De Beers Group has revealed that it has spent P4 billion on local procurement in 2016 in Botswana which is 81 percent of total in-country spend.
The mining giant has also announced that it has invested P119 million in community development programmes which are 31 percent increase.
Briefing the media on Thursday, DeBeers Group Services Head of Safety & Sustainable Development, Deidre Lingenfelder, said that programmes supported included upgrades to community health and education facilities, accommodation programmes for key worker and cultural tourism development. She further stated that the company spent P49 million on training for employees.
Launching the Group’s latest Report to Society, published by De Beers Group of Companies, she said “The spend with Botswana-based businesses”, which represented 81 percent of the Group’s and its joint ventures’ total procurement used in Botswana, comprised payments for both core business and ancillary services.
“De Beers Group and its joint ventures also increased the amount they invested in community development programmes,” said Lingenfelder.
Asked on the Global spending by the company, she stated that the Group returned $5 billion to stakeholders through taxes, payments and dividends, which indicates 26 percent increase and $4.1 billion in southern Africa. She further said the mining giant procured more than $1 billion of goods and services within producer countries adding that 39 percent of this spend was in Botswana.
“We have sold $1.4 billion rough diamonds to in-country cutting and polishing businesses ÔÇô and it is 70 percent increase,” she said.
She also spoke of supporting more than 640 jobs and 120 businesses through enterprise development projects in southern Africa and managing 164 000 hectares of land for conservation. She said a ground-breaking project investigating potential of carbon-neutral mining was coming up.
Contained in the De Beers Group’s latest Report to Society is that in 2001, Debswana pioneered the first HIV/AIDS workforce programme anywhere in the world. It further stated that 15 years ago, the prevalence of HIV among employees stood at 29 percent while now, it is 11 percent. Also stated in the report is that employees at Debswana dying from HIV/AIDS has fallen from 31 percent in 2001 to less than 1 percent in 2014.
“The De Beers programme provides free, lifesaving anti-retroviral medication, care and support to our people and their families,” reads the report.
Quizzed on the loss of life incidents in the workplace where two employees died in Botswana and Namibia, Lingenfelder said investigation are still ongoing. She added that the company initiated detailed investigations into the two fatalities experienced at Debswana and Namdeb.
“The Department of Mines is doing the investigations. We ran major communications exercises to promote safety both within and beyond our operations,” said Lingenfelder.
Meanwhile, Debswana diamond Company Head of Safety & Sustainable Development, Tefo Molosiwa, said the company is committed to supporting Botswana’s white rhino population. He added that they had plans to establish another sanctuary for an important population of white rhinos that can provide additional back up to the national population during times of threat.
“We want to provide a source of genetically well managed breeding animals to strengthen the genetic diversity of white rhinos in Botswana and it is an important partnership with government,” said Molosiwa.