Home » Kumba Iron Ore Plants Trees and Boosts Emergency Response Skills in South Africa

Kumba Iron Ore Plants Trees and Boosts Emergency Response Skills in South Africa

The iron-ore major has been engaging with its near-mine community through various environmental and social initiatives.

by Motoni Olodun

Kumba Iron Ore, a division of Anglo American, has been engaging with its near-mine community in South Africa’s Northern Cape province through various corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives. The iron ore major has recently celebrated Arbor Month by planting 250 indigenous and fruit trees in the region and also conducted a joint emergency response drill with local government entities to improve collaboration and preparedness in case of a disaster.

The tree planting campaign aimed to emphasise the crucial role trees play, both as sources of food and construction materials, but also as vital producers of oxygen. The trees were planted in specific areas such as Kathu, Siyathemba and Kuruman, where Kumba Iron Ore operates its Sishen mine, one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. The miner also provided hands-on experience and education to the community members who participated in the planting process, teaching them how to take care of the saplings and ensure their growth.

According to Dawid Malo, the acting mine closure and rehabilitation advisor at Sishen Mine, the initiative was part of the miner’s efforts to create a sustainable environment for the community. “Being able to harvest and provide these trees to the community in a sustainable manner is key to our work,” he said. “Trees have an important ecological role to fulfil within various habitats, including creating refuge for wildlife, reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or simply helping to keep hot temperatures in check by providing natural shade.”

The tree planting endeavour was not the only CSI initiative that Kumba Iron Ore undertook in the past few months. The miner also organised a disaster emergency drill involving an uncommon emergency scenario that may result in a disaster and produce mass casualties. The drill simulated a collision between a light-duty vehicle and a bulk explosives truck near the main entrance of the mine, and involved partners such as the South African Police Service, the Gamagara local municipality fire department and other disaster management teams, the local traffic department, solar photovoltaic plant operator Renewable Energy Investments South Africa’s Kathu solar project, chemicals company AECI and bulk materials handling company BME Group.

The drill aimed to test the emergency response plan and the readiness of the emergency services, as well as to create awareness among the near-mine community about the potential risks and impacts of site-induced emergencies. Tshepiso Mosoma, the fire prevention and emergency response services section manager at Sishen mine, highlighted that the drill was critical to ensuring that adequate emergency systems are in place and complying with Anglo American’s Social Way policy, which requires the mine to comply with the emergency preparedness and response requirements.

The drill revealed some positive insights, such as the rapid response time of the teams, the efficient extrication of the casualties, and the quick evacuation of the emergency responders. The drill also provided valuable feedback and lessons learned for future improvement and collaboration.

Kumba Iron Ore’s CSI initiatives demonstrate the miner’s commitment to enhancing the well-being and safety of its near-mine community, as well as to protecting the environment and biodiversity in the region. The miner has also been recognised for its social and environmental performance, ranking first among the global mining companies in the 2023 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark and receiving the 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Minerals Council South Africa. Kumba Iron Ore continues to strive for excellence and innovation in its operations and community engagement, aiming to create a positive and lasting legacy for the people and the planet.

Source: Mining Weekly


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