Our neighbouring communities

Rössing Uranium's corporate vision transcends the scope of mining. We understand that, in order to be successful, we must support the advancement of communities by making contributions of value in the environment in which we operate.

We strive to build enduring relationships based on open, respectful, and trustworthy communication, which promote better understanding of our impact on the social and physical environment and ensure a signifcant contribution to economic and social development.

Since establishment as Namibia’s frst uranium mine 40 years ago, we acknowledge that operating within a sustainable community provides our business distinct benefts, such as skilled and locally available employees, capable, local suppliers of goods and services, access to sustainably managed natural resources, and healthy and safe environments for our employees and their families.

With these ends in mind, we implement longterm, community development plans that focus on improvements in the quality of life. In 2016 we continued successful efforts to maintain these mutually benefcial relationships.

 

Paulo Samuel, Rössing Foundation education offcer: Science, and learners at the mobile laboratory which was deployed to support rural schools where tuition of Mathematics, the Sciences and English is often hampered by a lack of facilities.

 

Community relations

Despite facing various production and market challenges during 2016, we remained steadfast in honouring our corporate social responsibilities. We accomplished this goal through continued and generous investment supporting sustainability of neighbouring communities.

We align our community and social investment focus with the requirements of Namibia's Mining Charter. The charter, overseen by the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, is aimed at positively and proactively addressing sustainable and broad-based economic and social transformation in the Namibian mining sector and is grounded in key Government policies such as Vision 2030 and the National Development Plan 4 (NDP4) and the Harambee Prosperity Plan. Throughout 2016 we ensured accountability by tracking our compliance against the charter’s targets.

During the year under review, we committed more than N$15.4 million towards the implementation of community initiatives and activities. This is over and above the direct and indirect economic benefts we created through local employment and the procurement of goods and services from local businesses. Most of our community and social investments are channelled directly through the Rössing Foundation, but the mine also supported various community investment initiatives directly.

Because we pro-actively promote healthy, safe and environmentally responsible lifestyles amongst our neighbouring communities, we also made direct contributions to initiatives targeting:

  • biodiversity protection through support of the annual bird-watching event,
  • rescue and replant several plant species of importance in the context of conservation;
  • healthy living by way of the annual Rössing Marathon National Championship and Fun Walk in aid of the Cancer Association of Namibia;
  • promote awareness of personal health and HIV/Aids; and
  • conduct waste-management activities at local primary and secondary schools.

 


Visitors to the mine's Dr Hage G Geingob viewpoint, overlooking the open pit operations.

 

The three-year safety awareness initiative, designated as the Project Safety W.I.S.E., which we implemented in partnership with AREVA Resources Namibia and the Directorate of Education, Arts and Culture of the Erongo Regional Council in 2015, continued throughout 2016. This initiative supports the creation of a culture of safety among primary education learners in Arandis, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

The initiative is built on the belief that if learners are exposed to safety awareness in small but progressively increasing amounts throughout their education, safety consciousness will become an integral part of their lives.

We continue to provide support for other initiatives such as the Erongo House of Safety in Swakopmund through our partnership with the Erongo Development Foundation, the Swakopmund Museum, the West Coast Safety Initiative and the Arandis Emergency Response Management Centre.

Recognising the devastating effect of severe drought on the lives of thousands of people and cattle in most parts of Namibia, this past year, the mine donated N$100,000 to the drought relief programme in the Erongo Region.

In addition to fnancial contributions, we directed our employees’ technical expertise to engage with the public and with community-based organisations to increase health, safety and environmental awareness within the Erongo Region.

One such activity is radiation safety training, offered to the public in collaboration with the Namibian Uranium Institute. We also provided expertise for the Namibian Uranium Association on water management issues to reduce the mining sector’s footprint on regional water resources.

 

External and internal communication activities

Rössing Uranium’s Corporate communication section has various platforms and activities in place to initiate and maintain good relationships and promote the sharing of information about our operations with stakeholders. Stakeholders include our employees and contractors, as well as people outside the company.

During 2016 various strategic communication activities were implemented to disseminate information about Rössing Uranium via a variety of channels in the print and electronic media, as well as by means of face-toface communication.

A key area of focus in 2016 was the mine’s 40th anniversary in mining operations. Key messages sought to raise awareness of Rössing Uranium’s role in the community but also to inform the public that our business provides a strong base for economic growth in the community as a whole. Another aim is to promote the view that our business is a responsible mining operator in Namibia and has been for the past 40 years.

Our visitors’ programme is a key means of engaging guests from around the world. Besides members of the public, the programme welcomes specialists, academics, and government offcials. In 2016, we hosted 48 tours at the mine for a total of 738 visitors.

A highlight of the visitors’ programme was the visit of His Excellency, Dr. Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, on 25 August 2016, as part of the mine’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

We have continually provided information about our operations to the Namibian Government to keep it well-informed. This programme of external affairs was conducted by the mine’s senior management which engages politicians and senior government offcials on matters of mutual interest.

A number of stakeholder engagement events hosted during the year for the Namibia business community shares information about our business performance.

Media relations were facilitated through response to media enquiries, and through invitations to a number of information-sharing events. The latter promoted the strengthening of our relationships with the media and facilitated balanced coverage of our operations and business activities.

Other communication activities involved a variety of external stakeholders. We hosted the 16th annual Rio Tinto Rössing bird-watching event, which is part of the larger partnership between Rio Tinto and Birdlife International.

The company also hosted the 25th Rössing Marathon National Championship, which attracted approximately 250 athletes. The competitors participated in a marathon and a 10-km race, while a 5-km fun walk was held in support of the Cancer Association of Namibia.

In 2016 cash and in-kind sponsorships and donations initiated through the Corporate communications section totalled N$462,700.

 

 

President of Namibia visited Rössing mine

Rössing Uranium is proud to have welcomed His Excellency Dr Hage G Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, to the mine in August 2016, on the occasion of our 40th anniversary celebration and to open a new viewing point at the Open pit named in his honour. President Geingob was accompanied by the First Lady, Madam Monica Geingos.

President Geingob's presence at the mine marks a milestone for Rössing Uranium, as all three Namibian presidents have visited the mine. In July 1990 Namibia's first president and founding father, Dr Sam Nujoma, visited the mine and in 2009 we welcomed former president, Hifikepunye Pohamba.

As part of the celebrations, the mine honoured the President by naming the mine’s new viewing point the Dr Hage G Geingob viewing point. This is a vantage point at the Open pit which is visited on a regular basis by international tourists and Namibian visitors.

During his welcoming address, managing director Werner Duvenhage emphasised the importance of our visitors’ programme as a tool used to foster and celebrate collaboration with neighbouring communities and to share information with all our stakeholders.

"Each year Rössing Uranium hosts many visitors to the mine, including Government and business leaders, industry peers, students, members of the general public, tourists and employees' families. The main aim of this programme is to show that the mine's activities are transparent, in particular with regard to our HSE standards and practices. This helps us drive superior performance," he said.

President Geingob mentioned that he has observed how the mine is a true investment to the country's economic development. Besides the mine’s contributions to the local economy, the President commended Rössing Uranium for the investment it has made in skills development for Namibians, who have found work on the mine or elsewhere in specialised fields."We do not eat uranium, but others can use it for their specific reasons. What we can do is partner with such investors and ensure a conducive environment is available for them to invest in and so plough back into our economy to the benefit of our people," said the President.His visit to the mine coincided with national celebrations of Heroes' Day. The managing director introduced Rössing Uranium's own heroes and heroines to the President and his entourage, the long-service award recipients and young graduates of 2016, who will take the mine into the future.