Our People: the backbone of our business

Our workforce remains the backbone of our business, as they drive productivity to achieve goals and objectives. They continue to be a key focus in our sustainable development approach, which assures a safe and healthy workplace, geared for human resource development. This approach enables us to attract and retain employees.

Aspiring to be an employer of choice, Rössing Uranium provides long-term and rewarding employment.

We believe that through employment creation, Rössing Uranium is making signifcant contributions to society and the economy. We strive to keep our workforce committed by implementing initiatives that beneft both the company and our employees.

In addition, we promote a culture in which our employees are highly motivated and feel valued for their contribution. Throughout the company, we strive to build a sense of purpose and achievement in the work we accomplish.

The Human Resources division supports this strategy by delivering outcomes for key objectives ensuring that processes are streamlined in focal business areas.

Workforce at a glance

Rössing Uranium had a total workforce of 949 employees at the end 2016.

The average number of contractors at the mine during the reporting period was 752.


In one of the maintenance workshops, a qualified artisan is doing repair work on mining equipment.

Employee relations

Rössing Uranium has an exclusive bargaining agreement with the Mineworkers Union of Namibia. A total of 75 per cent employees are covered by the collective bargaining agreements and no incidents of discrimination, no infringements of the right of association and no instances of child or forced labour were reported during the reporting period.

Focused interest in the welfare of our employees has been critical in creating a high-performance culture throughout the organisation and has engaged the commitment of all stakeholders to create a working environment that is conducive to the optimal performance of each employee. As a result, all leaders, including our social partners, the Mineworkers' Union of Namibia, underwent the Rio Tinto leadership values workshop with the aim of solidifying an engaged workforce in which everyone feels connected, safe and at home.

Our workforce of diverse cultural backgrounds and work experience is an important factor in achieving success in our business objectives. The aim is to continuously improve engagement with our employees. Inclusion and diversity remains a key focus at the mine.

During the period under review, a collective grievance was presented to the management team in the form of a petition regarding job security which was prompted by the consolidation of contractors on site, among other factors.

The Regional Governor of Erongo, Mr Cleophas Mutjavikua, also initiated a tripartite discussion with the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia and Rössing Uranium’s management to address similar concerns that were referred to his offce by the aggrieved business community.

As social partners, the Mineworkers Union of Namibia and the mine’s management team appointed a taskforce to investigate the concerns raised in the petition. All the concerns addressed were subsequently resolved internally.

In the spirit of engagement with employees, consultations in the sale of properties involved Mineworkers Union of Namibia representatives.

From a corporate, social-responsibility point of view, a decision was made to sell the houses in Swakopmund that were owned by Rössing Uranium. The houses were offered to the occupant employees at reduced prices.

Profts from the sale of houses in the Swakopmund suburb of Tamariskia, built under a Notarial Deed of Lease Agreement between Swakopmund municipality and the mine, are to be shared at a ratio of 60:40 between the mine and the municipality.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Rössing Uranium will continue to offer its resources to meet challenges our country may face in creating a sustainable future for the country and its people. By way of its communication and engagement strategy, Rössing Uranium has maintained harmonious relations with its workforce.

Inclusion and diversity

An inclusive culture of diversity is upheld by people, performance and sustainability as cornerstones in the foundation of business that accelerate development and employee retention. This formula is proven by our workforce profle.

Organisational effectiveness

Our people make our company what it is and 2015 saw many initiatives underway to help support and grow our staff.

As always, we are committed to being a major contributor to building capacity among our employees through various capacity development programmes.

These activities serve as the basis of employee retention and growth within Rössing Uranium, as well as developing young Namibians as part of our social corporate responsibility.

n addition, performance management remains pivotal in ensuring that our business targets are linked to employees' performance objectives and are measured annually. A culture of recognition through performance management has been embedded in the company for many years and aims at driving continuous business improvement.

The next few pages highlight the initiatives that will support us in achieving our goal of empowering and developing our workforce.

Capacity and organisational development

People remain a key priority at Rössing Uranium where business performance is driven to higher levels through capability development initiatives.

For this reason, we are committed to continual investment in capability development and creating platforms for growth which will drive performance excellence as a basis for employee retention and growth within the company.

The following pages highlight initiatives established in 2016 that will promote the achievement of empowerment and development goals for the workforce in 2017.

Management essentials for supervisors programme

During 2016, Rössing Uranium embarked on a journey in which the Management essentials for supervisors programme was piloted and rolled out for the frontline supervisors. The programme is aimed at strengthening fundamental skills of frontline supervisors, enabling them to develop critical tools to effectively motivate their teams and deliver strong operational performance.

The programme offered a great opportunity for a consistent and effective approach to developing core skills of frontline supervisors across the mine addressing the acquisition of knowledge about the digital environment and the application of skills in the feld. The programme is comprised of 12 modules and is presented by leaders from diverse areas of expertise. A total of 64 frontline supervisors have participated in the programme thus far and the last module is scheduled to be completed by June 2017.

Rio Tinto People survey

Rio Tinto introduced its People survey some years ago to give employees an opportunity to express their views about the company at a Group level. The aim of the survey was to gain insights based on employee perceptions, process that input and improve the business with focused action on a continual basis. Better understanding will help create a safer and inclusive environment where people are empowered and confdent to perform, challenge, develop and excel.

Rössing Uranium was a good performer in relation to other business units in the Group, which indicates that the Rössing employees who responded in the 2016 People survey have a predominantly favourable view of working at Rössing Uranium.

Educational support

The development of young Namibians is part of our social, corporate responsibility because it contributes to the growth of the country as a whole and ensures that the skills base is broadened and strengthened.

During 2016, 11 bursary students received sponsorship from Rössing Uranium at a total investment of N$1.1 million (excluding vacation work). Five new bursaries were awarded in the felds of mechanical and civil engineering in 2016 that will take effect in 2017, in line with operational requirements as determined by the manpower plan, which is reviewed annually.

The educational assistance scheme for employee dependants at tertiary level supported 26 dependants at a total investment of N$481,894.

Ten trade apprentices completed job attachment programmes as part of their tertiary curriculum, exposing them to on-the-job training in their various disciplines. Further opportunities to support trade apprentices will continue during 2017.

Vocational Education and Training Levy

The mine has participated in the Vocational Education and Training Levy submission since its inception. Rössing Uranium has contributed N$5.6 million for the 2016 cycle.

Technical training

Technical training is pivotal to the mine’s operation in terms of building capacity in new and established employees.

A highlight of the reporting year was the refurbishment of the various training centres, the acquisition of a new 3D Cybermine Computerised Simulator System and computer-based training for mining equipment operators. These technical training initiatives will drive knowledge transfer and support the diversifcation of skills among our employees.