assisting black-owned mining companies. However, the funding criteria are still not clear, and it is also unclear how much has been raised by the fund. South African financing institutions should explore the flow-through share model, which specifically focuses on exploration activities and the government should offer some additional mineral exploration tax to individual investors for grassroots exploration, as is currently practised in the Canadian jurisdiction2. For South Africa’s mining sector to remain sustainable and competitive internationally, it must appreciate the emergence of young mining entrepreneurs with fresh innovative qualities – even though they involve high risk. The other option is for government to issue bonds to promising projects run by young mining entrepreneurs. As they do not possess the assets to serve as surety, these entrepreneurs must put knowledge-based strategies and plans in place to mitigate the risk. References: 1. Citi Bank, 2011. Citi 2010 Annual Report, USA: Citigroup Incorporated. 2. Cavvadas, D. and Nhlapho, T. (2019). How is SA supporting mining exploration and its junior mining industry? https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/ national/2019-01-28-how-is-sa-supportingmining-exploration-and-its-junior-miningindustry. *Musawenkosi Buthelezi is a geologist working in the environmental consulting sphere.


Musawenkosi Buthelezi graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a master’s in geology and an honours in geochemistry



Mitigating and managing the risk of the spread of Covid-19 Covid-19 has forever changed the way that employers manage and maintain a safe working environment, not only in South Africa but also across the world. By Pieter Colyn and Tyla Foster*


n South Africa, employers have a statutory obligation to identify hazards and assess risks in their working places and to implement the necessary measures to deal with such hazards and risks, as far as reasonably practicable. The failure to do so may result in the imposition of fines (including administrative fines) or imprisonment. In May 2020, a guideline for the compilation of a Mandatory Code of Practice on the Mitigation and Management of Covid-19 Outbreak was published in terms of section 9(2) of the Mine Health and Safety Act (No. 29 of 1996; MHSA). The guideline aims “to provide a framework to mitigate and manage Covid-19 outbreak among employees in the South African mining industry (SAMI) and any other person/s they may contact in the community”. The MHSA envisages a three-pronged approach in dealing with health and safety hazards in working places: 1. Health and safety hazards and the risks to health and safety must be identified and assessed In order to mitigate and manage the spread of Covid-19 in working places, as far as is reasonably practicable, an employer is required to consider the working environment of employees and determine which conditions, circumstances and/or conduct (if any) within their working places may contribute to the spread of Covid-19. Employers then need to assess whether sufficient precautions have been taken to mitigate and manage the spread of Covid-19 in working places.

2. The employer must determine all measures that are “necessary” to eliminate, control or minimise the risk of the hazard occurring In order to determine what measures are required to mitigate and manage the risk of the spread of Covid-19 in working places, employers should be guided by regulations, directions, directives and guidelines that have been published by the relevant regulatory bodies.

Employers should be guided by regulations, directions, directives and Pieter Colyn guidelines that has successfully have been assisted several employers in published by conducting health and safety audits the relevant regulatory bodies In this regard, safety measures include sanitising, social distancing and the wearing of face masks, as well as symptom-screening and testing of employees. In future, this might also include the vaccination of employees.

3. If risk remains, the employer is Tyla Foster has conducted required to provide multiple due diligence the necessary investigations relating personal protective to occupational health equipment and to and safety matters institute a programme to monitor the hazards to which employees may be exposed In order to ensure that an employer has effectively fulfilled its statutory duty to assess and respond to the risk of the spread of Covid-19 in working places, as far as is reasonably practicable, employers must establish a proper follow-up system to ensure that the measures implemented to mitigate and manage the spread of Covid-19 in their working places are monitored and adhered to by employees.

*Pieter Colyn and Tyla Foster are both mine health executives at ENSafrica.



