We acknowledge that operating within a sustainable community provides our business distinct benefits, 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.
An important part of that is good community relations, which is as necessary for our business success as the effective management of our operations. With this in mind, we implement long-term community development plans that focus on improvements in quality of life. In 2019, we continued successful efforts to maintain these mutuallybeneficial relationships.
Despite facing production and market challenges during 2019, Rössing Uranium remains committed to long-term stakeholder relationships that are mutually beneficial and executed in a respectful manner for both the beneficiaries and the mine. Honouring our corporate social responsibilities, we accomplished this through continued investment under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our activities are also aligned with the Chamber of Mines of Namibia’s Mining Charter, Namibia’s Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5) and the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
In 2019, Rössing Uranium supported the Rössing Foundation and other community initiatives with just over N$26 million, of which N$12 million went to the Rössing Foundation, N$13 million to the Arandis asbestos-roof replacement project and N$1 million was in-kind and cash contributions to worthy community initiatives. This is over and above the direct and indirect economic benefits we created through local employment and the procurement of goods and services from local businesses.
In 2019, a wide range of community activities were initiated or supported, some of which are reported below, linked to the specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relevant to the activity.
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION ACTIVITIES
Informing both our internal and external stakeholders about our operations is one of the key enablers in our business success. It is the task of the Partnerships, Communication and External Affairs department to implement various platforms, initiatives and activities to establish, nurture and maintain good relationships and promote the sharing of information with our stakeholders.
In 2019, a number of 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-to-face communication.
A key event during 2019 was the sharing of information with our stakeholders on the sale of Rio Tinto’s majority shareholding in Rössing Uranium to the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to become the new majority shareholder on 16 July 2019.
We also kept the Namibian Government informed about our corporate business strategy. This was accomplished through the mine’s senior management engaging politicians and senior officials on a number of matters of mutual interest, as well as working closely on information campaigns with the Chamber of Mines of Namibia and the Namibian Uranium Association.
At a number of stakeholder engagements hosted by Rössing during the year, we shared information about our business performance with the Namibian business community. Other communication activities involved a variety of external stakeholders through trade and career exhibitions, while Rössing’s website presents information to a world-wide audience.
Media relations were facilitated through the management of various media enquiries, which is an opportunity to create balanced coverage of our operations and business activities.
Our visitors’ programme is a key means of engaging guests from around the world. Besides members of the public, the programme accommodates specialists, academics and government officials. In 2019, we hosted 37 groups at the mine with a total of 937 visitors, almost double the number of visitors compared with 2018.
In line with our drive to promote healthy habits and support positive lifestyles in the community, we sponsored the 28th Rössing National Marathon Championship in 2019, with Swakop Striders Athletics Club hosting the event. The 29th marathon took place on 8 February 2020 with a record number of 700 entries received. The competitors participated in a 42.2 km marathon, the Frank Slabbert halfmarathon over 21.1 km and a 10 km race. A 5 km fun walk was held in support of the Cancer Association of Namibia and attracted more than 300 walkers.
Chinese Ambassador to Namibia, HE Zhang Yiming, takes a selfie with Rössing National Marathon Championship participants early in 2020.