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ZION
 
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The final mine

11 October 2012, 12:46

THE  FINAL  MINE

Most of us have perceptions of a situation, instance or business while others may differ, yet perceptions differing from our own are not necessarily wrong. In fact both perceptions could be incorrect. Most of the De Beers mines and holdings have been sold to a local mining company.       

I have worked on about six different types of mines, producing different products. Of those mines I found De Beers diamond mines to be, by far, the best mine and employer a worker could expect. I am aware of the animosity which was aimed at De Beers mine and upon examination most were found to be invalid.  De Beers has done more on their social  uplifting and empowering programmes than any other mine, or should I say, where I worked. In many cases these mines had zero interest in their employees other than ABET and related education.  (Adult Basic Education and Training.) De Beers jumped several steps ahead and opened a college on the mine premises in Kimberley   

It would be rather onerous to write in every course implemented and made available. Should there be a demand for a certain subject then it would be added to the list. Even courses like safety driving and  road sense was available, Crane operations and fork-lift courses to name a few.    

I worked for the company for 7 years and found the management superior to that of other mines(This statement is a perception and I abide by it.)  While working on the gold mines I done the mandatory safety and first aid courses plus a  winder certificate of competence. That is about it.    

My experience of other mines in respect to a worker/management relationship just did not exist. “Use the correct channels “ was the usual method of arriving at management which, by then, interest petered out.This attitude seemed to be prevalent over the entire mining spectrum.    

At De Beers the worker was free to make contact with any senior management staff, the opportunity was there but in practise it was simpler to go directly to the personnel manager to sort a problem out.    

Diamond mining is driven by advanced technology and sensitive to incompetence and abuse.  In one instance a pumping section was giving problems affecting the entire plant. The control circuitry was re-designedAnd installed. The problem was eradicated and I received an award of R12*000.  Some years earlier a similar problem arose on the braking system of a gold mine winder. The artisans redesigned part of the braking system, the winder was 100% repaired and  safer.. The artisans were not even recognised.     

During the 7 years of my tenure at De Beers there was no labour unrest or strikes. Management had the acumen to know and understand the labour forces and could subsequently control  it.      Since De Beers has, or, in the process of leaving south Africa it has provided about 2 billion rand to assist in the rehabilitation of its workings.

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