Our mission is to unlock value for all our stakeholders, of which our local communities are considered to be one of the most important. We therefore continuously strive to build and improve upon our positive relationships with the communities around our operations.
Our operations are predominantly located in remote areas which have a low level of socio-economic development and high unemployment. The ‘multiplier effect’ which can be applied in Africa means that whilst Petra employs a total of 6,788 employees and contractors (as at 30 June 2019), a significantly larger number of people are dependent on our operations.
Our community development efforts focus on the following key areas (as identified through our community engagement programmes):
The significant capital that we have committed to extending the lives of our mines will serve to ensure sustainable employment for our workers and contribute to the future viability of the communities surrounding our operations. This is augmented by initiatives such as locally-focused employment and developing local suppliers to a level where they can supply products and services to the operations.
Taking into account the long potential lives of our operations, we focus on investing in long-term projects which will have a lasting positive impact and which address the socio-economic needs of the communities in which we operate. Our approach to corporate social investment is therefore developmental in nature and aimed at creating sustainability in communities beyond the life of active diamond mining.
The success of a number of our social investment projects is dependent on our local communities having the necessary skills to implement and eventually manage them, and Petra therefore aims to provide the required training and advice wherever possible. We also facilitate steering committees to assess, implement, monitor and evaluate the progress of our projects, consisting of our employees, members of the local community and municipality, and other service providers.
Social investment in South Africa is provided in the following areas:
Williamson’s Corporate Social Responsibility Plan, which is informed by the mine’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan, concentrated on the following areas for contribution and support during FY 2019:
Petra considers providing training, education and development to local community members just as important as training its own workforce, as this enables it to not only directly contribute to the economic uplift of the community but also to prepare a pool of potential labour for its operations.
In order to address the scarcity of skills in our local communities, our mines’ involvement starts at a grassroots level, in the form of the maths and science school support programme and the provision of scholarships. This is continued at tertiary education level with opportunities provided through the bursary scheme, the graduate development programme and the provision of practical experience through our experiential training programme.
We believe that local business development is a key component to true sustainability and is core to the economic development of South Africa.
Local businesses face a number of challenges as start-ups often struggle to gain access to grow and expand their businesses. These challenges include access to funding, availability of skills (both management and technical) and access to established supply chains.
At Petra, we address these challenges through our Enterprise Development (“ED”) and Supplier Development (“SD”) programmes, which are rolled out at our operations through our Enterprise Development Resource Centres and monitored through our Group ED structure, working very closely with operational and Group-level procurement.
Each of our South African operations now has an operating Enterprise Development Resource Centre with a full time ED Co-ordinator. This centre serves as a link between local businesses and the mine’s supply chain.
Services offered at the centres include:
The implementation of a consistent and effective stakeholder engagement approach across the Group remains a priority for Petra in order to build on the robust processes covering engagement that we already have in place across the Group.
Our objective is to standardise processes and our stakeholder management approach and provide stakeholder relationship owners with the required management framework and we have made significant headway in fulfilling this.
The Company uses a software system, IsoMetrix Social Management, to capture and profile, schedule and manage engagement, as well as carry out the required reporting.
This approach and system will also assist in materiality assessments going forward, in conjunction with formal surveys carried out, and will be instrumental in identifying our stakeholders’ perception of Petra’s most material issues, enabling the Company to respond to these speedily and more effectively. No formal, Company-wide Social Impact Assessment (“SIA”) or materiality study was conducted during FY 2019 as the approach has been to build on the information gathered during the FY 2016 studies, evaluating it against and adjusting it according the insights provided during ongoing stakeholder engagement. A more formal materiality survey is planned in FY 2020.
Ongoing communication with our stakeholders is the most critical part of our SEM process. In addition to face-to-face meetings and forums, we use a variety of suitable channels and media, including printed, broadcast and social media. While our social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram, are playing an increasingly important role in this, quarterly community news letters produced and distributed to the communities by the respective operations, with support from the Communication Management sub-department, still play a key part in keeping communities informed of operational issues that affect them.
Petra is committed to transparency with regards to payments to Governments, both in terms of taxes and royalties, as well as our other areas of significant social expenditure. We support the principles of the ‘Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’ and ‘Publish what you pay’, given that publishing details of Petra’s tax payments to Governments can help improve community support for its activities.
In FY 2019, the Group paid a total of US$49.9 million in taxes and royalties. It should be noted that our operations are currently subject to varying levels of tax shields, due to the significant level of investment being spent by the Company at each asset. However, as the capital expenditure levels continue to fall from their peak in FY 2016, payments of taxes and royalties are due to rise considerably, in line with the profitability of each operation.
Local community members can submit feedback to Petra Diamonds by emailing: