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Mines urged to comply with charter

The Department of Minerals and Energy Resources’ minister, Gwede Mantashe, has urged mining corporations to comply with the Mining Charter by ensuring development in the communities in which they are operating.

Last week Friday Mantashe opened a R340- million clinic built by the mining company, Seriti Coal, previously known as South32, for the Rockdale community in Middelburg. He said that the participation of mines in community development was in line with mining legislation.

“We have the document called the Mining Charter which provides for social labour planning (SLP). Its intentions are that companies must invest in communities where they are operating,” he said.

“I urge companies to talk to municipalities so that their SLP projects compliment integrated development programme (IDP) projects,” he continued. However, Mantashe cautioned that SLPs should not get to a point where they replace IDPs. “There is a municipality here. It must do the work and companies must be able to compliment that work so that development makes optimal impact on society,” he said.

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“If you make that impact, people are going to see that the minerals in their area are benefiting them. They will take the responsibility to protect this clinic and beyond that protect the mines in their area.”

The state-of-the-art clinic will operate 24 hours a day and has a fully equipped centre, including staff accommodation, for five healthcare professionals. Eighty jobs opportunities will be created with half of these for young people. Seriti Coal’s CEO, Mike Teke, said his company made a commitment in 2012 to the Department of Mineral Resources and the community of Steve Tshwete Local Municipality that it would construct the facility.

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He added that Seriti has further made a commitment to work with the community. “Rockdale and other projects that we are going to be busy with, are going to be about Seriti collaborating with these communities,” he said.

“I just want to mine in peace by making sure that my community next door is working with me.” Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane said she was humbled by Seriti’s gesture.

“Thank you for leading by example and showing through your actions that sustainable development is not only the responsibility of government, but all who benefit from the mineral resources in our beautiful province,” she said.

“The clinic will service about 8 500 members of the Rockdale community and the surrounding areas. This will lessen the burden of patients that have to visit our district hospitals on a daily basis. They will receive services on their doorstep,” she added.

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