Mining communities should benefit more

Friday, May 26, 2023

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe says mines should use their Social and Labour Plans (SLP) to create more impactful projects – like clinics and hospitals – in the areas that they mine in.

He was speaking at the handover of the Freedom Park Clinic and an Early Childhood Development Centre, built by platinum group metals mining company Impala Rustenburg, to the Departments of Health and Education in the North West.

Social and Labour Plans are a requirement of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act which obligate mines to enhance the lives of mining and labour sending communities.

“Our approach to the social and labour plans is that it’s well and good to deliver a community hall there and another small thing there. It makes a huge difference when mining companies pull resources together and deliver impactful projects to society. Projects that impact society in a big way.

“Social and labour plans are important. It is the social license that mining companies build. You build a clinic, you hand over an early childhood development centre, you deliver a sports ground [or] you deliver upgrading of a school…when you do that, you are not doing communities any favour, you are paying a license to co-exist with them…in the community where you mine,” he said.

The Minister acknowledged that although more can be done, the industry has “gone a long way” to addressing transformation in the industry.

“The fact that we are now having [black] professionals in the industry is a function of changing the nature of the sector. We also opened mining to women. Women were not allowed to work in the mines by law. Today, 72 000 mineworkers are female.

“So we are continuing today here, to change the sector. Instead of just taking [the minerals] and going to sell them, you are now doing what you should have started doing many years ago of investing in communities. Beyond mining there should be life,” he said. –