/ MEDIA STATEMENT / This content is not written by Creamer Media, but is a supplied media statement.
Global TiO2 producer, Tronox, drives strategy to strengthen SA's economy while promoting transformation in the industry.
Global titanium dioxide producer Tronox Holdings plc is fully committed to the growth of the South African economy and is demonstrating this commitment through its Fairbreeze Mine expansion project. This is an important project for Tronox because it will extend the life of the mine, which is critical to our success. The investment supports President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment drive and is especially encouraging in the prevailing challenging market conditions.
The South African market is critical to the global Tronox business, more specifically the South African assets provide a primary source of high-grade feedstock for our pigment plants worldwide.
The investment into the Fairbreeze Mine proves the quality of the assets available in South Africa and can be seen as a positive indication of future investments in the mining industry.
These assets form the foundation for Tronox’s global vertically integrated strategy.
In South Africa, Tronox mines and processes titanium ore, zircon and other materials. These titanium bearing products are eventually exported as raw material to our international pigment plants where we produce titanium dioxide pigment which add brightness and durability to paints, plastics, paper and other everyday products. We manufacture titanium dioxide pigment under the TiONA® brand globally and the TiKON® brand in China, as well as speciality-grade CristalACTiV™ titanium dioxide products and high-purity titanium chemicals.
A significant advantage in terms of our South African assets is that they are required throughout the commodity cycle, making Tronox South Africa one of only a few companies that has a guaranteed offtake and guaranteed customers for our products, particularly for titanium dioxide where, even in a downturn, we continue to produce at full scale from our South African assets.
Playing a critical role in strengthening the SA economy
Tronox is a proud contributor to the growth of the South African economy. Over the past five years, the company generated significant economic value, demonstrating our business is critical to the economic activity of the country.
However, a sustainable, competitive and profitable private sector is needed to achieve this.
The private sector must drive economic activity and, ultimately, through corporate taxes and mining royalties, government will be able to provide the required social services for people, including the communities that host our operations.
In addition to providing direct and indirect employment in communities, Tronox also invests directly in social upliftment through either corporate social investment programmes and social and labour plans. I believe that the mining sector, in particular, is leading the way in community development and investment.
Since 2018, Tronox has invested R22-million a year in local communities, going beyond direct community upliftment projects by also supporting indirect projects and even direct contributions, such as local procurement opportunities. In my view, the private sector is doing its fair share.
The model that exists in the mining sector is a good one and should be emulated more widely across other economic sectors. For example, when we develop a Social and Labour Plans (SLP), it is a multi-stakeholder engagement process involving the community, the municipality and provincial government departments. This ensures that investments are made in the things that matter most to our host communities. This engagement process also ensures alignment with government’s Integrated Development Plans (IDP) and projects, and thus, encouraging cooperation between government and the private sector for the benefit of the community.
These Social and Labour Plans (SLP) are finally approved at the national level by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. The model definitely calls for private companies to work with key stakeholders, including government, and enables government to rely on the private sector for assistance.
The partnership between government and private companies is a very important one as it enables sustainable social and economic development in our country. Over and above this, it is also necessary to recognise the opportunity to do more work for all stakeholders. Government’s focus must be on creating an enabling environment where businesses can thrive through profitability to increase its contribution to society through investment and community development projects.
Further, the COVID-19 pandemic enabled Tronox to highlight its commitment to surrounding communities by supporting the Solidarity Fund and direct community interventions by working alongside traditional councils, local and provincial governments, to provide sanitiser, face masks and food parcels for those affected by the lockdown and the subsequent job losses.
Driving transformations through deliberate actions
Tronox aims to offer shared value for investors, employees, the wider community and other stakeholders through its operational strategy of delivering safe, high-quality, low-cost sustainable tons for its customers.
If profitability increases, we believe the company can sustain employment and increase investment in its communities while shareholders receive a higher return on investment.
About 21% of our workforce comprises women – double the numbers from those of a decade ago. Tronox aims to increase and encourage female employees to enter the industry by focusing on in-house and external interventions.
We focus on diversity and inclusion through the programme called the Tronox Diversity and Inclusion Network, as well as the Women in Mining Forum, ensuring that the workplace facilities, tools and equipment and the environment, in general, is welcoming for women employees.