Glencore Coal donating food to Mpumalanga communities

18th May 2020

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( – Glencore group company Glencore Coal had, at the time of Mining Weekly going to press, distributed more than 1 250 food parcels worth over R658 000 to the communities of Mpumalanga, as part of its ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, the London- and Johannesburg-listed Glencore announced the launch of a $25-million Covid-19 response fund to support the company’s global teams working closely with governments, health agencies and other key responders in more than 35 countries and at 189 sites to identify their needs and provide the most effective response possible.

Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg stated at the time that the company’s widespread individual assets and offices were best placed to respond to Covid-19’s impact in their various regions, and the fund would support actions that were designed and implemented locally, in collaboration with the organisations on the front line.

“We hope that these efforts will help ease the burden on our host communities as we work together towards a common goal of combating the impact of the coronavirus. As a responsible operator, our top priority is to protect the safety and health of our people and the communities that host our businesses,” Glasenberg added.

Mining Weekly can today report that Glencore Coal’s four mining complexes are working in close collaboration with local municipalities, the Department of Health (DoH) and the company’s social partner, Re-Action! to counteract the impact of Covid-19 on the community. Also launched was an e-learning programme for locked-down grade 11 and 12 learners.

Glencore Coal stated in a release that it was implementing a three-pronged focus on awareness, testing and treatment of the infected, support for frontline responders, and community resilience post Covid-19.

This followed the establishment of an industry-wide Covid-19 platform for information sharing in collaboration with Minerals Council South Africa.

Glencore Coal stated that it had reached out to the DoH on a provincial and district level to understand and support the needs to fight this pandemic. 

Owing to its presence within the three local municipalities of Steve Tshwete, Emakhazeni and Emalahleni, in Mpumalanga, the company was continuing to engage with local government while its community structures lent support.  

“Through our social partner and our community representatives, we’ve engaged with provincial, district and local government to ensure a fully coordinated and centralised approach to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Glencore Coal GM community and regulatory affairs Noel Pillay, who added that this would ensure that the correct resources were acquired and distributed through the correct channels to the most vulnerable communities.

Through this initiative Glencore aimed to:

  • slow and stop transmission, prevent outbreaks, and delay the spread of Covid-19;
  • provide optimised care for Covid-19 patients, especially the seriously ill;
  • assist in minimising the impact of the pandemic on health systems, social services, and economic activity; and
  • implement community resilience interventions within communities post the pandemic.

To make this possible, Glencore’s approach was to closely examine and study the data of the Covid-19 cases at sub-district level to pinpoint the specific areas where people had contracted the virus and to also analyse any other pre-existing health issues that might be present in these communities. This would be done by a public health epidemiologist that was highly experienced in the health sector.

Furthermore, Glencore aimed to support local municipalities to address other challenges such as the provision of water and food hampers for the homeless and indigent families. 

Thus far, Glencore had distributed food parcels, information posters and videos on the Covid-19 pandemic and donated bulk quantities of sanitisers and soaps, masks, infrared thermometers and protective body wear to the DoH and to the South African Social Security Agency for use at their pay points within Glencore Coal’s host communities. 

The company had provided jojo tanks to the eMalahleni municipality and was supporting the Nkangala district health department with screenings; to date, 698 households with 2 457 people have been screened.

To support the Ligbron e-learning live streaming lessons and enable grade 11 and 12 learners to access these lessons on their computers, cellphones or tablets, Glencore Coal had also temporarily increased its 19 sites in Middelburg, eMalahleni and Emakhazeni from WiFi of 500 MB to 1 GB per user a day. In addition, a further ten hotspots will be installed in eMalahleni.

As scholars edge towards their mid-year exams, many have been missing classes owing to the school lockdown that was instated since March 16. The company stated that it understood the importance of education in building a better future for the youth in its mine communities.

The Ligbron e-learning team worked for hand in hand with the Department of Education to compile a comprehensive plan for learners during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

“We partnered with Ligbron for e-learning because we understand the importance of education for learners from our mine communities. This partnership will ensure that the education of scholars continues during this very challenging time in our country,” said Pillay.

Ligbron has streamed lessons on Zoom and also on the Ligbron Online School YouTube.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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