23 Aug 2019
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Responsible diamond mining
By: Diamond World News Service
Aug 13 2014 6:56PM
Reference: 9428  


De Beers Group
Lynette Gould, Spokeswoman, De Beers Group
Safety has always been a priority for De Beers and we have a fundamental commitment to zero harm. All our mines and some exploration sites are certified to OHSAS18001 standard and are audited internally and externally on a cyclical basis. We are working in a number of areas to standardise and improve our approach to safety including a focus on leadership, initiatives to prevent potentially fatal risks, enhanced safety risk management, and learning from past incidents. 2013 was a year of safety improvements for De Beers with no loss of life incidents and a reduction in lost time injuries.

We are committed to maintaining an environmental management approach that matches the world’s leading mining companies. We define best practice for our operations through our six Environmental Standards covering life cycle planning, biodiversity, water, climate change, pollution prevention and environmental reporting and these standards are mandatory for all De Beers operations.

Optimal employee health is essential to the effectiveness of our operations, and to the well-being and participation of our employees in their local communities. During 2013 many of our operations conducted comprehensive wellbeing assessments such as nutrition advice, physical fitness and chronic disease surveillance. Our strategy for wellbeing also includes a focus on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. For our operations in southern Africa, the prevention and management of both TB & HIV remain priorities for the wellbeing of employees and their families, the continuity of our business and for continued development in our producer countries.

De Beers relies on local communities for many things: skilled, educated workers; a local supply of goods and services, and access to shared resources like water and land. Education, health and employment are key priorities for all of the communities we engage with. Our in-kind services include community access to mine-supported services such as schools and hospitals. For example, Debswana operates fully funded hospitals at Orapa and Jwaneng Mines, which serve as district hospitals, and provide essential public medical services to mine employees and the surrounding communities. At Orapa mine, the mine hospital provided essential health services to more than 76,491 patients in 2013.

Investing in skills development and capacity building within our communities is an essential part of supporting economic development that will last beyond the life of our operations. Skills development programmes mainly focus on education, enterprise development and preferential procurement within local communities. We also operate investment funds to promote enterprise development such as the Namdeb Foundation in Namibia, De Beers Zimele in South Africa and the Tokofalaenterprise development programme which launched in Botswana in 2013.

Social and Labour Plans
In South Africa all mining companies must submit 5 year Social & Labour Plans (SLPs) to the government before mining or production rights are granted. The SLPs aim to ensure that mining companies contribute to socio-economic development through job creation, infrastructure, education and health investment, HIV/Aids programmes and small business development. During 2013, De Beers Consolidated Mines distributed $4.72 million towards 18 SLP projects in South Africa.

Impact Benefit Agreements
The Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs) in Canada are formal community investment agreements with First Nation communities and other Aboriginal groups in the vicinity of our mines. The IBAs require De Beers to invest in a range of community programmes to ensure that mining delivers tangible benefits to Aboriginal communities such as education and training, support for Aboriginal culture, environmental protection and, where appropriate, financial compensation. In 2013, delivery continued against four IBAs relating to the De Beers Snap Lake Mine in the Northwest Territories, and three relating to Victor Mine in Ontario continued in all totalling $5.23 million. Agreement was also reached with the Government of the Northwest Territories regarding the socio-impact agreement for GahchoKue, our JV project with Mountain Province in the Northwest Territories, as well as an IBA with the North Slave Métis Alliance.

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