Editor's Note

The wonderful women of mining

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Welcome to another edition of South Africa’s favourite business-to-business mining bi-monthly, as we celebrate the tireless work and dedication shown by the many women of mining, who often have to traverse a fine balancing act between achieving business success versus raising a family successfully.

Often, women who have professional ambitions will put off having children or have them later as they are perceived by male colleagues in the workplace to be bad for business because it requires time off work.

Corporate society needs to look further than just the bottom line and understand that women can lead and also take time off to nurture the next generation, and secure our survival. Without childbirth, there would be no next generation. Some forward-thinking companies take this into account and provide a baby room/crèche for office workers, so you can bring your child to work—a revolutionary idea.

You are now finding in countries like Denmark—with a below-average birth rate—that their government is encouraging families to have more children by providing state funding for the parents. They also offer lengthy maternity and paternity leave, giving parents the quality time needed to nurture their offspring. This initiative is driven by their negative birth rate, declining population and a more progressive approach to parenting.

In South Africa, we have the opposite problem of a population explosion, which has put a tremendous strain on our schooling system, job market and healthcare services, for example. And as our cities grow beyond a sustainable level, take Cape Town, for example, with the recent drought, a need for de-urbanisation is vital. In the modern, technologically advanced world we live in; more mining related jobs can be performed remotely or from home due to the connectivity that the Internet provides.

Meanwhile, following the recently launched draft of the Mining Charter 3, a stability clause has been proposed and this is exactly what our country needs right now, to allay investor fears and encourage much-needed investment in a struggling sector. Stability clauses are favoured by foreign investors because they guarantee that the term and the conditions attaching to the mineral right they sign up for will not be changed unilaterally.

The Mining Charter will increase the target to procure services from B-BBEE entities from 70% to 80% and the target to procure goods from B-BBEE entities from 50% (in respect of consumer goods) and 40% (in respect of capital goods) to 70% according to reports.

Sadly the new Charter does not fully address the need for a simpler operating system to attract foreign investment, but rather puts down another layer of red tape. South America countries like Brazil and Chile have been able to leap-frog some African countries like South Africa for FDI, by providing a business friendly legislative environment for mining houses to operate in.

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