Social And Labour Plan for the Garatau Mine

Developing and empowering our communities is just as important as the development of the mine.

To date, Nkwe Platinum Limited has spent R53 million on its Social and Labour Plan

The investment has benefited the surrounding mine communities of the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine.

Skills Development

Nkwe Platinum Limited recognises the importance of its mine communities as well as surrounding communities within the labour sending areas of Fetakgomo Tubatse and Makhuduthamaga local municipalities, in the achievement of its business objectives. Furthermore, we fully understand and appreciate that skills development is the foundation for developing competent and productive community members. The latter could potentially be future employees who are able to participate in achieving the mine’s business objectives.

We invested R14.5 million and implemented the skills development programme under its first Social and Labour Plan (SLP) that focused on equipping the community members in the surrounding areas with skills to enhance their opportunities of employability and participation in the South African economy at large. The main focus under the skills development programme was Adult Education and Training (AET), learnerships as well as bursaries to pursue different careers that have potential to feed into the mine requirements in the near future.

Adult Education and Training

Our AET programme was designed to improve literacy of community members as majority of the community members did not complete high school education.

To date, a total of 315 participants, from which 95 pre-AET, 115 AET Level 3 and 56 AET Level 4 learners had passed, expanding their horizons and enhancing their employability.

Learnership Programmes

In terms of the learnership programmes, the Company had two options for the communities. Some participants had to take a mining related route and others a business administration career path.

Nkwe Platinum Limited facilitated the training for those participants who wanted to follow the mining career path in the National Certificate Mining Operations (NCMO) for Underground Hard Rock, an NQF Level 2 and MQA accredited programme. The learnership is a structured learning programme which combines theory and practical on-the-job training over 12 months. The programme comprised 6 months theory with 6 months practical and participants were deployed to existing mines so that they could familiarise themselves with mining working environments.

The theory component of the programme was conducted at 2 different places, that is, at Ratau Primary School at Ga-Mpuru Village (a part of Garatouw farm) and Scotia Mine, Barberton, Mpumalanga. The practical component took place in Scotia Talc Mine in Barberton. A total of 44 participants from the communities of Ga -Mpuru and Ga – Komane villages successfully completed the learnership programme.

Upon completion of the programme, over 70% got hired by surroundings mines, and some were able to upgrade to higher levels of the same learnership programs.

The participants who wanted to follow the business career path were given an option to take a Business Administration course.

Nkwe Platinum Limited facilitated the enrolment of prospective learners at  Ramokgopa and Senwabarwana campuses of Capricorn College for TVET so that they could pursue their studies and training. The Business Administration course consisted of the following courses: Business Management N4 Level diploma and the Finance and Accounting level 2 certificates. The duration of the training at Ramokgopa and Senwabarwana campuses was 18 and 12 months respectively.

Nkwe Platinum Limited will keep all the participants’ details in a database, for consideration when the Garatau mine commences operation. This will ensure that the community is the first to benefit when the mine becomes operational. The mine views capacitation of the community as being very critical if the mine is to be effective and beneficial to the community. As a Company, we will therefore continue to train and capacitate the communities surrounding us and those within the Sekhukhune district.

Basic Welding Training

Nkwe Platinum Limited, collaborated with Gears Technology to provide skills transfer training to 4 community members at Gears Technology’s factory in Phalaborwa. Training in basic welding, basic disc polishing, and basic metal cutting were provided to each of the community candidates. One candidate was selected from each of the four directly affected mine communities of the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine.

The training period for the candidates began in July 2022 and took 3 weeks to one month to be completed. Once the skills transfer training programme was completed, the candidates were placed by Gears Technology in related work contracts for the core-shed construction project at the Mine.

We also partnered with a community-based SETA-Accredited services provider to train an additional 10 (ten) learners from its mining communities for basic welding at Marble Hall. The training programme occurred over a three-month period, starting from 22nd of July 2022 and was completed on the 16th of November 2022.

