Human capital

  • safety
  • health and wellness
  • our employees
  • training and development

The Venture believes in the possibility of a zero-harm operation. We believe that all occupational diseases and injuries can be prevented and that we must therefore all take responsibility to avoid occupational diseases and injuries. The development and well being of our employees is a core value of the Venture.

  • The safety and health of our employees and our contractors
  • The training and development of our employees and our contractors
  • Fair remuneration

We need a healthy, motivated and skilled workforce. Intellectual Capital and knowledge management are also recognised as key intangible creators of wealth. Damaging Human Capital by abuse of human rights or labour rights or compromising health and safety has financial and reputational costs.

The Venture enhances its human capital by:

  • giving employees and community members access to training, development and lifelong learning, and capturing and sharing knowledge;
  • ensuring adequate safety arrangements are in place; and
  • incentives and remuneration.

Stakeholder impact and engagement with stakeholders

The stakeholders most affected by the ability of Merafe and the Venture to keep our employees safe and healthy are their families and dependants.


Human capital: safety




(2022: NIL)

Total recordable
injury frequency rate

(TRIFR) 2.34

(2022: 2.40)

Lost-time injury
frequency rate

(LTIFR) 1.39

(2022: 1.20)

Disabling injury
severity rate

(DISR) 128.05

(2022: 94.06)

The Venture had

no safety and health penalties

in 2023

Merafe's attributable portion of the quantitative data of the Venture set out from Natural Capital of this report is 20.5%.

The Venture's policies and approach to safety management

The Venture's operations maintain stringent safety and risk management systems, which it aligns with the international standards: ISO 45001 and ISO 31000. Glencore collates best practice from each of its assets and from externally recognised leaders in safety management and shares this knowledge across the Glencore Group. Through Glencore, all the operations of the Venture are members of the International Council of Minerals and Mining.

The Venture takes a proactive and preventative approach towards safety, aiming to instil a positive safety culture in which everyone fully integrates its safety values into their working lives. It reviewed its approach to safety by updating its risk management framework. Glencore's fatal hazard protocols and high-potential risk incident reporting processes have been rolled out in the Venture. There are weekly meetings and discussions around the reporting of high-potential risk incidents.

Glencore's Chief HSA Officer is responsible for safety, health and wellness.

Safety programme overview

Objective Supporting actions

Zero fatalities

We reviewed and strengthened our incident investigation process to include 24-hour notification of senior management and the Glencore corporate sustainability team for fatal incidents and launched a mandatory on-site fatality investigation process following any fatal incident. The Venture's senior management must then report to the Glencore Board HSEC Committee on fatalities and the subsequent independent investigations in person.

Any lessons learned that could further improve general fatality prevention are shared across the Group.

We ensure independent third-party assistance is on-site within 72 hours of a fatal incident.

We developed SAFEWORK, a Group initiative to foster a safety culture based on behaviours and consequences at all levels.

We maintain Fatal Hazard Protocols and safety standards (which are reviewed annually) and life-saving behaviours (part of the SAFEWORK programme) across the Group.

Reduction of TRIFR

The Venture focused on reducing the TRIFR.

The supporting actions resulted in the TRIFR reducing from 4.58 (2010 baseline) to 2.34 in 2023.

The Glencore Fatal Hazard Protocols and Life Saving Behaviours, which provide a set of tools that are initially focused on the fatal risks, are being rolled out in the Venture as part of SAFEWORK.

The life-saving behaviours are aimed at strengthening the focus in the Venture on behaviours and consequences rather than a rules-based culture. The fatal risk categories that Glencore has identified as being most hazardous and responsible for the majority of its fatalities include: energy isolation, working at heights, mobile equipment, ground/strata failure, confined space and electrical safety. Over and above this, the Venture specifically highlights people-vehicle interaction as a key danger area.

In 2023, there were 59 (2022: 60) recorded injuries in a workforce of 10 685 (including contractors). An in-depth analysis by the Venture revealed that no one single factoral cause stood out in 2023, but that "at risk behaviour" remains a major problem. As safety is the number one priority in the Venture, a number of campaigns were rolled out and re‑emphasised including SAFEWORK, Life Saving Behaviours and SafeWork coaching.

The effect of COVID-19 and the stop/start of operations as a result of market uncertainty negatively impacted safety at the operations.

The Venture implemented the Fatal Hazard Protocols in 2015 and continually implements positive reinforcement programmes.


Safety in the Venture is always the direct responsibility of Glencore's senior management, who provide the leadership, systems and processes for the prevention of incidents and the elimination of fatalities in the Venture.

