Petra Diamonds, South Africa, Angola, Sierra Leone | Print |

The Petra group has over the last 10 years developed a range of social initiatives in order to make a meaningful impact upon the lives of its employees and surrounding communities. Petra’s focus on sustainable development is via educational programmes and skills transfer. In this way, it ensures a broad based approach with a lasting legacy

South Africa

Petra works with the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA), and the mining industry’s recognised Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA). Training and development initiatives provide its employees with the skills to improve not only their efficiency and safety in their working environment but also their ability to progress within the company.

Petra provides support to local Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) facilities, which in turn provide a service to its employees and the local communities. By encouraging employee attendance on ABET programmes, there is increased scope for the facilities to operate outside the mining environment and Petra provides economic assistance to these facilities.

In the area of HIV/AIDS, which is a significant issue of concern to companies, employees and communities in South Africa, Petra’s HIV/AIDS programme is a preventative one, with a strong focus on creating awareness, and there are several peer education training and safety awareness programmes in place across its operations. At the Cullinan mine, it has inherited an advanced and comprehensive HIV/AIDS programme. At this site, voluntary counselling, testing and, where indicated, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) are available to employees.

In environmental issues, water monitoring is in operation at all mines, and rehabilitation is being implemented, taking into account the life cycle of the mines’ waste rock dumps. At Cullinan, a project is being carried out to determine which angles, seed mixes and soil types are the best for rehabilitation. Aside from these projects, Koffiefontein is running a programme to germinate Camel Thorn seedlings in the hope of replacing alien and invasive species of flora with indigenous plants.

In education, the Kimberley mine sponsored 20 learners’ school fees for a year at the local Dutoitspan Primary School. The sponsorship also includes two winter and two summer uniforms, stationery, sports equipment and a gift for each learner.

Kimberley Underground is also actively involved in establishing a safe haven and referral centre for the abused women and children of the Kimberley area. The Sinothando Centre provides these women and children with counselling and access to social workers. The project is run in collaboration with the Department of Social Services.

Petra’s Sedibeng mine supports the Selelo Child Project, in collaboration with Thabiso, a local NGO. This project is a community-based initiative which addresses the plight and needs of the growing number of street children in the Warrenton area. Petra’s support is vital to ensure the sustainability of this project.

The Selelo Child Project provides these children with, amongst other things, regular meals and assistance in order to attend school. It also provides activities to keep the children off the streets and offers a vital safe haven when children feel threatened. The children are provided access to counsellors and social workers who support them and provide them with guidance.

Angola

In Angola, the Alto Cuilo and Luangue projects employ 335 people, 85 percent of whom are unskilled and drawn from the villages located near the projects.

A pro-active ‘women in mining’ policy has been followed, and despite the challenges associated with operating in a predominantly subsistence and rural economy, the Angolan operations have female employees in a range of senior positions, and a number of female trainee geologists.

Petra has funded the building of a local primary school and assists with equipment and general support for the school. The school currently caters for 100 learners from the surrounding community at Alto Cuilo and a second school is being built for more distant communities. A local primary school has been constructed in the Alto Cuilo area. The school currently caters for 100 pupils from the surrounding community at Alto Cuilo.

Petra also regularly assists the local government and police with transport and logistics.

In the health sector, Petra has ongoing HIV/AIDS and malaria education and prevention programmes. Petra runs two fully-funded clinics in the area to cater for the local community. The clinics are staffed by Angolan doctors and nurses as well as by expatriate emergency medical technicians and treat around 400 patients per month. The clinic has had a considerable impact on the surrounding community, especially in infant mortality. The clinic is equipped to handle and give primary assistance to trauma cases, and in severe cases its ambulance transports patients to the nearest hospital.

The Alto Cuilo project also provides drinking water to the surrounding villages to limit the spread of water borne diseases, such as cholera, and improve local sanitation.

In environmental practices, Petra strives to ensure minimal environmental impact from its mining activities. Areas which have been disturbed through mining are rehabilitated as soon as operations are complete. The original top soil is replaced and it takes about three months for the natural vegetation to re-establish itself in the mined area. Water used on site is sourced from the local river, and recycled through a slimes dam process.

Sierra Leone

Petra, with its joint venture partner Stellar Diamonds, provides various small business support programmes at its Kono project with non-core services, including tyre and motor repair workshops, a timber business, a metal recovery project and the provision of locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables. These businesses are conducted with the support of the local community leaders and some of the proceeds have been used by the community to upgrade local schools. Petra has also assisted in rebuilding five local schools.

Petra has embarked on various road and bridge rehabilitation initiatives in the project area, with over 17 kilometres of roads and bridges completed. These roads provide Petra with easier access to its project area and the community with improved local mobility and access to churches and community halls. Petra’s support made it possible to build a new bridge linking the Lower-Bongema with the Upper-Bongema villages. The bridge is used by the local villages to access the main road which links the province with Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

Petra is actively involved with the Sierra Leone Police in the form of enhancing community policing by providing technical level co-operation and support. This support enhances visible policing and contributes to the increased level of security in the region.

Petra, through the assistance of the Sierra Leone Department of Health attached to the Kono District, has launched a collective HIV/AIDS awareness campaign and presented two successful workshops to the employees. This is an ongoing programme, with the emphasis on prevention and building of awareness.

Local wells have been cleaned at Petra’s initiative, and clean water is now available to more than 180 people as a result. Petra also supports a healthy body, healthy mind approach, and has put a local sporting programme in place which does much to boost morale and bring the community together.

Petra takes care to ensure that its activities cause minimal disruption and in all cases looks to enhance its local environment where possible. The waste material, waste rock and tailings, from its operations can be put to good use, and is currently employed for road surface upgrades, road rehabilitation and for stabilising erosion areas caused by artisanal miners. It is also used to infill open pits previously created by artisanal mining, thereby decreasing the natural breeding habitat of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Water which accumulates underground is re-circulated to settling pits on the surface, from where the water recharges the local aquifer area. Surface water run-off from areas such as the ore treatment plant is caught in water re-circulating dams for re-use.

Petra sponsored the newly established Nimikoro Football League whereby six towns in the chiefdom participated in a league in which a Nimikoro team was elected for future participation in the district and the chiefdom as a whole.