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Q&A with the CEO

Johan Dippenaar answers questions on Petra's commitment to sustainability


1. What is the long-term vision for Petra Diamonds?

Our vision at Petra is to continue to build a world-class diamond mining group. In order to achieve this, we aim for industry leading performance across all areas of the business.

We are of the opinion that by responsibly developing our assets, we unlock value for all stakeholders and this is critical to the way we do business.

2. How does the Company’s sustainability strategy align with this vision?

Our sustainability strategy is fundamental to the way we approach and manage our operations.

In order to ensure the success of our operations now and in the future, we need to maintain our licence to operate, foster an engaged, healthy and productive workforce, and enhance our local surroundings by cultivating our relationships with our partners and communities, and by protecting and rehabilitating the environment.

3. How does the Board implement the sustainability strategy?

The Board is assisted by Petra’s HSSE Committee and I have been appointed to chair this committee, ensuring that we have Board-level oversight of the critical sustainability issues affecting the business and how they should be managed.

At Petra, we believe in keeping management structures as flat as possible, so there is direct linkage from the HSSE Committee straight to the operations and the action on the ground.

4. What do you see as the most critical sustainability challenges which impact the business?

First and foremost, we are striving for a zero harm workplace and see safety as the single most important personal and organisational value. After this, I see the other critical challenges as maintaining a stable and appropriately skilled workforce; upholding positive relationships with our local communities, particularly in terms of managing expectations and communicating effectively about all aspects of our operations; ensuring access to a sufficient energy supply whilst curbing our emissions; the impact of climate change in the future on the availability of water; and finally underpinning all this is maintaining consumer trust in, and demand for, our product. Demonstrating a strong ethical case for buying natural, mined diamonds is critical in this regard.

5. And what are the key opportunities?

I believe that the private sector has one of the most important roles to play in the ‘Africa Rising’ story – first and foremost by providing stable employment opportunities.

Our operations are generally based in quite remote areas, where they are significant contributors to the local economy. As such, we have the opportunity to really make a difference to our communities. By focusing on initiatives that help poverty alleviation, provide education and training, encourage wellbeing for employees and communities and by protecting the environment, we can positively enhance our direct sphere of influence.

Petra is now well advanced on its growth path and our revenue and cashflow is forecast to continue to grow as we deliver on our mine expansion plans. I’m therefore excited about what the future holds for our business and all of our stakeholders, who are set to benefit from Petra’s successful development.

6. Has Petra moved to GRI reporting?

Petra’s FY 2018 Sustainability Report has been prepared according to the GRI Standards, which are the benchmark for sustainability reporting globally. Petra has chosen to report as per the ‘core’ option, which means that the Company focuses on disclosing those sustainability ‘Topics’ that are considered material to both the business and our stakeholders.