Covid-19 might offer renewed hope for SA’s mining industry Like many resource-rich countries, South Africa has built its economy on mining. And, like its international counterparts, the local mining sector has faced the damage of Covid-19-induced closures.


here are numerous factors that have increased the pressures on miners’ balance sheets. They include varying demand for commodities, which has led to reduced export incomes, as well as higher occupational safety costs. Despite these challenges, prominent mining lawyer Yushanta Rungasammy, director and co-head: Corporate & Commercial at law firm CMS South Africa, believes there is renewed hope that, as the industry is forced to reconsider how it operates, this could lead to an overall better outcome in the long run. “Yes, the pandemic has slowed progress on the core issues for the industry in South Africa, being progress with adopting technology and progress with dealing with the various issues causing challenges in the industry. This dovetails with concerns about how junior miners are stymied by the lack of access to funding,” she explains. “It isn’t all doom and gloom, though. The slowing down of mining activity as a result of the pandemic has created an opportunity to rethink and redefine the priorities that the industry needs to focus on.” This is reflected in, among others, the agenda for this year’s Investing in African Mining Indaba, with its substantial focus on sustainability during a time of crisis, and the overarching theme of how the mining industry has been affected by Covid-19. Rungasammy


says this means the local industry has a chance to face some core concerns and address them with a much longer-term focus than previously envisioned. “In particular, it is exciting to see a much broader recognition of the imperative to address junior miners’ needs, a greater openness in the sector as a whole to adopting new technology, and a renewed commitment from the regulator to streamline bureaucratic processes.”

Assisting junior miners and embracing 4IR According to research by Minerals Council South Africa, junior miners hold up to 80% of licences in South Africa but deliver only about 8% of the total revenue generated by the local industry, often due to a lack of funding to progress beyond the basic exploration phase. “The sheer amount of time it takes to secure a mining licence and the struggle to secure capital funding to move from exploration to actual mining activities have both been brought sharply into focus during the pandemic. While the work of the Junior and Emerging Miners’ Desk established by Minerals Council South Africa is quite laudable, a lot still needs to be done,” she says. Rungasammy believes this is an opportunity for the government and the private sector to engage on the various challenges and to be creative around the programmes that can be introduced to assist



The slowing down of mining activity as a result of the pandemic has created an opportunity to rethink and redefine the priorities that the industry needs to focus on.”

junior miners. She explains that using new technologies will result in greater efficiencies, reduced production costs and greater profits, and will unleash the mining industry’s full economic potential. At the same time, it also has the potential to set the sector up for future success, in that new technologies will advance South Africa’s move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). “Even the most cynical among us have come to realise that if they don’t embrace 4IR, South Africa’s mines will find it hard to compete against international mines that have access to better information about their underground inventory, clearer insights into their distribution channels, and more ready access to international customers,” she says. “South Africa’s mining industry can meet these challenges head-on and emerge in a much better position tomorrow, if we make wise decisions today.” Rungasammy is keen to see how the regulator – which has itself been affected by lockdowns and staff shortages as a result of the pandemic – will tackle the call to process licences much faster: “I am hoping that we will see a greater openness to submitting applications in electronic form, without the need for expensive hard copies, and a more transparent view of where a particular application is in the process.”

Yushanta Rungasammy is optimistic about opportunities for the mining industry during the pandemic


Considering mandatory workplace vaccinations The notion of mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 has become a talking point for employers globally. By Talita Laubscher and Chloë Loubser*


andatory vaccinations may potentially speed up the process whereby herd immunity is achieved. But can an employer (as opposed to the state through national legislation, or a court order) force employees to get vaccinated? This is no simple matter. For one, in law, vaccination is a ‘medical treatment’, not a ‘medical test’, and the difference matters. Medical testing is governed by section 7 of the Employment Equity Act (No. 55 of 1998) and is performed to ascertain whether an employee has a medical condition. The Employment Equity Act would come into play in circumstances where the employer requires the employee to get tested for Covid-19. By contrast, South African employment legislation does not specifically regulate when an employee may be required to undergo medical treatment.


