Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) Program in Merafong Empowers Thousands, Celebrated by Industry LeadersRiaan du Plessis
In a world where mining is often synonymous with environmental degradation and social upheaval, one company is rewriting the script. DRDGOLD, a South African gold mining company, has not only transitioned completely from deep level underground mining to large- scale retreatment of mine dumps and tailings dams, but they’re doing it profitably and sustainably. This innovative approach not only restores the environment and frees up previously sterilised land, but also enhances the quality of life for those living in close proximity to their installations. And now, with a promising partnership with Sibanye-Stillwater, DRDGOLD is poised to expand into other minerals, such as PGMs, and continue unlocking value in their non-core surface assets. DRDGOLD is a shining example of how responsible mining practices can benefit everyone involved.
As a responsible corporate citizen, DRDGOLD’s commitment to sustainable development extends beyond its core business operations. Through their FWGR SLP, they have successfully implemented a Livelihoods programme, empowering thousands of willing participants in the communities around their operations.
However, DRDGOLD’s impact has been even greater through their collaborative partnerships with industry leaders like Sibanye-Stillwater and the World Gold Council, further strengthening their efforts towards sustainable development.
The Broad-Based Livelihoods (BBL) programme in Merafong, a region in the North West Province of South Africa, has been a resounding success, and its impact was celebrated by representatives of DRDGold, Sibanye-Stillwater, the World Gold Council, the Minerals Council, and other partners and stakeholders. The event was organized to acknowledge the BBL’s impact in empowering Merafong residents through horticultural and business skills.
The BBL programme was designed and initiated in 2018 by Umsizi Sustainable Social Solutions and SocioTech, with DRDGold as the main sponsor. Since then, the programme has empowered hundreds, if not thousands, of residents to become economically productive and alleviate poverty in their local context.
The positive results of the BBL programme attracted the attention of Sibanye-Stillwater, which subsequently brought the World Gold Council on board. The Council contributed additional funding to expand the BBL in the area through the provision of 40 productive horticultural tunnel infrastructures.
Thabisile Phumo of Sibanye-Stillwater discussed future plans for a food revolution that will require sponsorship and investment to roll out one million food gardens across Southern Africa, highlighting the potential of the BBL for socio-economic development.
Overall, the collaboration between FWGR (DRDGOLD Far West Gold Recoveries), Sibanye-Stillwater, the World Gold Council, Umsizi, and SocioTech has been a wonderful success in empowering Merafong residents through the BBL programme. Those interested in learning more about the BBL programme or getting involved can visit www.umsizi.co.za