NGO accuses platinum mine owners of neglecting communities

17 August 2012 11:44 — SABC

Several Platinum miners have dismissed a non-governmental organisation report on their operations in the Rustenburg area. The Bench Marks Foundation is accusing platinum miners of neglecting mining communities in pursuit of profits. Mineworkers union National Union of Mineworkers has come out in support of Bench Marks findings.

Despite more than 80-years of mining in Rustenburg, Bench Marks says communities in the area remain poor while platinum producers continue to smile all the way to the bank. The NGO’s report was particularly scathing on Implats. The company has yet to respond to the report as it is still studying it.

Royal Bafokeng Platinum however has dismissed the study as incorrect, unbalanced and unfair.

Angloplat has also criticised Bench Marks‘ research methodology which relies heavily on the experience of community members. It also argues that the responsibility for improving rural mining areas should not be put squarely at the doorstep of mining houses. 

“Yesterday heavily armed police clashed with striking workers, in what is described as one of the most horrific attacks in the mining industry in recent years.”

The Bench Marks Foundation has warned of more conflict in the Rustenburg area if mining companies fail to ensure that hosting communities benefit through revenue sharing.

Meanwhile, North West Premier, Thandi Modise and MEC for Public Safety, Nono Maloyi will be part of government delegation visiting Marikana near Rustenburg, where 45 people have been killed in recent clashes with police and Lonmin mine security officers. Yesterday heavily armed police clashed with striking workers, in what is described as one of the most horrific attacks in the mining industry in recent years.

Provincial government spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele says they condemn the attacks. “North West Premier Thandi Modise is saddened by the loss of lives experienced at Lonmin Mine in Marikana. She regards this as the most tragic labour dispute that South Africa has ever experienced, which could have been avoided had parties involved respected the law. Premier Modise will be visiting the area today and says that government is supporting the investigations and interventions aimed at bringing the situation to normality.”

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