The learners undertook practical exercises in Arc welding – a technique that uses an electric arc to generate heat and melt metals to be joined together – and were also empowered with cutting and grinding skills. Certificates in basic welding NQF Level 2 were awarded to the learners.

RDO Training Programme

We have trained 16 Rock Drill Operator (RDO) learners from our four mine communities. The learners were enrolled for a three-month training period, which began on the 3rd November 2022 and ended on the 3rd of February 2023.

This training programme included real-time practical training in a shaft. With the theoretical and practical exercises completed, the learners were awarded an NQF Certificate for RDO with a competent B Certificate and will be fully competent to work underground in mining or construction operations.

A qualified RDO learner will be able to operate a hand-held rock drill for mining or construction operations.

TMM Training Programme

We provided training for another 16 learners from its directly-affected communities in Trackless Mobile Machinery (TMM) technology at the Bokoni Platinum Mine.

The learners completed practical and theoretical exercises at the Bokoni Platinum Mine Training Centre, over a course of two months, from the 17th of October 2022 until the first week of December 2022. They were awarded a certificate for Trackless Mobile Machinery, specialising in Loading, Hauling and Dumping (LHD) trucks.

Competent B Training Programme

Additionally, a further 23 learners were enrolled from our four mine communities for Competent B training. The training consists of the Installation and maintenance of any support unit and the removal of a temporary support unit in Underground Hard Rock Operations.

This skills-development programme took place from 10th of October 2022 to the 9th of December 2022, and was completed successfully in three months.

All learners received Competent B Certificates. The top 15 performers will be afforded career opportunities within the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine, once the mine is fully operational.

Road Maintenance Training Programme

Training in road maintenance was also provided by the Company to 20 other learners from the 4 (four) host communities.

The training programme consisted of road development and maintenance strategies, as well as practical applications. Candidates from the communities participated in this programme that took place over a period of three months, from the 17th of October 2022 until the 23rd of December 2022.

They were each be awarded a certificate in road maintenance for construction.

Clothing & Textile Training; Beauty & Care Training

Additionally, Nkwe Platinum Limited worked together with a community-based skills training service provider to provide SETA-accredited training for 26 community members, in the areas clothing and textiles; and beauty and care.

With a division of 13 trainees in each field of expertise, each division received a 3-month training programme in their choice of specialisation.

Entrepreneurship Training Programme

Nkwe Platinum Limited worked with a local SETA-accredited service provider to train 12 members from the Garatouw community with the essential skills needed to successfully research, launch and manage new business ventures. The training programme began on the 3rd April 2023 and was implemented over the course of 15 working days. The participants, which comprised of members of the women’s, youth, and strategic forums, received Entrepreneurship NQFL 4 Certificates after the training.

Through the same local service provider, the Company also provided entrepreneurship training for the 9 (nine) members of the Ratau Business Forum. The forum, consisting of members from the Garatouw community who oversee business-to-business networking and information-sharing for the community, attended the 15 working-day long from the 12th of June 2023. Each member will receive Entrepreneurship NQFL 4 Certificate after the completion of this programme.

Bursary Programme

The Bursary Plan helps to develop individuals, thus supplying the mine operation with its required skills. Apart from business related qualifications, Nkwe Platinum is also aware of the need to develop qualified individuals from other sectors of the economy, whose communities will be affected by the mine.

A total of 69 students have been awarded bursaries to date. The bursaries covered tuition fees, book allowance and accommodation costs in multi-discipline programmes pursued by students at various South African Universities including; the University of Limpopo, University of Johannesburg, Tshwane University of Technology, Rhodes University and the University of the Witwatersrand.

Nkwe Platinum’s bursary programme has enabled community student beneficiaries to study all over the country and has produced geologists, a radiologist, business administrators, an electrical engineer, an economist, human resource practitioners, and an early childcare specialist. The mining company is proud of this remarkable feat and milestone.

