It’s not every day that one hears of an operating mine that has experienced no fatalities for three consecutive years. Exxaro, is one of the few mines that have reached such a milestone. The mine producer was hosting its annual sustainability summit at the organisation’s headquarters in Centurion.Many of the attendees at the summit were Exxaro employees from various operations. The summit not only celebrated the three-year fatality free milestone, but it also highlighted other important issues relating to health, safety and environmental issues in the mining industry. Musa Mabasa, mining manager at Exxaro’s Matla coal mine, started the first session of the event with an opening prayer and a moment of silence observed for mining colleagues who had passed on in the industry. This was followed by a safety briefing by Claudia Nair, the health and safety officer. Exxaro CEO Mxolisi Mgojo was next when he officially opened the Summit and the Khetha Ukuphepha 3 Years Fatality Celebration. The Khetha Ukuphepha campaign was launched to emphasise the belief in zero harm as a possibility. During his opening speech, Mgojo mentioned the importance of having no fatalities for three years. “Being fatality-free means we’ve been able to send all our employees and business partners back home unharmed daily for the past three years,” he said. He also urged audience members to be responsible about their health. “Our people are our biggest asset – Your health is your wealth.” After Mgojo, audiences watched a safety video which told the story of Pilard Tibane from Grootegeluk mine in Lephalale. Tibane was involved in an accident which saw him lose his leg. Fortunately, he survived, made a full recovery and managed to return to work – despite having an amputated leg. During the video, Tibane emphasised the importance of hazard identification and risk assessment (HIRA). After the video, Dr. Nombasa Tsengwa, the executive head coal operations, led the audiences during the zero-harm pledge. Before the first session ended, Mongezi Veti the executive head of sustainability, talked audiences through Exxaro’s sustainability journey. He talked about the 10 global sustainability megaforces that could potentially impact business over the next two decades. “Climate change is becoming the greatest threat of our lives,” Veti said. A direct impact of climate change was food security, which often affected vulnerable people in society. Veti stressed that it was important for people and organisations to transform themselves to become more sustainable. “This is the time for corrective action.” During his presentation, Veti showed the audience visuals of what would happen if nobody took climate change seriously. Before concluding he mentioned that Exxaro was ready to deal with the coronavirus which is spreading across the world, saying that a guideline on how to manage the disease would be communicated to everyone in the organisation.
After the tea break, Mervin Govender, projects group manager kicked off the second session of the day. He talked about measures Exxaro had put in place across to ensure that all operations were running according to safety and sustainability standards.