The formal management structure documents responsibility for safety from the Glencore Board down to each individual Venture employee and contractor.

The Venture puts considerable effort into embedding a safety culture in its operations. Its leaders are aware that they are expected to put safety before production or other considerations and to personally endorse safety initiatives and engage with employees at all levels to discuss safety issues and priorities. It concludes health and safety agreements with the trade unions.

The sustainable development policies in place in the Venture are aligned with the Glencore Group Sustainable Development Standards. They set out its commitment to zero injuries and fatalities.

The role of training

The Venture's investment in safety training is detailed below in the Human Capital section of this report. It continues to use virtual reality training, combined with easy-to-read written instructions, on all its different procedures. The training is designed to ensure that employees cannot complete their training on a procedure until they have shown they fully understand it. Training, as can be seen from the detail below of this report, was a major focus during the year. Focus for 2023 was again on supervisory development training, ensuring that all supervisors understood their legal responsibility, life-saving behaviours, fatal hazard protocols and critical controls.

Human capital: health and wellness

Human Capital includes health, safety, knowledge, skills, intellectual outputs, motivation and the capacity for relationships of individuals.


Noise-induced hearing losses


(2022: three)

Employees who test positive for HIV are encouraged to register for treatment

Employees receive HIV and Aids counselling, care and support free of charge

Health programmes at the Venture aim to eliminate occupational illness

Organisations depend on individuals to function. They need a healthy, motivated and skilled workforce. Intellectual capital and knowledge management are also recognised as key intangible creators of wealth. Damaging Human Capital by abuse of human rights or labour rights or compromising health and safety has direct as well as reputational costs.

We enhance our Human Capital by providing healthcare and training and education in health matters.

Our policy and approach

A business needs a healthy workforce that is able to work at its full potential. The health programmes provided by the Venture aim to eliminate and address occupational illnesses, public health issues and the overall wellbeing of its employees and contractors.

Typically, occupational illnesses such as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) are only diagnosed some time after the event that caused them. As a result, the occupational illnesses currently occurring in the Venture's operations are usually the result of historic mining and smelting practices.

The Venture has identified NIHL as a major occupational health risk for its employees and has employed a full-time audiologist to counteract this risk. Any of its workers exposed to the internationally accepted noise level limit of 85 decibels or above were issued with personalised noise clippers for hearing protection. The equipment it provides includes variphones/noise clippers, which are custom-made for comfort and are 100% leak tight.

Employees are trained in the use, maintenance, storage and care of this equipment. Any employees or contractors at risk of being exposed to noise that could damage their hearing are personally monitored and regularly tested as part of our hearing conservation programmes.

Wherever possible, the Venture reduces the noise from the equipment it uses in its operations to levels below the internationally recommended standards using design modifications, exclusive zones and "buy quiet" programmes for new or upgraded equipment. The Venture's operations have reduced machinery noise to less than 110 decibels. There was one NIHL case in 2023 (2022: three).

All the Venture's operations undergo an annual risk assessment of their baseline risks and legal audits are conducted by an external legal company accompanied by subject matter specialists in a three-year cycle.

HIV and Aids

HIV and Aids is a human rights issue, which Merafe and the Venture address through their policies and programmes. To ensure these policies are accessible to the Venture's employees and contractors, they are available in all the languages spoken by its employees.

Employees can choose to receive HIV and Aids counselling, care and support. Any HIV-positive employees of the Venture can receive treatment they need free of charge, together with the support and education that will make it possible for them to maintain their antiretroviral treatment programme through the membership of a medical aid.

All the Venture's occupational health nurses have been trained in the management of HIV and TB and the impact of HIV and TB. All employees who visit its occupational health clinics are screened for TB. Those whose screening tests indicate they may have TB are referred to healthcare facilities for TB investigation and treatment. The Venture's wellness programme has been incorporated into the annual/periodic medicals conducted at each operation. Medical records remain on site and are only seen by the Occupational Medical Practitioner and the nurses included in the wellness programme.

All Venture employees who are HIV-positive are encouraged to receive antiretroviral treatment.

