Mining communities ‘not benefiting from profits’

2012-08-14 11:24

People living near mines are not benefiting from the profits, the Bench Marks Foundation has said.

“[The] concern is that private corporations, often with the support of government leaders, make very large profits while communities suffer high levels of inequality and poverty,” chairperson Jo Seoka said in Johannesburg today.

“The situation in Marikana testifies to this.”

Violence flared up at the Lonmin mine, the country’s third biggest platinum mine, in the North West town this week.

“We are not here to speak about the violence, but it is only right that we condemn it,” said Seoka.

The Bench Marks Foundation is an independent, faith-based organisation monitoring how well companies perform in the field of social responsibility.

Seoka said the foundation was concerned about the pollution of air, water and soil by industrial activity such as mining.

The foundation was releasing a study entitled Policy Gap 6, Living in the Platinum Minefields.

It looked at six mining communities and examined what had changed, what had improved, and what needed to be done.

The companies surveyed were Anglo Platinum, Impala Platinum, Lonmin, Xstrata, Aquarius, and Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd.

David van Wyk, researcher and author of the report, gave a photo-essay presentation of what people living near platinum mines in the North West experienced.

“We brought people from communities together and trained them to do research,” said Van Wyk.

“We left cameras with them so they could take photos about what they liked about mining and what they didn’t like.”

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