Debswana Orapa and Letlhakane Mines General Manager, Sebetela Sebetela, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to upholding international standards in promoting safety, health and environment awareness. Speaking at a dinner hosted for the media late last year, Sebetela said that the company’s operations over the years have been geared at ensuring that they adhere to strict safety, health and environment standards.
Sebetela said that Debswana continues to experience improvements in their safety health and environment awareness campaigns as evidenced by the fact that they have had fewer lost time injuries in the 2007 production year as compared to 2006. In particular, the company has recorded a total number of seven lost time injuries in 2007 as compared to the nine recorded in 2006, which represents a 25 percent reduction in the lost time injury frequency rate. Also, the lost time injury frequency rate in 2006 was 0.12 and it has declined to 0.09 in 2007 which is the best performance the mine has ever achieved in its 13-year-existence. Indications are that the mine has been experiencing a steady decline in the lost time injury frequency rate from 0.23 in 2003 to 0.09 in 2007.
“This improvement is attributed to our Botho, Botshelo and Boitshwaro (BOBOBO) behavior based campaign, workplace risk assessment and thorough investigation of accident and consequent corrective actions to prevent recurrence. The mine’s safety slogan of ‘People safety first” has been fully embraced by all our people,” said Sebetela.
The general manager also added that the Orapa and Letlhakane Mines have been audited and certified OHSAS 18001 compliant this year. This certification, says Sebetela, is a highly coveted international safety standard and its attainment represents a milestone in the mine’s safety performance.
On the environmental management front, Sebetela also revealed that the OLM mines were also audited and re-certified ISO 14001 compliant by the Swiss Certification Board. He explained that the ISO 14001 certification is also a highly sought after environmental management standard and it is a clear demonstration of the company’s continued commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.
Some of Debswana’s environment protection initiatives in the Orapa and Letlhakane Mines include recycling of waste, water conservation, energy saving and pre stripping of top soils ahead of mine developments. Environmental Impact Assessments are also standard practice at the mines before any project is implemented.
The Orapa community has also been involved in a township clean up campaign throughout the year, the aim of which is to improve the aesthetics of the town and promote a culture of cleanliness in the community. As part of the clean up campaign Plastic Free Days were implemented with the help of the business community to discourage the use of packaging plastics which are said to exacerbate pollution.
Sebetela also said that Debswana remains committed to water conservation and the reduction of water consumption in their mining process, and raw water consumption at their various plants was between 5 to 20 percent favourable to budget.