The Venture's HIV and Aids policies commit to:

  • providing employees and contractors with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and their families from HIV and Aids through workplace education programmes that explain clearly how HIV can be contracted, what can be done to prevent contracting and transferring HIV, and what should be done to enhance the quality and length of life of those who are HIV-positive;
  • encouraging employees and contractors to know their HIV status and providing counselling and testing facilities for them;
  • running HIV and Aids campaigns that involve employees at every level of the organisation;
  • ensuring that every employee attends an HIV and Aids education session during working hours, followed by an individual wellness counselling session with a healthcare provider;
  • ensuring that testing for HIV is voluntary and that employees are only tested for HIV and Aids after giving their informed consent;
  • guaranteeing the confidentiality of employees' medical information;
  • providing pre- and post-test counselling for employees or contractors wishing to be tested for HIV and Aids;
  • forming public-private partnerships with local, provincial and national government structures in joint projects to fight HIV and Aids in the communities in which the Venture operates; and
  • facilitating the training of peer educators and establishing and training home-based care workers through the Venture's corporate social investment programme.

Human capital: our employees

Organisations depend on individuals to function. They need a healthy, motivated and skilled workforce.


No protected or unprotected strikes

The Venture has recognition agreements in place at most of its operations

Approximately 63% of the Venture’s workforce is unionised

18% of the Venture’s workforce in 2023 was females

Merafe had a total workforce of 8 employees and the Venture 6 719 employees at 31 December 2023

Key focus of the Venture is on retention strategies for junior and senior management HDSAs

100% of Merafe executives, senior and middle management are Black (2022: 100%)

60% of Merafe executives, senior and middle management are Women (2022: 60%)

Intellectual Capital and knowledge management are also recognised as key intangible creators of wealth. Damaging Human Capital by abuse of human rights or labour rights or compromising health and safety has financial and reputational costs.

We enhance our Human Capital by:

  • giving employees and community members access to training, development and lifelong learning and capturing and sharing knowledge;
  • respecting human rights;
  • paying fair remuneration to our employees and our business partners; and
  • creating satisfying work opportunities.

Our approach to our employees

Glencore's Code of Conduct, which is applied in the Venture, recognises and upholds the rights of employees to a safe workplace, collective representation, just compensation, job security and opportunities for development, all of which are based on the core belief that our people are fundamental to our success.

Glencore's Human Resources Director is responsible for labour relations in the Venture.

Both Merafe and the Venture are committed to providing a workplace based on:

  • mutual respect;
  • fairness;
  • integrity;
  • non-discrimination;
  • equal opportunity at all levels; and
  • open and two-way engagement with our employees and their representatives.

Labour relations

We consult with stakeholders in advance of any significant changes to our business.

Engagement and resolving disputes amicably plays a very important role in labour relations. The Venture undertakes to consult with its employees and their recognised representatives in advance of significant operational changes in an effort to reach consensus about any necessary business actions.

Collective bargaining and freedom of association is considered a fundamental right for the Venture's employees. Collective agreements, particularly around terms and conditions of employment and company benefits, are negotiated between the parties with due regard to the relevant legislation. The Venture seeks to reach agreement with the unions on annual wage increases for implementation in July each year.

The Venture is committed to treating all its employees with dignity and in a manner that is culturally sensitive. Unfair discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, political or sexual orientation, national extraction or social origin is not tolerated.

Disciplinary and grievance policies and procedures are in place at Merafe and the Venture.

Industrial action at the Venture in 2023

There were no protected or unprotected strikes during 2023.

In 2022, the Venture signed three-year wage agreements with the western smelters and the eastern smelters. During 2023 a three-year wage agreement was signed for the Western Chrome Mines.

Union membership

The Venture has recognition agreements with NUMSA and approximately 63% of its workforce is unionised.

  • Industrial action in the mining industry and the Venture
  • Meeting our employment equity and human resource development targets and exceeding the Mining Charter scorecard targets
  • Employee work satisfaction
  • Maximising local employment in the Venture
  • Retaining skilled employees and securing the next generation of skilled employees
  • Remuneration

See the Venture's code of conduct.

The total workforce of the Venture by employment type*

Category 2023 2022
Full-time employees 6 260 6 182
Temporary/fixed-term employees 459 417
External contractors+ 3 966 3 993
Total 10 685 10 592
* The numbers are the 2023 average numbers. The number of full-time employees and fixed-term employees at 31 December 2023 was 6 719.

Maximising local employment

Hiring policies

When hiring employees we give preference, where possible, to members of the local community and, in some instances, the Venture offers training opportunities to community members to develop the skills they need to become our employees.

Diversity, equal opportunity and remuneration

Management and site employment equity committees monitor employment equity in the Venture's operations every month and report the results to the Venture, which in turn reports to Glencore and Merafe.

The Venture bases its employment equity policies on providing equal opportunities to all potential and existing employees.

