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Kumba Iron Ore, in collaboration with the Northern Cape provincial government; The Department of Mineral Resources; Assmang Northern Cape; Deloitte; Industrial Development Corporation; Kudumane Manganese Resources; Minerals Council and South32, have launched a multi-sector initiative to improve economic development, the quality of health, wellbeing and general living conditions of host communities across the Northern Cape.

The initiative, known as The Impact Catalyst, was first launched in Polokwane in 2019. The Impact Catalyst aims to drive large-scale, socio-economic development initiatives in the province through sustainable public-private partnerships.

The success of the programme provides a solid platform for its expansion into the Northern Cape.

The Impact Catalyst forms part of Anglo American’s long-standing Collaborative Regional Development (CRD) programme, which works to create long-term economic prosperity beyond the expected life of a mine in the communities in which it operates.

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CRD’s focus areas include key areas such as economic development, health, education, social empowerment, the environment, and supporting municipal and provincial governments to upskill and improve service delivery.

This innovative approach identifies socio-economic development opportunities with the greatest potential in a region through spatial planning and analysis. This creates a catalyst for partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders including community representatives, faith groups, businesses and entrepreneurs, government, academics, and NGOs.

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To address some of the socio-economic difficulties in the Northern Cape, the Impact Catalyst will prioritise the following programmes:

  • Schools and Community Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Providing communities with the required broadband infrastructure and ICT services
  • Health: Implementing Community Orientated Healthcare (COPC) services and Health Infrastructure Support, which can include support for the Covid-19 vaccination drive
  • Economic Development: Implement and create a Northern Cape Supplier and Enterprise Development (SED) programme to identify supplier and enterprise opportunities
  • Agricultural Sector Development: Creating enabling environments to support emerging and industrial farms to be more competitive
  • Tourism Sector Development: Creating an enabling environment to assist the tourism sector to attract tourists
  • Municipal Capacity Development and Infrastructure Support: Supporting the municipality to develop the required capabilities to enable service delivery.
  • Early Childhood Development: Construction and operationalising best practice early childhood development centres in communities

Speaking at the launch, Themba Mkhwanazi, CEO of Kumba Iron Ore said:

“We would not exist if not for our communities, they are the lifeblood of our business. It is in our host communities where we mine the mineral resources that power our economy and drive the growth of the country.

“Two years after launching the Impact Catalyst in Limpopo, we are proud to be launching the Impact Catalyst in the Northern Cape – a significant region for South Africa’s mining industry and for Anglo American.

“Through programmes like The Impact Catalyst, we plan to ensure that the sustainable positive impact of our work remains long after our mines have closed, through thriving and sustainable communities,” said Mkwanazi.

Several feasibility studies and pilot programmes are underway in the Northern Cape, as part of the Impact Catalyst’s efforts to stimulate economic development in the region.

Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul said:

“The Northern Cape province has immense potential for development and growth, but it is also a province facing significant economic challenges. Through collaborative initiatives like the Impact Catalyst – that bring government, business, and civil society, we are building a region that is resilient, thriving and inclusive and can better serve the aspirations of our people.”

Mkhwanazi added:

“Collaborative Regional Development sits at the heart of our Sustainable Mining Plan, which sets out a pathway for us to build thriving communities by working collaboratively with community representatives, faith-based groups, businesses and entrepreneurs, government, academics and NGOs – to deliver on our promise.

“Through our collaborative efforts and the by in of our host communities, we hope to play a part in shaping the future of the Northern Cape and its people.”