South Africa: Women Equipped With Mining Skills
By Mthulisi Sibanda
Johannesburg — A local platinum miner, global mining group and equipment manufacturer have partnered to upskill women with the necessary skills in this industry that remains largely a preserve for males.
Nkwe Platinum and its Chinese-based parent company, Zijin Mining Group, have joined forces with construction and mining equipment manufacturer and supplier, Sany Southern Africa, to provide an entry-level excavator training programme for the women.
Six women from mining communities in Limpopo are the initial beneficiaries.
During the week-long programme, the women will learn the basic components and structure of excavators and will also physically learn how to operate basic movements on the machines.
“Nkwe Platinum and the Zijin Mining Group believe that the inclusion of women in the mining sector contributes significantly to its communities’ sustainable development and long-term economic growth,” said Zhiyu Fan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nkwe Platinum.
Fan said the two companies recognised the potential that women could unlock for successful mining operations and understood that their skills development formed a vital foundation for a more productive community.
Samuel Zhang, General Manager of Sany Southern Africa, noted women were dramatically under-represented in the mining industry.
“We hope that by empowering women with top quality excavator operations skills and training with state-of-the-art equipment will give women a more competitive edge to advance in this sector,” Zhang added.
The training programme coincides with Women’s Month (August) in South Africa.
Nkwe Platinum Limited is a 74 percent shareholder at the Garatau Platinum Mine, which is situated in the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa’s northern Limpopo Province.
The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Zijin Mining Group.
Mining operations at Garatau have commenced with the construction of the box-cut, which will make way for the decline shaft development towards the end of this year.
The processing capacity of Garatau is anticipated to average 3,6 million tonnes of ore per annum, once full capacity is achieved in a few years’ time.
The life of the mine is estimated to be in excess of 29 years.
Once fully operational, it will employ some 2 500 people, mainly locals.