Anglo American is engaging with its harshest critics because they are often the best people to learn from, Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said during a panel discussion at the 2016 Investing in African Mining Indaba.
Moderated by International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) CEO Tom Butler, the panel included the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgabo as well as Aureus Mining CEO David Reading, who said his gold mining company’s actions during the Ebola crisis in Liberia had significantly improved relationships with the community. The archbishop said his experience in working with mineworkers was that one had to go to the powerful in order to help the powerless.
Cutifani spoke of Anglo still having a lot of work to do to improve the lot of mineworkers and that the company had been developing a different approach with a number of church groups and indigenous groups.
One of its initiatives began with the words “how can we help you?” and the company had put its social and labour plan on the website for all to access. “For us, making sure that we’ve got our relationships right, is key to being successful,” said Stefani, who added that criticisms were taken seriously.
During the Ebola crisis, Reading said Aurous was able to hold classes with communities, establish meal cooperatives and conduct truck-driving instruction. Reading said that the challenge for Aureus was to explain gold mining to the community and what was being done to protect the environment, along with his company’s fiscal commitments and contributions to the country.
ICMM’s intention, said Butler, was to conduct the sort of conversations that had taken place at the Mining Indaba in several other forums.