Understanding the mining charter

By: Johan Engelbrecht Jr – director: sustainability solutions; Institute for Sustainable Risk Management

The Mining Charter, a government instrument designed to effect sustainable growth and meaningful transformation of the mining industry, seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Promotion of equitable access to the nation’s mineral resources for all people of South Africa;
  • Opportunities for historically disadvantaged South Africans to benefit from the exploitation of the nation’s mineral resources;
  • Utilisation of the existing skills base and empowerment;
  • Promotion of employment;
  • Expansion of skills base of historically disadvantaged South Africans to serve the community; and
  • Promote beneficiation of South Africa’s mineral commodities.

In current economic currents, all organisations in South Africa are looking much harder at organisational sustainability, whilst under pressure to implement the outline of the mining charter to effect transformation. The mining and minerals sector faces some of the harshest criticisms of any sector and the industry has come to understand that its long-term interests will be served only if mining contributes and is seen to contribute – to sustainable economic development in the regions and communities where the companies operate. Hand-in-hand with this criticism, comes more and more demands from communities for better sustainability and beneficiation solutions – people do not want to plant tomatoes and community gardens anymore, they truly want to become economically active.

These requirements, criticisms and demands actually create unique opportunities for mining-houses – opportunities where the inter-relationships of the output effects of the requirements of the Mining Charter can be applied to create both a sustainable outcome for the mining organisation and the community: opportunities for empowerment, upliftment, small business start-up and economic empowerment whilst optimising organisation supply chain channels, etc.

This understanding should lead to an emphasis within the mining industry, on the concepts of sustainable development and social responsibility within a good corporate governance framework. This understanding should then embody the characteristics of discipline, transparency, independence, accountability, responsibility, fairness and social response. The King report* put specific interest of the importance of conducting business reporting in an integrated manner i.e.:

  • How a company has, both positively and negatively, impacted on the economic life of the community in which it operated during the year under review; and
  • How the company intends to enhance those positive aspects and eradicate or ameliorate the negative aspects in the year ahead.

Read the full feature in MMPR September/October 2015 page 18.

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