Nkwe Platinum has a criterion of providing bursaries for the most impoverished, giving them an opportunity to improve their lives. Our bursary management team has an open-door policy where students enrolled in the programme are encouraged to approach us with issues and challenges faced, so that we can enable students to have undivided attention on their studies. Students who have successfully gone through the program increase their chances of getting quality employment and rising above their life circumstances.

Jason Spalane – Bachelor of Science in Sc Diagnostic Radiography

“It has been amazing!”

Nkwe Platinum approached me with the opportunity to fund my university bursary in 2017. At the time, I had just gotten into university but was struggling to pay for the very high fees that came with it. Nkwe Platinum put me on their bursary program and from there, they paid for my tuition fees and my books. They even included an allowance for meals! They really helped in taking the financial burden off my shoulders, allowing me to focus on what was important to me: my passion for an education.

Nkwe Platinum would check in on me every year and make sure that payments were made on time. This continued for 4 years and in 2021, I graduated with a BSc degree in Diagnostic Radiography. I will eventually work at Nkwe Platinum to assist with taking X-rays for their mining staff.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that Nkwe Platinum has provided me and I look forward to a bright future in my career with the company.

Deon Magabane – Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Economics

“Don’t be afraid to give away short-term conveniences for long-term stability”

Having graduated from high school in Burgersfort with 4 distinctions, I went to study at a university in Johannesburg. Although the university paid for a portion of my studies under their bursary program, the annual fees were very expensive. My family were struggling to pay for the rest of the study fees. I approached Nkwe Platinum during the 2nd year of my studies to apply for their bursary programme. Nkwe Platinum paid for my 2nd and 3rd year university fees in their entirety. They also provided a book allowance and a living expense allowance which helped with the pressures that came with studying. The allowances enabled me get access to the latest studying materials and allowed me to move closer to the campus. Previously, it took me two hours to get to classes! I feel one can focus more on their studies and engage more with campus culture when one is more financially secure. Not only did Nkwe Platinum provide financial support, but also provided emotional support. Their team would check in on me every semester to tend to my needs which was a very different but welcome experience compared to other bursary programmes.

I graduated cum laude with 26 distinctions in 2020, obtaining a BCom degree in Economics. 

Because of the support that Nkwe Platinum provided, I am now able to pursue my post-graduate studies. I am so thankful to Nkwe Platinum for giving me this opportunity to improve my life and follow my dreams!

Lepudi Magabane – BSc Degree in Information Technology (Software Engineering) at Eduvos

“I’ve always had a passion for information technology-related subjects, so I decided to pursue a tertiary education in software engineering. Since tertiary tuition fees are very costly, I applied for a bursary from Nkwe Platinum Limited. I’m very thankful and very grateful for the opportunity granted by Nkwe Platinum Limited, in their support for the steps that I’m taking right now.

My dream came true, and I started my studies at Eduvos in 2021 for a 3-year degree programme. I recently achieved distinctions for all subjects within the subject block and consequently, received an Excellence Award from Eduvos for being one of their top achievers. I’m happy and delighted with these results because it serves as a motivation for me to keep doing what I’m doing. I attribute this success to the amazing support provided by the lecturers at Eduvos, and by the Community Management Team at Nkwe Platinum Limited.

Nkwe Platinum Limited not only pays for my tuition fees and textbooks, but also regularly makes the effort to check on my mental wellbeing, and to see if I need any other assistance. They don’t just send you off with the tuition fees and no longer care about you. Nkwe Platinum Limited’s personalised attention gives me the confidence and reassurance that they have my back in this journey.

My advice for others who wish to follow in my footsteps to achieve their dreams, will be: ‘Put in the hard work, discipline, and the commitment to achieve your goals. You can achieve anything if you set your mind to it!’”

