De Beers Group recently released its annual Report to Society, in which the company states that it invested R1,6 billion in South Africa by procuring goods and services locally, a 27% increase on the previous year.
The Group also provided R40 million in funding to communities around its mines through a number of community development initiatives.
This included the continuation of the company’s successful Zimele enterprise development programme, which has supported more than 3 000 jobs and 260 enterprises in South Africa since 2009, the company said in a media release.
In 2016 the programme focused on providing a link between local enterprises and De Beers’ supply chain to create consistent and reliable business opportunities for all parties. The Group also launched a new project to broaden the participation in diamond cutting of historically disadvantaged South African entrepreneurs.
The project involves working with five black-owned diamond companies, the South African government and the local diamond industry to develop the cutting and polishing sector. As a result of its improved financial and operating performance, globally De Beers Group returned US$5 billion to stakeholders last year, a 26% increase on 2015, through taxes, payments and dividends. This emphasises the importance of relationships with stakeholders, including governments, communities, suppliers and joint venture partners.
The publication of annual Report to Society comes as the company announces a ground-breaking research project in South Africa to investigate the possibility of carbon-neutral mining through soaring large volumes of carbon in kimberlite tailings, the rock material left over after diamonds are liberated from mined ore.
The report also highlights that in South Africa De Beers Group:
Spent more than R85 million on training for employees;
Supported an additional 70 jobs in 2016 through 10 new enterprises as part of Zimele, an enterprise development programme run in partnership with Anglo American
Worked with 700 community members to embed a road safety campaign for better pedestrian and vehicle safety around the Venetia mine in Limpopo
“We made significant progress in putting the South African supply chain to work in 2016 through our continued focus on procuring goods and services locally. Through the range of our community development initiatives we are fostering the growth of many small businesses, as well as the De Beers supply chain, which delivers significant long-term benefits for both the people and our South African business,” Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said in the media release.
“There is always more we can do and we are focused on further extending these efforts in 2017 to ensure we continue to convert the precious asset below ground into enduring opportunity above ground.”
The De Beers Group Report to Society 2016 can be viewed online at www.debeersgroup.com/reporttosociety.
Story: MARKI FRANKEN