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Bid to improve mine, community relationship

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"Local authority spending on delivery programmes and infrastructure investment was lacking"

File Photo: African News Agency (ANA)

THE MINERALS Council South Africa said yesterday that it was working to improve relationships between mines and communities, and to improve the developmental outcomes of companies’ corporate social investment programmes.

Minerals Council senior executive for public affairs and transformation, Tebello Chabana, said they have established project offices and structures in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga, adding that the work was focused on the mining areas in those provinces.

Chabana, acknowledging a gap between community expectations and mining company efforts, said certain structural regulatory issues were acting as obstacles to optimal outcomes. He was speaking on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

Chabana said mining companies were obliged by Mining Charter requirements to link their social spending to the priorities set out in local authorities’ integrated development programmes (IDPs), but that the IDPs were often not aligned with community priorities and expectations.

Chabana added that local authority spending on delivery programmes and infrastructure investment was lacking. These programmes underspent by R53 billion in the 2017 financial year, according to National Treasury.

Chabana said that although the Mining Charter encouraged collaboration between companies in the same region because it promises more impactful forms of investment, the regulatory procedures were a disincentive to collaborate in that they do not fully “credit” such programmes for charter compliance purposes.

To this end, Chabana said the Minerals Council was committed to working with government and other social partners to address these issues, and to strongly encourage greater collaboration between its members and other stakeholders.

The Minerals Council is a mining industry employers’ organisation that represents more than 90 percent of South Africa’s mining companies.

Chabana also said that the Minerals Council had recently adopted a human rights framework for members that will encourage the adoption of globally-accepted best practices, including the implementation of grievance procedures for community members.

– African News Agency (ANA)