Local Economic Development

Local Economic Development (LED) is an approach towards economic development which allows and encourages local communities, government and the private sector to work together to achieve sustainable economic growth and development, thereby promoting economic benefits and improving the quality of life for all residents in any local municipal area.

As part of its first generation Social and Labour Plan (SLP), Nkwe Platinum integrated with the Municipality’s Development Plan to embark on the upgrade of the road from Boschoff hospital to Makhwai village. The village is located in the Maandagshoek area. Due to the poor roads, the community is challenged with access to health care services and schools. The dirty roads that the households of Garatouw use on a daily basis have become increasingly unsafe over the rainy season and during periodic flooding.

The project entailed the upgrade of approximately 4km of the main community gravel road along the HC Boschoff Health Centre to the Makhwai village to a 6m wide dual lane sealed road and approximately 600m of local access gravel road to a 3m wide single lane sealed road leading to a Community Hall. The main road provides a link between the R37 north of Burgersfort through the community areas of Setshitshi and Ga Makhwai and linking to a main access road at Diphale. A total of R22 million was invested by Nkwe Platinum in the upgrading of this Garatau Community Access Road.

In October 2020, the second generation SLP was approved, which will see further local economic development projects in the form of clean water supply to the local mine communities over the next few years. The water supply project has already commenced with the supply of water tanks and re-equipping of water boreholes.

As a priority, Nkwe Platinum will employ people from the local communities for all projects where possible and will continue to provide bursaries and learnerships for students from the local community, provide community donations to alleviate poverty, and provide support to the local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solar-Powered Water System

Nkwe Platinum Limited, launched its first solar powered water supply system for the Ga Mpuru Village in the Garatau community, situated next to the Zijin Garatau Platinum Mine.

The pumps installed on the water borehole and storage tanks are powered by a complete solar system. In addition to providing round-the-clock water for the members of the community, the solar system also powers a security electric fence for the water supply infrastructure, making it a self-sustaining unit. The community will now have access to over 55,000 litres (continuous flow) of clean water from a pipeline which spans over 2 kilometres within the community. Taps and water troughs are stationed at various strategic points along the pipeline to cater for both the community and livestock.

The advantages of using water storage tanks include the allowance of instant water supply during any point of the day when the demand exceeds the water supply using the solar powered water pump. Emergency water storage is available from the water tanks, in case of pump failure or low irradiance (during mornings or evenings as well as on cloudy day). Also, this system has brought clean water to relatively dry sections of Ga -Mpuru village that had not intercepted any water during the company’s drilling campaign.

This solar-powered water system forms part of the second generation Social and Labour Plan, which enables Local Economic Development (‘LED’) projects in the form of clean water supply to the local mine communities over the next few years.

Nkwe Platinum Hands SLP Water Supply Projects to Sekhukhune

On 25th May 2023, Platinum Limited hosted a ceremony to hand over its Social and Labour Plan (SLP) Water Supply Projects to the Sekhukhune District Municipality.

The event that marked the completion of Nkwe Platinum Limited’s SLP water supply projects within its mining communities of Garatouw, Maandagshoek, De Kom and Hoepakrantz, which fall under the Makhuduthamaga and the Fetakgomo-Tubatse Local Municipalities.

A total of 31 boreholes were drilled and/or equipped for the water supply projects across all four of the Mine’s communities (Garatouw, Maandagshoek, De Kom and Hoepakrantz) and supported by the installation of 52 Jojo water tanks. This clean water supply is distributed to the communities via 92 water taps which are stationed at various strategic points to cater for both the community and livestock.

Nkwe Platinum Limited’s SLP water supply projects support 1742 households within the communities with 320 000 litres of water resources per day and have created a total of 72 job opportunities for members of these communities.

Community empowerments initiatives, undertaken by Nkwe Platinum Limited, has also included contracts awarded to communities and local businesses, such as R7.6 million for the site preparation work for the box cut in 2021, and approximately R36 million of crushers material supply; tipper truck and diesel supply as well as various other projects in 2022.