Determined approach of mining majors to people and planet bodes well for future

16th November 2018

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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Mining majors are firmly committing to supporting communities and protecting the environment. They are nailing their colours to the mast of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, meeting the membership standards of organisations like the International Council on Mining and Metals and holding media conferences to outline what are really praiseworthy targets.

They are shouting from the rooftops that how they make their money is important to them. The latest company to go the full hog in enunciating its good intentions to the widest possible audience is Anglo American South Africa, whose executive head, Andile Sangqu, spoke to Mining Weekly on camera last week on the sidelines of its accountability dialogue session, where he let the world know just how determined the company is “to do the right thing”.

Embodying good governance in sustainability and demonstrating best practice are key to its pursuit of being a trusted corporate leader, helping communities to thrive and protecting Mother Nature at a time of growing demand for the metals and minerals that are essential to human progress.

It is investing in 100 schools across its communities, from early childhood development to tertiary education. In the next decade, it hopes to have five off-site nonmining jobs for every on-site mining job, cutting greenhouse-gas emissions as a climate change miti- gation measure and using far less fresh water.

It is a pity that mining’s contribution to the economy has been so badly reduced by such poor government policymaking but also wonderful that many mining-related investments were confirmed at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment conference in Johannesburg, with Anglo pledging R70-billion worth of investment over five years.

Bloomberg reports that Anglo’s shares have gained 13% this year, making them the best performers on the 11-member FTSE 350 Mining Index.

Anglo, through its De Beers South African subsidiary, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), has been granted 23 licences for diamond exploration.

DBCM CEO Phillip Barton has reiterated his strong belief that South Africa remains highly prospective, especially for diamonds. DBCM has the unique benefit of being able to use its vast databank of geological information and subjecting it to the latest technology. From a diamond perspective, exploration has not been comprehensive and Barton has expressed excitement to Mining Weekly about the potential of one day going back to Kimberley in glory.

Interestingly, the Angolan government has identified an extension of the Copperbelt, which has persuaded Anglo to add copper exploration to its diamond prospecting activities in Angola.

Anglo, which exited its Zambian copper mines, where it was something of a pioneer, is now working towards projects that can form the pipeline 30 years from now, Investec Securities analyst Hunter Hillcoat has noted.

Hopefully, South Africa will also become an exploration investment destination for more mining majors. The R20-billion investment announced by South African Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is financing a mapping programme to be undertaken by the Council for Geoscience at the internationally competitive scale of 1:50 000. Good geological information will attract investors, who must be made to feel that it is worth taking exploration risk, which is always considerable.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor



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