Energy and chemicals group Sasol’s mining subsidiary, Sasol Mining, maintained its presence at the Mining Lekgotla this year, which included a speech delivered by Sasol sustainability and business transformation executive director Nolitha Fakude on the role of industrialisation in enhancing beneficiation.
Sasol also attended and exhibited at last year’s event and took part in the formal conference programme.
The theme of this year’s Mining Lekgotla, which took place at Gallagher Estate, in Midrand, from August 13 to 14, focused on the contribution of the mining industry in South Africa since the advent of democracy. The role of transformation in the future of South Africa’s mining industry was discussed during the first day of the conference.
Sasol Mining senior VP Peter Steenkamp says: “This year, South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy and South Africans can be proud of the success that has been achieved so far. The mining industry has undergone significant transformation; however, much still needs to be done.”
He believes that transformation should always remain a key strategic priority for the local mining industry and that the lekgotla provides an opportunity for mining industry stakeholders to explore the possibilities of collaborating with one another for the benefit of the country.
“Mining industry stakeholders have demonstrated the collective will in working together to find solutions to the industry’s challenges. The Mining Lekgotla is an effective platform to debate, facilitate, cement and collaborate,” Steenkamp asserts.
Another strategy that Steenkamp believes the South African mining industry should prioritise is ensuring honest and truthful collaboration among all mining stakeholders, including mine employees.
“A partnership will flourish if it is enabled across the right platforms to address the collective needs of all employees in the industry. These partnerships should be governed by principles that all parties agree to abide by, with the ultimate objective of benefiting employees.”
Steenkamp adds that providing Sasol employees with a value proposition is key to retaining them. He says the company is making significant progress in several areas for its employees – most notably in advancing home ownership for more Sasol employees in and around the group’s mining operations.
“At Sasol and Sasol Mining, we believe that trust is the cornerstone of our stakeholder relationships, including the relationship with our employees. It is up to us to have conversations . . . on a platform that we all believe in and respect,” he says.
Steenkamp notes that the yearly Mining Lekgotla is an important event for Sasol Mining.
“In our experience, the lekgotla has become increasingly effective, as it is more direct in terms of addressing industry issues with key stakeholders. It is a strategic opportunity for the company to engage with industry stakeholders, actively participate in discussions and leave with insights to work on for the benefit of our employees and our communities.”
He points out that industry platforms like the Mining Lekgotla often risk being regarded as a “talk shop”, with few tangible outcomes.
However, Steenkamp believes that since the inception of the Mining Lekgotla in 2012, the event has demonstrated that “outcomes move beyond discussions and increasingly focus on finding solutions for the key issues faced by the local mining industry”.