Globally, the demand for modern mining practices that are designed for and ensure the protection of human rights, minimal disturbance to land, natural resources, and communities has increased. Investors and consumers alike have also increased pressure on mining companies to drive greener operations and broader compliance. The recent African Mining Indaba delved into these and other topics. We’ve summarised our top take-outs from the event and what they mean for your business and YES.
Here are the top four take-outs from this year’s African Mining Indaba
1. The sunrise industry: Mining headed in a new, green direction
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, opened the programme expressing positivity about the industry’s direction, labelling mining as a “sunrise industry”. The industry has begun to explore not only greener mining practices, but extraction of “cleaner” products, such as lithium. If our mining industry can get it right, it can play a much bigger and more important role in our economy in the future.
The minister’s words echo the hope conveyed in his 2019 address where he stated that “[the mining industry has] not yet attained Nirvana,” indicating that the 2018 Mining Charter was a significant improvement on its predecessors. In as much as there is a long road ahead, there is potential growth that can be realised, especially if the sector can do the work to become more attractive to investors.
2. The industry needs to focus on obtaining international investment by adhering to global ESG trends
Globally, countries and their respective industries have experienced a huge financial and economic knock as a result of the pandemic.
The South African mining industry suffered a huge blow last month when the 2021 Fraser Institute Investment Attractiveness Index ranked the country as one of the 10 worst mining investment countries in the world, falling to 74th place out of 84 countries globally and 12 out of 15 in Africa.
The lack of both ESG (environmental, sustainable and governance) reporting and compliance and social and labour plans (SLP) adherence form part of this recent drop in numbers (SA ranked at 40 globally in 2019). However, President Ramaphosa also seemed positive about the industry’s trajectory.
Despite the pandemic and our low ranking, the President noted that the mining industry had grown 11.8% in 2021, which was the largest growth across all South African industries. Its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is also expected to continue growing. He assured international investors that the government was taking practical measures to build an economy underpinned by inclusive growth, competitiveness and transformation.
3. More ESG action is needed, not only for investment, but for the prosperity of people and the planet
The overarching theme at this year’s Mining Indaba was the ‘Evolution of African mining: Investing in the energy transition, ESG, and the economies’.
The importance of ESG, the Mining Charter, SLPs and other regulations put in place to protect the lives and dignity of employees and the environment cannot be understated. The President highlighted that the growth and development of mining will be impossible unless the working and living conditions of mining communities are improved.
Chris Griffith, Gold Fields CEO highlighted how the local mining giant has placed impetus on the “S” in ESG: “When people think of ESG they think of decarbonisation, in other words, the “E”, but not about the “S” – health, education, infrastructure, jobs, procurement.”
In line with this, discussions were centred on the building of sustainable and thriving communities, the government creating an enabling environment for job creation, diversifying job opportunities (particularly around coal mines), and the need to invest in young people.
“I can’t get a job without experience. I can’t get experience without a job” is a challenge that many South African youth face and that YES seeks to resolve. Joanne Bate, IDC COO, stated that both the economy and mining industry need access to skills and access to experience, and so the need for young minds, and the innovation that comes with them, is there.
4. The mining industry has the potential to be a catalyst for job creation at scale through effective ESG
Duncan Wanblad, Anglo Group CEO, emphasised that the mining industry must ensure that it leaves no one behind and that the sector should place people and shared prosperity at the heart of its development. The industry has potential to be a catalyst for job creation and industrialisation, rippling through adjacent sectors.
However, the success of the industry is dependent on human labour and the planet, making health and safety of workers and the protection of the environment paramount. The SLPs and Mining Charter have a mirror effect on the principles of ESG, ensuring the protection of human rights and considerations of what effects the industry has on the environment. Read more about ESG and mining in our blog - Leading sustainability: Mining and effective ESG.
In a panel discussion at the Indaba, YES chief partnerships officer, Farai Mubaiwa noted that YES focuses on the social, or the “S” in environmental, social and governance strategies: “Not only do we create jobs for unemployed youth, but we create meaningful jobs in early childhood development, education, healthcare, and SMME development that build thriving communities.”
Watch the playback of our mining Indaba takeaways webinar here:
How YES can help with ESG strategies: Integrating with YES for improved impact. It’s about more than jobs: The turnkey solution
“Our host partner model ensures that no one is left behind in the just transition, and that we are developing sustainable societies that improve livelihoods.” - Farai Mubaiwa, YES chief partnerships officer.
The YES turnkey solution works with 33 YES-vetted host partners across South Africa to place youth. If a corporate cannot place youth in their own organisation, they have the option to place youth with our host partners. Host partners are NPOs and SMEs working in high-impact sectors communities, which means youth do not have to travel far for work and they can play an important part in building their own communities.
Some sectors YES host partners work in
Your mining company can use the creation of youth jobs to also impact social, environmental and economic issues that align with your holistic ESG and/or Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) strategies - meaning your business can create critical youth jobs in sectors that are relevant to you.
The turnkey solution is a true one-stop solution for organisations looking to make all of the impact with none of the admin. Host partners are not only responsible for hosting youth, but also for recruiting, screening, and supervising the youth, as well as facilitating absorption on behalf of the corporate.
Creating youth jobs in sectors that build economic, social and environmental stability in communities (through the turnkey solution) is an effective way to systemically and holistically reach your ESG goals, and uplift and empower thriving communities beyond mining.
How YES helps mining companies deliver on their SLPs
The YES turnkey solution is a vehicle to create jobs outside of the mining industry to build thriving communities and self-reliant economies.
The Local Economic Development (LED) Plan and the Human Resources Development Plan, which form part of a mining company’s SLP, ensure that these companies contribute to the development of communities and poeple where activities take place and where workers are recruited.
Through the turnkey model, YES helps capacitate local businesses, schools, clinics and NPOs with dynamic young people who are eager to learn and grow their careers. This feeds into poverty eradication and upliftment of communities and economies beyond the mines these towns surround.
This model is becoming more and more popular in the mining industry. This solution also helps address the problem of jobless growth the industry is experiencing through the creation of youth jobs outside the sector.
There is a great deal of responsibility on the industry to create jobs, decarbonise and invest in local communities. Through our partners, YES offers a vehicle that assists with this, allowing mining companies to focus on internal operations, while YES delivers an effective and high impact youth employment initiative.
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Over 2,000 corporate partners have signed onto the YES programme. Together, we’ve created over 80, 000 work opportunities for youth with no government funding.
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