The Venture prides itself on remuneration practices that are fair. The Venture's remuneration practices are not influenced by gender, race, religion, discriminatory or arbitrary factors. They are based on fairness, internal equity, and equal pay for work of equal value. Our sustainability framework and environmental, social and environmental values are considered a key component of the remuneration strategy ensuring that the Venture is a responsible operator who cares about the communities and the environment wherein it operates. Safety is also a key performance indicator in the determination of short term and long term remuneration incentives.

Employee challenges

  • Maximising local employment in the Venture
  • Achieving employment equity that is supported by everyone in the workplace
  • Making careers in mining more accessible to women in the Venture
  • Engaging with the Venture's employees and the trade union through open communication channels to achieve labour peace
  • Providing a workplace that is free from discrimination

Venture workforce by employment and gender type at 31 December 2023

Permanent and fixed-term Male Female Total
Senior management 79 12 91
Middle management 110 69 179
Supervisors, administrators, technicians 985 440 1 425
Operational, maintenance, production 4 272 747 5 019
Grand total 5 446 1 268 6 714

Diversity in the Venture

The term diversity used in this section of the report is based on the Mining Charter Scorecard's definition of HDSAs, which includes African males and females, coloured males and females, Indian males and females and white females. Ongoing transformation is a priority and is discussed at all levels. The Venture is again focusing on its retention strategies with specific reference to senior management and junior management HDSAs.

Venture employment equity % Mining
Senior management 60 52 50
Middle management 60 72 71
Junior management 70 67 65
Core skills 60 95 95

Diversity in Merafe

Mining Charter % Mining
Top management (includes Board) 60 88 88
Senior management (Exco) 60 100 100
Middle management 60 100 100

There are no junior managers employed by Merafe.

Merafe achieved a Level 5 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) status under the Codes of Good Practice in 2023. A copy of the certificate is on the Company website together with an explanation and reasons for the rating.

Merafe executives (gender)

Merafe senior and middle management (gender)

Merafe employees (gender and race)

Human capital: training and development

The Venture provides full-time adult education and training for its employees and portable skills training that equips employees for careers beyond the Venture.


Overall, the Venture invested in Skills Development R299.79 million (2022: R289.67 million)

The Venture invested R185.50 million in other Training and Development Initiatives (2022: R187.29 million)

1 019 5826 Venture total training hours (2022: 804 751)

The Venture invested R78.54 million in artisan and other learnerships (2022: R65.17 million)

An average of R17 360 was invested in training for each member of the Venture’s workforce (employees and contractors) (2022: R17 682)

95.41 average training hours per permanent employee (2022: 73)

359 266 training hours for contractors (2022: 323 465)

90.59 average training hours per external contractor employee (2022: 81)

The Venture invested R35.75 million bursaries, scholarships, AET and community training (2022: R36.68 million)

Development and training

Both Merafe and the Venture are committed to meeting their human resource development targets and retaining and developing their skilled employees.

The Venture provides:

  • development and training opportunities for HDSAs that will help them to further their careers;
  • career development opportunities that allow it to develop and retain high-potential employees;
  • training that addresses risk-tolerant or ingrained behaviours that impact negatively on our operations; and
  • training on its Code of Conduct and Sustainable Development Standards and HSEC Standards and Protocols.

It continually evaluates its training methods and the best way to communicate with the various age groups and cultures in its workforce.

Training hours

2023 2022
Total training hours 1 019 582 804 751
Total training hours for permanent employees 641 030 481 286
Average training hours per permanent employees 95 73
Total training hours for contractors 359 266 323 465
Average training hours per contractor 90 81
Number of health issues training sessions 7 516 8 656
Number of safety issues training sessions 21 876 21 550
Number of human rights issues training sessions 15 701 16 847
Number of environmental training sessions 10 715 11 416
Community health training 127 137
Community environmental training 199 214
Community human rights training 185 226
* Permanent employees: 6 719 (average)
** Number of contractors: 3 966 (average)

Development of staff was a key focus in 2023 across all sites. Increased focus on computer-based training made training more efficient and structured.

Leadership development

The Venture invites senior managers whom it has identified as having leadership potential to participate in leadership programmes at universities. The Venture also provides them with additional training, support and career development opportunities. 81% (2022: 70%) of junior leaders who attended a programme to enhance their supervisory skills were HDSAs. 85% of middle management employees participating in management level programmes were HDSAs.

See joint Board on this report for detail of the structure of the Venture's joint Board and top management of the Venture where executives of Glencore and Merafe are members