Khuseleka 1 Shaft
A new platinum mining study has revealed that the sector is responsible for significant economic support in the Rustenburg area.

The study was conducted by Eunomix; a multidisciplinary advisory firm specialising in investment climate, strategy, risk management and socio-economic development. It specifically focused on the impact of the main platinum mining houses’ in the Rustenburg area.

The study finds that the three main platinum companies were until recently responsible for almost 50% of all direct jobs in Rustenburg. Additionally, indirect jobs, such as mining contractors and suppliers, amounted to 15% of all jobs in Rustenburg in 2013.

In addition, platinum companies’ social investments in Rustenburg have been extensive, particularly compared to public investments in health and housing.

For instance, in 2013, the three companies invested a combined R139.8 million in training and education programmes, R171 million in health programmes (14 times the municipal expenditure), R1.2 billion in housing programmes (60 times the municipal expenditure), and R370 million in local infrastructure.

Over 25 000 students were enrolled in company-financed education programmes between 2011 and 2013 and almost 60 000 HIV tests were conducted by the three main platinum mining companies in 2013. Platinum companies also built around 18 000 dwellings in Rustenburg between 2012 and 2013.

Platinum mining industry needs to improve strategic direction

Nonetheless, Eunomix’s on-the-ground research reveals that there is space for the strategic direction of the sustainability investments to be more responsive to the nuanced issues that emanate from a number of structural socio-economic problems that plague a large part of the Rustenburg area, many of which are mining-related.

For instance:

  • The migrant labour system contributes to gender violence;
  • There is a lack of health facilities;
  • The housing backlog was estimated at 59 000 in 2011;
  • There is a lack of capacity in local government; and
  • The area is dangerously dependent on mining, which contributed to 68% of Rustenburg’s Gross Domestic Product in 2011.

The study recommends that industry players should improve the coordination of sustainability projects and that more cooperation between government and the industry is needed.

This is especially critical given that the current commodity bear could see platinum companies scale back operations and social projects in the area.

Article photograph:

Khuseleka 1 Shaft
Name of Photographer: Geoff Brown
Photograph courtesy of Anglo American