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Minerals Council outlines mining’s ‘immense’ positive social impact

Minerals Council CEO Mzila Mthenjane

Minerals Council CEO Mzila Mthenjane

11th April 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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Industry body, the Minerals Council South Africa finds in a survey that 12 of its members, representing about 60% of the formal employment in the mining industry, spent R2.3-billion on socioeconomic development in one financial year.

The mining industry has long been known to deliver benefits for families, communities and the economy, the council states.

Mining’s social impact through the provision of jobs and wages, as well as investment in education and training of employees and communities, coupled with social projects, is also sometimes unappreciated in the economy, says CEO Mzila Mthenjane.

The survey formed part of the council’s new information sharing initiative, #MiningMatters, which serves to remind society that this 130-year-old sector still has much to offer as a good corporate citizen and playing its part in the  transition to a low-carbon future.

Mthenjane says mining companies often go above and beyond in terms of the requirements of their social and labour plans, which already require mining companies to invest in host communities through development of schools, healthcare facilities, bursaries and procurement spend in local businesses. 

In addition to the R2.3-billion spent on socioeconomic development, 12 Minerals Council members, across five commodities – gold, platinum-group metals, coal, diamonds and iron-ore – spent R5.1-billion on training and development in a single financial year, with an estimated value of between R13 500 and R21 700 per full-time employee across the various sectors.

The mining sector was also one of the few formal sectors to grow employment numbers in 2023, having added more than 7 500 jobs and increasing wages by R12-billion to R186-billion.

The Minerals Council confirms in its #MiningMatters survey that the assessed companies employ 36 480 women, representing 19% of full-time staff, with coal, iron-ore and diamond producers having the largest number of women at 29%, 26% and 24% of the workforce, respectively.

The industry, as a whole, employed 90 630 women in 2023, which comprises 19% of the full-time workforce, which marks a noteworthy progression from 15% representation in prior years, Mthenjane states.

The survey also finds that women account for 25% of management in the companies assessed.

Mthenjane explains that mining is a long-term investment play through market and economic cycles, and thereby requires a stable and predictable environment where possible, including in legislation and critical infrastructure, especially to continue delivering socioeconomic benefits.

The council and its members are actively involved in addressing energy, transport, crime and corruption challenges in the country, to arrest the decline in the mining industry’s performance and enable a vision of growth for the sector and the economy.

Mthenjane says the industry’s ability to continue ensuring that mining matters to all, depends on the willingness and commitment of society, including government, employees, communities and mining companies, to collaborate on creating conducive policy and an operating environment that can shift the economic potential of the sector to deliver more benefit for all South Africans.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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