/ MEDIA STATEMENT / This content is not written by Creamer Media, but is a supplied media statement.
By Casper Badenhorst, Chief Operations Officer, Pilanesberg Platinum Mines
Despite having faced a tough economic period, the mining sector remains an important sector in the South African economy and one that still has the potential to make a significant impact in the socio-economic development of our country.
We are hoping that the upswing experienced in 2019 will spill over into 2020 and bring the industry back into profitability. Pilanesberg Platinum Mines is cautiously optimistic; a positive 2020 will mean we can continue with our plans to expand our mine and staff, and consequently benefit the communities in which we operate.
As a young mine, we are proud of the impact we have had in our communities. In spite of trying times, we have managed to keep production going to ensure that we continue to contribute towards the social and economic development of our wider community.
As we enter a new year, I cannot help but reflect on our actions as Pilanesberg Platinum Mines. 2019 saw us more purposefully holding ourselves accountable to our values of zero harm, upliftment and innovation. Our specific focus on zero harm helped us end 2019 with minimal fatalities and I am most proud that we finished the year with 5 million fatality-free shifts – our best record to date!
In addition, we are pleased that our efforts in uplifting our female employees has had some traction. Tebogo Metsileng, one of our lab technicians, received the 2019 Women In Mining Award. This recognition will go a long away in helping pave the way for many women in this industry.
Furthermore, our commitment to lessening our impact on the environment remains a core focus. As a result, we have taken a few innovative steps towards decreasing our negative impact on the environment, including the termination of polystyrene packaging in our canteens.
We all know that keeping the mine open is not just about our employees’ jobs, but the impact that these jobs and our operations have on the wider community. As a mine, we are constantly reminded that tomorrow is our legacy in the making and the best tomorrow for all comes down to decisions we make today.
We also know that, even with our potential to create employment from our operations, true transformation within our communities will be in the infrastructure that we put in place that will survive past the life of our mine.
Therefore, over and above our operational accomplishments, I am proud of what we have achieved in our respective communities and my top three are:
Supporting small businesses
In creating a meaningful impact in our communities, we realised that supporting small businesses is critical. That is why I am proud of our ‘Community Crusher’ which started as a non-profit project and is now showing its potential to be a fully-fledged business that services most of our building projects. Most importantly, it currently employs 14 community members of which 64% are women – the future female leaders in our communities!
Educating our youth
For the real bastions of tomorrow, the youth, education is important but Maths and Science gives them tools to understand, analyse and impact the communities where they live. This is what we had in mind when we decided to assist over 200 students with their studies through a Saturday school programme. We are proud to announce that the 2019 academic results have improved from 40% to 80% equating to many doors being opened to these learners.
Enabling economic development
Studies have highlighted that road infrastructure investment can boost economic activities and consequently enhance the living standards of the people, accelerate economic development and improve the well-being of communities. As a result, we undertook road building projects with the goal that these roads will not only physically connect communities but also boost the much-needed economic development in those communities.
We will continuously strive to improve the lives of our people, communities and to protect the environment as we contribute to the growth and transformation of the sector.