Independent nongovernmental organisation the Bench Marks Foundation (BMF) yesterday called on Anglo American Platinum Corporation (Amplats) to develop a comprehensive accounting model that fully discloses all benefits to employees and local communities.
Speaking in Johannesburg at the launch of BMF’s latest study, Critical Analysis of Amplats Sustainable Development Reporting from 2003 to 2015, executive director John Capel said the report had highlighted many shortcomings in Amplats’ sustainable development reporting.
He said most mining companies regarded shareholders and owners “as the most important stakeholders and ones to which attention must be paid”.
“Mining would not be possible without the land from which the minerals are extracted; communities who live on top of this land and the workers whose labour results in the extraction of the minerals,” he said.
“In the vast majority of cases, these stakeholders – environment, community, workers – are at the bottom of the pile of priorities, if they are on the list at all.
“If Amplats and other mining companies were to prioritise environment, communities and workers, it would stand to create a strong legacy that would go a long way to taking responsibility for the privilege of being given a licence to mine.”
The study found the revenue value of Amplats was “not fairly shared” in 2008, with shareholders pocketing R15.2 billion (29.7%), workers getting R8.8 billion (17.3%) and the local community being offered a mere R21 million (0.07%) towards corporate social investment.
From 2007 to 2015, 39 000 contract workers and 5 000 permanent employees lost their jobs.
“What happened to these workers, their families and mining communities?” asked the report.
It also found Amplats have failed to offer detailed information on training, unpaid benefits to contractors, retention rates after parental leave and gender salary differences.
On health and safety, BMF found no data on community diseases like HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and silicosis disclosed in 2004 – the year fatal injuries went down.
While R14.1 million was spent on hostel refurbishment, only 5 743 workers lived in converted hostels in 2015.
On environmental pollution, the study found that greenhouse gases were up by 1 429% from 4 582 kilotons in 2003 to 70 059Kt in 2015.
There was no quantitative information available on human rights, child and forced labour.
Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said the company “noted the release of the report”, which followed BMF’s critical analysis of the company’s sustainable development reporting for period 2003 to 2015.
“We have not had adequate time to review the report in detail and will assess its findings and respond within a month,” he said.
BMF finds the world’s No 1 platinum producer makes limited disclosures on:
- Financial implications on climate change arising from the company’s operational activities.
- Operational risks and costs of increasing water scarcity due to climate change.
- Defined benefit plan obligations for employees and contractors.
- Entry level wage compared to the minimum salary.