Mining industry needs to look in the mirror, says Cutifani – by Allan Seccombe (South Africa Business Day – August 27, 2013)

THE entire South African mining industry needs to “look in a mirror” and take accountability for the sector, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said at the Mining Lekgotla on Monday.

Mr Cutifani, who is also president of the Chamber of Mines, said the mining sector had faced a “tumultuous” year in 2012 and it remained the industry’s intention to “face with brutal honesty” what needed to be done to improve situations that had led to the unsettled sector.

“The Marikana tragedy was a stark reminder that we as an industry need to do more,” Mr Cutifani said at the second Mining Lekgotla, which draws together participants from labour, the government and the mining sector, as well as community and youth representatives.

The mining companies had looked in the mirror and taken full accountability for the state of the industry, Mr Cutifani said. “We ask our partners to also look in the mirror,” he said. “It remains our absolute intention to address the issues we have faced with brutal honesty and as a sector confronted with myriad challenges, we need to chart a path towards future growth and prosperity.

“I do not believe that enough is being done in terms of internal engagements between government and the industry to resolve our issues and to build a relationship based on trust, mutual appreciation and respect,” he said, calling for “new dialogue”.

There has been a 66% reduction in fatalities on South Africa’s mines in the past decade, with companies taking enormous strides to make the industry safer, Mr Cutifani said. It has, however, fallen short of the 87% target it had set itself.

“Look what amazing things can be achieved when we work together,” Mr Cutifani told about 500 people attending the conference in Johannesburg.

The stand allocated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in the exhibition hall was unused and there was no indication yet whether the union, which has displaced the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the largest union on the platinum mines, would attend the conference.

The NUM’s stand was staffed.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu is in Australia for the African Down Under mining conference and has prerecorded a message for the Mining Lekgotla.

Other speakers include Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

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