An individual’s constitutional right In order to answer this question, the starting point is the constitutional right to bodily integrity and control over one’s body. The National Health Act (No. 61 of 2003; NHA) gives effect to this right and states that medical treatment may not be provided without the user’s informed, specific and voluntary consent. There are certain exceptions to this rule – e.g. where the failure to treat the individual, or group of people that includes the individual, will result in ‘a serious risk to public health’, or where a law or court order authorises the provision of a health service. At this stage, government has indicated that the Covid-19 vaccine will not be obligatory and there is no law requiring anyone to be vaccinated. So, employers considering mandatory vaccination are left with the public health risk exception, together with their own obligations to maintain safe,


COVID-19 RECOVERY healthy workplaces under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 5 of 2003; OHSA), to justify their decisions. Factors such as the level of risk, nature of the workplace, the work performed, and the availability and suitability of means to remove or mitigate the risk come into play. An employer’s obligations will also need to be balanced against an employee’s right to freedom of conscience, religion and belief. Such beliefs must be reasonably accommodated where they form part of the inherent tenets of the particular religion or belief system, unless the means to accommodate result in unjustifiable hardship to the employer.

Applying the law in practice Employers who exclude unvaccinated employees from the workplace are effectively forcing them to be vaccinated, undermining the voluntary nature of consent. However, the extent to which this may be the case will likely depend on the consequences that may arise if the employee is not vaccinated. If the employee simply continues working remotely and is not prejudiced, it may be arguable that the employee retains the ability to decide whether or not to have the vaccine. But, where the employee cannot work remotely and the employer’s policy effectively makes it compulsory to obtain the vaccine to retain one’s job, the voluntary consent principle will be violated. There are circumstances where a mandatory vaccination policy will be permissible, namely if not having the vaccine may create a serious risk to public health. This could be the case in work

environments with large groups of employees, such as call centres, mines and factories. The argument is that this increases the risk of transmission among the employees, and so too the risk of subsequent transmission in their communities. Public health risks may also be triggered in workplaces where the public is served in large numbers or may be impacted, such as retail operations, hospitals and food manufacturing operations. Where there is not a serious risk to public health and there are less intrusive means to ensure a safe working environment (such as physical distancing, mask wearing, hand sanitising, etc.), these measures should be taken. Accordingly, when it comes to office-based roles with limited contact with fellow employees or the public, an employer would likely meet its duty under OHSA by implementing the (now) normal health and safety protocols. In these circumstances, the public health risk exception in the NHA would not apply. In many circumstances, it may be more effective (and carry less legal risk) for employers to educate employees on the vaccine and encourage them to be vaccinated, rather than making it a strict requirement for entry into the workplace. Given the competing rights and potential risks involved, and in the absence of a general law mandating vaccinations, employers will need to tread most carefully when considering making vaccinations compulsory for staff.

At this stage, government has indicated that the Covid-19 vaccine will not be obligatory and there is no law requiring anyone to be vaccinated

*Talita Laubscher is a partner and Chloë Loubser a senior associate from Bowmans.

Talita Laubscher has a keen interest in discrimination law and has published extensively in this field

Chloë Loubser has LLB and BSc degrees from the University of Cape Town



Mining leadership

– it’s a dog’s world Leadership is as old as time, yet it is still something we do not fully understand the science of. Perhaps this is because it is challenging to fully define, as it is alive and constantly evolving. By Simone Naicker*

Development of a team and bringing together diverse individuals is the first step in reaching targets and exceeding industry expectations

Simone Naicker is a young mining thought leader who is vocal about issues related to the industry (Credit: Maronell Boshoff)



he scientific methodology of deriving from first principles is useful in helping us describe the world we live in. Begin with the most fundamental of truths to model what appears complex. Let us begin by observing a simple animal – the sheep dog. The role of a sheep dog is to guard, herd and raise sheep, providing them direction and leadership. Is there something that us seemingly sophisticated mining professionals can learn from what seems to be a trivial example of leadership?

Leading like a sheep dog A study at Swansea University, conducted by Dr Andrew King, discovered that there are two key rules that the sheep dog applies to lead his sheep. The first rule involves collecting the sheep when they are dispersed and the second is to drive them in a particular direction when aggregated. I personally found this fascinating and my curious mind could not resist extrapolating this principle to leadership. The first rule describes the collection of individuals, when dispersed. The mining industry is driven by powerful teams of people, and it is known that a divided team cannot be driven in a single

