Corporate social responsibility
The Venture is committed to uplifting communities by investing in their education and skills.
Job creation and skills development
The Venture has embarked on a number of skills and enterprise development projects in the communities in which it operates, including learnership programmes, secretarial training, training of students for the Department of Civil Works and portable skills training such as electrical and plumbing training.
In addition, to the employment created by the Venture’s operations, its investment in infrastructure development also creates jobs. While these jobs may only be temporary, the people employed to do them learn portable skills such as bricklaying, welding and carpentry, which equip them better for finding fulltime employment.
Every year the Venture sets itself targets for its discretionary procurement from historically disadvantaged South Africans (HDSAs), which exceed the targets set in the Mining Charter Scorecard. It also aims to purchase as much as possible from local suppliers.
Public health and HIV and AIDS
The Venture partners with government, international organisation and NGOs, particularly in the areas of public health, to get the best possible value out of our community investment. The public-private partnerships formed by the Venture provide communities access to prevention, treatment and care for HIV and AIDS, as well as other communicable and associated disease. The Venture supports the government’s HIV counselling and treatment (HCT) campaign by providing funding and testing sites. It has also funded clinics and hospices in the communities in which it operates, including an HIV and AIDS clinic in Lydenburg in Mpumalanga province. There is also a clinic at the Lion ferrochrome plant in Limpopo province.
Respecting the rights of communities challenges
- Compliance with South African human rights legislation including the Constitution and Bill of Rights
- Alignment of our human rights practices with the UN Global Compact’s ten universally accepted principles in order to protect the human rights of our employees and the communities in which we operate.
Both Merafe and the Xstrata respect the legislation of South Africa and comply with its human rights legislation, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which safeguard the basic human rights of employees in South Africa. In addition, the policies of both companies clearly state that we do not tolerate any form of discrimination and that all our employees and stakeholders are to be treated with dignity and in a manner that is culturally appropriate, irrespective of gender, background or race. Xstrata supports the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions and is a signatory to the UN Global Compact. It has aligned its Sustainable Development Framework, which is applied in all the operations it manages, including the Venture, with its ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.
Xstrata’s Sustainable Development Standards require the operations it manages to maintain community relations strategies that uphold and promote human rights and respect cultural considerations and heritage.
In 2008 Xstrata committed to implementing the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights across all the operations it manages. The Voluntary Principles were drawn up to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Principles highlight the role companies can play in promoting respect for human rights and strengthening the rule of law. Xstrata continues to implement the requirements of the Voluntary Principles at all the operations it manages, including the Venture.
These requirements encompass human rights risk assessments, relations with public security forces and relations with private security providers.
Xstrata reports annually on its progress in upholding the Voluntary Principles. Xstrata participates in the International Council on Metals and Mining’s (ICMM) Resource Endowment Initiative. The Initiative aims to identify the factors that have allowed some countries to benefit from their substantial resource endowments through economic growth and poverty reduction and to determine practical steps that companies, governments, local communities and aid agencies can take to build capacity to achieve better outcomes from resource development where this is lacking.
In the course of conducting business the Venture may need to disturb land used by the local community. It always tries to find ways to avoid resettling community members, but when this is the only viable course of action it consults closely with the affected population to develop an equitable solution. It is the Venture’s policy to seek the free, prior, informed consent of communities. Whenever the Venture relocates a community it communicates openly with local community members to inform them of its plans and all their available options. The Venture’s team works with the affected households to find a suitable new area for them to live and work and to ensure that relocation provides them with an equivalent or improved standard of living that is sustainable in the long term, as well as education for the affected households.
The Venture works with the community to create economic development and opportunities for quality of life improvement
Child and forced labour
Xstrata’s Business Principles, which are applied in the Venture, uphold the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour and prohibit any form of child labour. The minimum age for employment in the Xstrata Group is 18, regardless of local legislation. There is no significant risk in respect of incidents of forced or compulsory labour in the Venture’s operations.
Disputes relating to land use
Communities have lodged land claims in respect of properties that are part of the Venture’s current operations. The Venture is currently in discussions with the Regional Land Claims Commission regarding claims by communities over the farms on which the Lion ferrochrome plant is situated. Landowners at the Venture’s Horizon Mine instituted legal action against Xstrata, Merafe and the Minister of Mineral Resources to set aside the conversion of a mining right granted to Merafe by the Minister. Xstrata, on behalf of the Venture, is defending the action and counsel is of the opinion that prospects of successfully defending the claim are good.
Our social licence to operate
We need to demonstrate that our presence in a community is beneficial in order to gain access to resources and to obtain a social licence to operate from broader society.
We provide economic benefits that are far greater than merely providing jobs and paying taxes. The Venture’s presence in an area stimulates and supports the development of small and medium-sized businesses, which in turn create sustainable jobs and contribute to infrastructure development.