JSE and TSX-listed Wits Gold chairperson Adam Fleming has purchased a tranche of 90 000 shares from the Wits Gold Womens Trust at R15/share, a premium of some 36% to the current trading price of R11/share, to assist the Trust in funding its operations.The Trust was established in 2005 by the founder shareholders of Wits Gold to promote the involvement of women in the South African mining industry. It is chaired by Dr. Brigalia Bam, former head of the Independent Electoral Commission. The Trust originally received one million Wits Gold shares with which to finance its activities and sponsor the tertiary education of appropriate candidates. The primary objective of the Trust is to reach a wide spectrum of women, promoting the mining industry as a career of choice, and to provide financial assistance to those who want to study a mining-related discipline. Although the Trust is run independently of Wits Gold, the board is kept up to date regularly with the progress of the students, who have achieved some remarkable successes.
As the company moves towards development stage, the management of Wits Gold has undertaken to start a programme to help develop the careers of the Trust students further by providing appropriate job opportunities as the company starts mining operations. “We look forward to informing you of success stories about the students that have benefitted from the Trust in future,” explains Fleming.The main criteria are financial need and gender and Wits Gold notes that since its inception, the Trust has provided bursaries to about 20 students a year and recently produced its first batch of graduates which includes geologists, engineers and human resource managers. The company admitts that Fleming’s initiative comes at a time when South African mining shares have been depressed, and those of Wits Gold as an exploration and development company in particular.