direction. To lead, one must be able to bring ‘dispersed’ individuals together. For centuries, the strongest leaders were those able to unify diverse people, with varying values and beliefs, for a common goal. The second rule relates to driving the collection of individuals, in a particular direction, once aggregated. The mining industry is compliance and goal driven. Thus, ensuring that all teams move in a particular direction – one of compliance – is critical to the health and safety of employees. The value of driving teams toward well-defined targets is the essence of our industry. The famous three-word meeting concluder springs to my mind – ‘Are we aligned?’ The intelligence of the sheep dog lies in his ability to understand that aggregation is required prior to redirection and this is what the mining leader for the future needs to master. The development of a team and bringing together diverse individuals is the first step in reaching targets and exceeding industry expectations. Through observation of the simple sheep dog, we are a step closer to understanding leadership. *Simone Naicker is a process engineer and part of the SAIMM’s Young Professionals Council.



International Women in Resources

MENTORING PROGRAMME Many women dream of a career in the mining industry, but don’t have the knowledge and resources to help them realise their dream. International Women in Resources Mentoring Programme is a global cross-company mentoring programme for women in mining developed and run by International Women in Mining.


he International Women in Resources Mentoring Programme (IWRMP) was launched in 2018 with the aim of empowering women working in the resources sector across all functions and continents. The programme provides participants with the opportunity to connect with successful senior members of the industry as mentors, who are in a position to empower and promote them from a professional and personal development perspective. By boosting their vision, confidence and outlook, IWRMP supports participants’ careers and their capacity to positively influence the mining sector. This will help develop a pipeline of future leaders in the industry and promote a more inclusive and diverse industry. Info about the programme IWRMP provides a high-quality framework that facilitates the mentoring relationship and allows both mentee and mentor to benefit from the experience. The focus of mentorship is on setting career goals and plans and achieving them. IWRMP strategically aligns mentors with mentees. It comes with a structured format that provides the highest level of support and regular engagement milestones throughout the programme. IWRMP offers a tailored three-hour training session and guidance to both mentors and mentees at the outset. Each mentee is to have at least six sessions with their mentor. The programme also offers four monthly webinars to focus the mentees on additional leadership topics and global opportunities for participants to connect and network. Because mentees and mentors often hail from different places, communities and disciplines, the relationships also serve to reduce cross-cultural

barriers. IWRMP promoters ensure that women from all continents participate, including those from developing countries’ markets. Scholarship opportunity IWRMP also offers scholarship opportunities that provide partial or full funding for pioneering initiatives related to women in the mining industry. To qualify for the scholarship, one needs to be a woman working in, with and around the mining sector and wishing to further their career, at all seniority levels and across all professions. Eligible candidates also need to have at least five years’ experience in mining and be 25 years of age with a university degree, technical college qualification or trade training. Candidates will need to commit to a six-month programme, which includes training, six to nine sessions with a mentor, preparation and follow-up sessions, as well as webinars and a final evaluation. Potential candidates with an industry sponsor and who can self-fund their participation in IWRMP will not be considered for the programme. IWRMP also engages with globally recognised industry sponsors to contribute to a mentoring programme that aligns with their values in diversity and inclusion.



Building skills in mining communities BME’s partnerships with training providers have seen unemployed youth being trained in technical skills to improve their employability and even open doors to starting small businesses.

A Welding training is among the vocational skills sponsored by BME


ccording to Reuben Ramahlare, senior human resources business partner at BME, the signing of service agreements earlier this year with training colleges around the country is part of an important social empowerment drive. “An important strategic focus for us is to develop and empower communities through training, as part of our positive impact in the areas where we operate,” says Ramahlare. “This includes communities near our operations in the North West, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and Gauteng – and targets 70% women’s participation in the programmes.” Through this initiative, BME has been sponsoring the training of a range of vocational skills such as welding, plumbing and general property maintenance. The training bodies provide learners with certificates of competence, facilitating their path to the job market or self-employment. He notes that groups of learners are put forward by local municipalities and spend up to a month in training. In the case of the welding



Thirty-five candidates from Brits, Kathu, Middelburg and eMalahleni received training through BME’s initiative (Credit: BME)

course, the successful learners are provided with welding and personal protective equipment by BME, to apply their skills in the marketplace. They are also trained in basic business skills for starting their own small enterprises, including financial management and applying for tenders. Thirty-five candidates have been trained this year in Brits, Kathu, Middelburg and eMalahleni. “We are also involved in developing specialised skills for the blasting sector, through courses for blasting assistants,” he says. “This gives young people opportunities not just with blasting specialists like BME, but also with companies working in drilling activity or with explosive magazines – and of course with mines themselves.”

Training partners The training organisations that BME has partnered with include: the Mineral Mining Training Institute in Brits, Kathu and Middelburg; the Colliery Training Centre in eMalahleni; and the Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre in Kempton Park. He highlights that BME’s contribution to local empowerment was also supportive of its mining

customers’ commitment to the Mining Charter, which places growing importance on local content and socio-economic development. Through its enterprise development focus, the company aims to procure from local woman- and youth-owned businesses. It has recently partnered with taxi organisations to outsource its staff transport needs, for instance. “We are also working on a programme to engage more woman-owned businesses in the logistical aspects of our supply chain across the provinces,” says Ramahlare. “This will assist these businesses with aspects like licensing for Code 14 drivers, which is the category required for transporting our emulsion explosives.” There are also less frequent initiatives where BME seizes the opportunity to contribute to learning in local communities. One of these was the recent donation of computer hardware from its head office to schools in Phola near Ogies, Phokeng near Rustenburg, and Eldorado Park near Johannesburg. “We were grateful for the chance to support these schools with valuable technology – which was still suitable for their purposes while having outlived their use for our applications,” Ramahlare concludes.



The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM) formed the Young Professionals Council (YPC) to develop and promote initiatives and industry awareness of the members of the Institute who are 35 years old and younger.


he SAIMM has a constitution and by-laws that govern the way the YPC operates. The following principles are outlined in its constitution: • rendering professional services of high quality to its members and to continually improve these services by keeping abreast of technological developments • applying professional ethics in all activities and encouraging members to follow suit • fulfilling obligations towards the community and the environment • continually strengthening the SAIMM image as a dynamic organisation by playing a leading role in the initiation and implementation of new ideas and by organising events around topical themes • diligently promoting the interests of members and representing them in a competent manner • bringing the mining and metallurgical fraternity, research and education personnel, and students, together in one organisation • judiciously anticipating the needs of members.


SAIMM-YPC activities The activities of the SAIMM-YPC encompass but are not limited to the following focus areas: • role in influencing schools – career guidance, mathematics, science, tutoring life skills, etc. • role in universities – from the selection processes to the alignment in getting the degree and its uses in the industry • role of business – best practice, training programmes, mentoring programmes and development • influencing other bodies such as the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), the Department of Minerals and Energy (DMRE), and the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa (AMMSA), etc. for the benefit of all young professionals • influencing service providers outside the mainstream who provide secondary services • instituting entrepreneurial activities that will serve the requirements of young professionals. The main objective of the YPC is to empower young professionals in the minerals industry to contribute to the profession and society in a sustainable manner.

3S Media will publish four Inside Mining handbookstyle publica�ons during 2021. These upmarket glossy Special Interest Publica�ons are each focused around a single theme and offer engagement on the key issues currently affec�ng the mining industry. They will include leadership insights and face-to face interviews with various captains of industry.

Look out for our upcoming Inside Mining Special Interest Publications: MAY


Exclusive focus: Alterna�ve energy sources, mine water recycling and transport and logis�cs



Exclusive focus: Infrastructure development, projects and energy in Africa



Exclusive focus: Tailings dam management and sustainability ini�a�ves by mine companies

Mining News is an online pla�orm that offers mul�ple opportuni�es to create brand awareness. These include company news, product launches, videos (commercial, profiles, corporate, project) and content marke�ng.


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MAXECO CELEBRATES 30 YEARS. HAS ANY BOOT DONE MORE TO BUILD OUR COUNTRY? For 30 years, Maxeco has helped build a nation with the world’s toughest workforce. Across construction sites, mines, farms and factories, almost 10 million pairs have helped realise the dream of a stronger South Africa by protecting the millions of workers who built it. Now that’s a beautiful thing!



*Since 1990 no other safety footwear style has sold more pairs in SA, as we near 10 million pairs sold.




Profile for 3S Media

Inside Mining Diversity in Mining February 2021