4,000 families, 5,000 students benefit from the empowerment of DRDGold

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Johannesburg has a unique history. Without mining, there would be no city. The mines, however, did not come to the city, rather the city came to the mines.

The result has been poorly regulated urbanization and hundreds of thousands of people living near old mining infrastructure and mine dumps. (Also watch the attached video from Creamer Media.)

Conventional environmental and closure standards are proving inadequate to contain the impacts of mining on surrounding communities.

Most of the communities that live near the facilities of surface gold mining company DRDGold are plagued by poverty and socio-economic stress.

The social added value of the company listed in Johannesburg and New York is therefore centered on the realities faced by these communities and the objective is to reduce poverty and provide educational opportunities for young people.

DRDGold’s operational footprint extends to Johannesburg in the East Rand and the Far West Rand. An integral part of the mining process is to address the negative aspects of this legacy both by rehabilitating through mining – the recycling of old heaps and mud dams – and revegetating those that have been a permanent feature of the surrounding landscape.

The company is thus at the epicenter of the circular economy imperative of the modern world.

“Many of our communities are people who truly live in abject poverty,” CEO of DRDGold Niel Pretorius Recount Weekly mining in a Zoom interview.

“So we decided to be that first step out of poverty. It’s something very basic, very intuitive. Start with nutrition, the ability to feed your family. That’s the first thing – poverty reduction and then educating young people.

“We hire teachers of math, science and accounting, and we offer additional lessons for children in these schools. It was really the first step to get out of the situation at that time, more than 4,000 families joined this, more than 5,000 students took advantage of these additional classes.

“The network has been established, and among the people who matter to us, those we want to help empower, the response has been really good.

“We believe that, increasingly, there is also a strengthening of relations and we want to take advantage of this to develop the informal economy.

“We firmly believe that the informal economy will be a powerful catalyst in reducing poverty. There is a huge amount of money going into the informal economy through social grants, and we need to find a way to create rigidity in these small micro-economies, and help start businesses so the money can be spent over and over again, in that same economy, so there’s less dependency and more self-reliance and sustainability,” Pretorius said.

The company, which this week continued its 15-year unbroken streak of paying dividends to its shareholders, proposed 41 different programs aimed squarely at improving the informal economy’s broad-based livelihood project with the research department. on Business from the University of Pretoria.

Weekly mining: There are still lots of mining waste dumps between Soweto and Johannesburg, an area you once described as a historic Berlin Wall-like separation structure. Now that we have a paperwork czar in the form of Sipho Nkosi, can’t we once and for all extract the gold from these dumps and allow people to live closer to town and avoid having to travel so much in taxis, recycling dumps and creating new places to live?

Courtroom: Absolutely, I think it’s still the most effective way to improve the quality of life in and around Johannesburg. The point is that the gold content will be enough to pay for running costs, but not enough to pay for capital in addition to running costs, or to get the initial capital infrastructure established. Hope there will be a platform for better collaboration.

About Mitchel McMillan

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