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Sibanye-Stillwater is now the largest primary producer of platinum and the second largest palladium producer in the world, with a massive portfolio of operations across the mining sector.

We get to understand how the group is uplifting communities and improving lives through innovation and sustainability.

This year has not been easy for South Africa’s economy. The mining sector specifically saw a 10.8% drop in mining production for the first quarter of the year.

While the latest Statistics SA figures indicate positive overall growth of 3.1% during the second quarter – up from -3.2% quarteron-quarter – despite its challenges, it is clear that mining continues to form a significant portion of the economy, generating 7.5% of GDP and directly employing 450 000 people. The sector contributed R351 billion to the economy in 2018.

Albeit conservative, the overall economic outlook for the rest of the year is positive, with economists forecasting that South Africa is expected to grow 0.7% during 2019.

However, Sibanye-Stillwater is investing in innovative projects to ensure its value extends beyond just the minerals it extracts. Sibanye-Stillwater is the world’s number one primary platinum producer, the second largest primary producer of palladium and, on a gold-equivalent basis, it is the third largest producer of the precious metal.

In addition to being a leading global recycler and processor of spent PGM catalytic converters, the company has rolled-out and contributed to several other projects and initiatives that are defining it as a game changer within the industry. Sustainable Investment By demonstrating its commitment to improving lives through developing and investing in the local economies it operates in, Sibanye-Stillwater has contributed R1.4 billion in 2018 towards social economic development.

The company is geared towards driving sustainability in the business as a whole, whether it is through strategy, operations or corporate social responsibility and this is more apparent in how the company operates, with local communities at the fore of its engagement with stakeholders.

To this end, SibanyeStillwater has rolled-out a Community and Indigenous People Policy that “is designed to respect local customs, traditions and cultures while encouraging in open, honest and constructive dialogue”.

The company also has several ongoing projects and upcoming initiatives in the pipeline that seek to create shared value for all its stakeholders which includes its host communities and the environments in which it has operations.

Creating the Mine of the Future Although gold mining has been referred to as a ‘sunset industry’ due to safety concerns the deeper miners go underground to extract minerals, it is innovation and technological advancements that will prolong the life of mines.

Sibanye-Stillwater is constantly innovating to ensure that the mining industry can continue to contribute to the economy in a safe, fatality-free manner in line with Vision Zero – a global prevention strategy developed by the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

To this end, the company invested in DigiMine at Wits Mining Institute with safety at the forefront.

The DigiMine is a ground-breaking programme at the University of Witwatersrand, which provides a safe, mock mining environment in which students can research digital technologies for application in underground mining, without the risks involved in a real-life situation.

Wits MSc candidate Mosima Matlhwana says it’s an amazing place for innovators, as they can get to learn technologies and get practical experience but are also able to immerse themselves in mining culture.

For Sibanye-Stillwater, it is an opportunity to put the brightest minds, with their fresh perspectives, on to real-world issues and opportunities present in the mining world.

DigiMine is a one-of-a-kind laboratory with a vast research agenda to transfer digital surface technologies into an underground environment and to identify and mitigate the typical risks mine workers are exposed to on a daily basis.

Sibanye-Stillwater believes that DigiMine will unlock new opportunities and possibilities for South Africa’s mining industry.

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