The Finsch mine undertook a socio-economic impact assessment in FY 2016 with the aim of identifying the underlying issues within its local communities, as well as reviewing the impacts of its operations, both positive and negative, in order to aid its decision-making process in terms of LED initiatives. LED is mandatory spend and corresponds with the Company’s commitments as per the approved Social and Labour Plan in place at each of the South African operations.
One of the issues identified was availability of quality education and associated facilities. As a backdrop to this, the 2011 Census had identified that only 28% of the population within the Kgatelopele Local Municipality had some secondary education and that high unemployment prevails, particularly amongst young people.
The need to construct a Technical High School within circuit 5 (comprising the Postmasburg, Daniëlskuil and Lime Acres areas) was identified by various stakeholders and included into Finsch’s latest Social and Labour Plan (covering the five-year period to 2022). A local SMME, P&E Artisans, was appointed as the main contractor for the project and a local electrical trading company, Power Solutions, was also appointed as a sub-contractor. Construction of the project took six months to complete and 42 job opportunities were created.
The project is also in line with the developing trend for high schools that are focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (“STEM”), which thereby will allow students to learn in a very practical and hands-on manner.
Improved STEM education standards will benefit the local communities, as well as benefiting Finsch by providing a sustainable pipeline of suitable candidates that operations can target for apprenticeship intakes. The initial trades being taught by the school include automotive and plating/metal work, starting in the first quarter of calendar Year 2021.
The Finsch mine is proud to be associated with this project and the hope is that the facility will benefit the whole community in the longer term.