JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner Anglo America South Africa (AASA) intends to re-engage with key external stakeholders in an ongoing accountability dialogue regarding the company’s Sustainable Mining Plan (SMP) and its alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The purpose of this, AASA chairperson Nolitha Fakude explained at the miner’s second yearly dialogue session, on Friday, was to re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives.
This statement echoes comments made by AASA executive head Andile Sangqu at the miner’s inaugural dialogue session last year, during which he told delegates that, “despite the current economic environment, AASA is committed to continuing to embody good governance in sustainability and to demonstrating best practice”.
At the 2018 session, Sangqu said the miner aimed to re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives through an innovation-led approach to mining – FutureSmart Mining.
This approach comprises a future in which broad innovative thinking, enabling technologies and collaborative partnerships, will shape an industry that is safer, more sustainable and efficient, and better harmonised with the needs of host communities and society as a whole.
Since AASA’s first dialogue in 2018, the miner said it had established a leadership position in the eyes of key stakeholders and ratings of its accountability efforts were both positive and stable.
In 2018 alone, AASA contributed about R112-billion to the South African economy across all four of its business units.
Considering that there are interlinkages and coordination opportunities that could be leveraged within the external stakeholder community for improved SDG performance in South Africa, AASA on Friday reiterated its intent of “not doing it alone” when it came to key SDGs that have a material impact on the company’s ability to implement the SMP in South Africa.
Before beginning the process of aligning the business to the SDGs through the SMP, AASA had already established foundations of SDG contribution from which to build as the country moves towards the implementation of the National Development Plan of 2030.
The SDGs have informed the development of the SMP, which was launched in 2018, and sets a vision for 2030 that will re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives.
In addition to AASA’s existing SDG-aligned activities, the implementation of its SMP is “how [AASA] will go about aligning itself to the SDGs”, The Narrative Lab director Aiden Choles said during his presentation, adding that the plan was built around three global sustainability pillars, comprising three 'stretch goals' that would be implemented in five-year plans at each of its operations.
These goals comprise becoming a trusted corporate leader through developing trust and providing ethical value chains and improved accountability to the communities with which AASA works, as well as building thriving communities with better health, education and levels of employment.
The third goal will see AASA maintaining a healthy environment by creating waterless, carbon neutral mines and delivering positive biodiversity outcomes.
This collaborative regional development aims to bring long-term and sustainable development opportunities to the surrounding regions wherein AASA operates by identifying socioeconomic development opportunities with the greatest potential in a region through spatial planning and analysis.
National Planning Commission secretariat head Tshediso Matona also attended the dialogue session in Midrand and said he “felt encouraged” by the increasing interest and sense of a universal commitment to sustainability.
He added that, notwithstanding South Africa’s own set of challenges, sustainable development matters were “very complex” and emphasised the importance of dealing with the SDGs in an effort to promote the NDP 2030.
Matona, therefore, urged industry to have more dialogues similar to that hosted by AASA in order to catalyse further engagement and action.