Harmony Gold Mining Company has awarded 32 bursaries to university and technikon students for the 2017 academic year.

The bursaries cover various areas of study, including core disciplines such as mining, engineering and ore reserve management, as well as non-core disciplines.

Harmony Gold said 61% of the students fall into the core disciplines category, while the remaining 39% will study non-core disciplines.

A total of 19 bursaries are for students who will be undertaking their first year of study, while the rest are in their second, third and fourth years of study.

Harmony Gold added that for the first time in five years, the number of young women who have been awarded bursaries is higher than that of men. “This year, 17 young women and 15 men are the chosen beneficiaries. The Free State, our host community, remains a key focus area. In fact, over the past five years, 175 (or 70%) of the bursary recipients have been from the communities in and around our mining operations,” the company said.

Furthermore, in a new initiative by the CEO of Harmony Gold, Peter Steenkamp, an additional 10 bursaries valued at R40 000 each are to be awarded for the 2017 academic year to qualifying students residing in the Matjhabeng community.

Harmony Gold said it places a high degree of importance on education and training. “To borrow from President Nelson Mandela’s words, the company believes that ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. In staying true to this premise, Harmony Gold has contributed over R149 million towards this critical area over the past five years,” the company said.

“Education has always been close to our hearts. This is part of our vision to change lives on a long-term, sustainable basis. We are deeply committed to investing in the future of the country and Harmony’s bursaries reflect this,” said Steenkamp.