They don’t care about people: panelist accuses mining companies of hypocrisy

This as the industry reinforces its commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance to achieve social goals beyond the pursuit of profits.

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CAPE TOWN - Civil society leaders have accused mining companies of hypocrisy as the industry reinforces its commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance to achieve social goals beyond the pursuit of profits.

They pointed to the continued harm to people living near mining companies and the environment as indicators that the message being spread at this year's Mining Indaba by industry is merely for expediency purposes.

A panelist during a conversation on the future of mining left jaws dropped when she accused mining bosses who formed part of the discussion of blatant hypocrisy.

NGO Just Share’s Tracy Davis told Eyewitness News that while companies decry regulatory burdens which hamper operations, she noted how they were silent on the devastating impact of mining on people, environment, water and air pollution.

“Did anyone at this entire indaba mention the fact that a high court judgment recently said the air quality in Mpumalanga is a breach of our constitutional rights? No one mentioned that. So don’t tell me that you care about people and the environment in the same breath that you are talking about cutting red tape for the mining industry.”

When a delegate asked Anglo American’s Richard Morgan who was on the panel about the acid water spillage from the south shaft of the Old Kromdraai Coal Mine which is now run by Thungela, he declined to comment on it.

He, however, acknowledged that environmental legacy is important and the company is focused on maintaining it in a responsible way.