The South African mining industry is to this day some-what between 100 and 150 years of age since the discovery of diamond in the 1860s. For all these years, it’s worth noting that the (mining) industry has accounted for a better economic role in the country even on the rest of the world. Even to this day, South Africa has natural competitive advantages in natural resources that are begging to be developed into greater prosperity.

However, other various factors, the industry has also impacted negatively on both people and the communities within which mining activities take place.

It is because of such reasons that Menar Academy has introduced a two day Journalism training for mining journalist with among other goals, to empower and create efficient synergy between mining journalists, the industry role players and the society as a whole towards achieving responsible mining and sustainability.

 

THE TRAINING

The two-day training was aiming to propel media practitioners to gain a better understanding of the mining sector in South Africa. To achieve this, the Academy brought together seniors and juniors in mining journalism. The guest speaker line up was made of industry lawyer, analyst, founder, CEO and other role players in the mining industry. All expressed their experiences of the industry and their perceived relationship between the media and mining organisations.

The 22 attendees came from various backgrounds such as the print, broadcast and digital media. Other attendees were students from Pretoria Technical College, Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Johannesburg.

 

SITE VISIT TO PHALANNDWA MINING COLLIERY

Phalanndwa mining colliery is a subsidiary of a junior coal mining company Canyon Coal. This open cast mining operation is located 10 Kilometers east of Delmas in the Mpumalanga province. The colliery has been in operation since October 2010 and has a total of 244 employees from across all race demographics and gender.

The company (Canyon Coal) has a number of collieries including Hakhano and Singani collieries, in Middelburg, and Phalanndwa Colliery, in Delmas, all of which are based in Mpumalanga, east of South Africa.

 

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES

The sustainability of a capital-intensive industry like mining will hinge on how much investment is made in the sectors such as education, skills development and community empowerment.

During his presentation, Phalanndwa Colliery General Manager, Alan Mabbett said the company is continuously making substantial contributions toward the community to benefit the community through skills development, bursaries, and community development initiatives.

For an example, company’s funding to the community initiative Bonginhlanhla Stimulation Centre has assisted in buying much-needed support and stimulation items for the disabled. The items included standing and walking frames, toilet and passage rails, educational material, crawlers, toys, mats and rollers for therapy.”

 

By Matimu Mahundla

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