BHP Billiton on the need for economic reform in Australia
Economic reform in Australia is vital to securing the country's mining industry and general future prosperity, mining giant BHP Billiton has said.
Speaking at the Melbourne Mining Club, BHP Billiton President Operations, Minerals Australia, Mike Henry said shared responsibility for reform was required to help successfully transition after a long period of investment in resources projects.
“As a nation we have stepped up and met the challenges and opportunities that come with competing in a fast-paced, global economy,” he said.
“Government and business can share credit for Australia’s economic success, but we also share the responsibility for securing Australia’s future prosperity.
“Our industry has a role in continuing to make the case for reform, and needs to continue to engage with all stakeholders to help achieve the changes that will make us and the nation more competitive.”
Mr Henry outlined a number of key areas for reform to ensure the social and economic gains of the past decade were sustained.
“This means continuing to work internationally to bring down barriers to trade and making the tax system simpler, to attract ongoing investment,” he said.
Mr Henry also spoke about the need to reform the workplace relations framework in a way that supports safe productivity and enables workplaces to be more flexible and innovative.
“The current legislation operates in a way that isn’t always as balanced as it needs to be. It is a factor in constraining innovation and limits the creation of workplaces that have the flexibility to be productive and truly competitive in global markets,” he said.
“We have proposed changes that are moderate and targeted. They are intended to help us be competitive, and in doing so would protect jobs.”
Building on his theme of reform, Mr Henry spoke about the Company’s drive to sustain competitiveness and growth.
“We have streamlined our functions and brought our operating assets together geographically in a way that will enable a sharper focus and accelerated deployment of best practices, including the more rapid adoption of new technologies,” he said.
“It is through innovation in technology and in the way we work that we will lift ourselves to the next level of performance.”
Mr Henry also reinforced that mining was still fundamentally important to the Australian economy despite a period of intense investment in new resource projects coming to an end.
“There is no other single sector that contributes as much to the Australian economy,” he said.
“Our industry employs more than 230,000 people in Australia with many more benefiting indirectly.
“The resources sector contributes 8 per cent to GDP and accounts for more than half of our merchandise exports. Earnings from resource and energy exports was almost $150 billion in the financial year 2015.”
AngloGold Ashanti establishes BG Umoja JV in Tanzania
AngloGold Ashanti, in line with it s strategy to ensure a sustainable contribution to the economies of host countries, has established the BG Umoja joint venture (JV), in Tanzania.
Awarded a $186m two-year mining contract for the Nyankanga and Geita Hill underground mining projects, the 80/20 joint venture is a partnership between Africa Underground Mining Services (AUMS) Tanzania, a subsidiary of Australia’s Perenti Group, and local drilling services and mining- supply company, Geofields Tanzania Limited.
The partnership is modelled on a similar underground mining joint venture at the Company’s Obuasi Redevelopment Project in Ghana between AUMS Ghana and Accra-based, wholly Ghanaian-owned Rocksure and will help build local specialised mining capacity.
“We’re working with our experienced mining contractors to assist in establishing local joint ventures for long-term transfer of sustainable skills, and to continue building on our sustainable local procurement programmes,” commented Sicelo Ntuli, AngloGold Ashanti’s Chief Operating Officer: Africa.
“AngloGold Ashanti is building sustainable local procurement programmes that will allow it to stimulate economic and social development at all of its operations, evidenced by the significant contribution Geita has made to the fiscus and people of Tanzania.”
AngloGold Ashanti’s annual expenditure with indigenous Tanzanian suppliers has almost tripled to $162mn since 2016. The company’s local team in Tanzania has set itself an ambitious target of 60% to 70% of all expenditures with indigenous Tanzanian companies, by 2025.
Scope 3 Emissions
In addition, AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita Gold Mine has awarded a two-year fuel transportation contract, worth approximately $10.8m a year, to two local contractors - one of which is originally from Geita. This is in line with the mine’s commitment to contribute to the economies of host communities. The Geita-based company was part of Geita Mine’s supply chain capacity building initiative for host community suppliers, a partnership between the Mine and the National Economic Empowerment Council.
To influence Scope 3 emissions, trucks are to be compliant with EURO IV emissions standards, tankers are to be made of an aluminium alloy material to reduce weight and the age of the fleet will be maintained at less than six years.
Diversity & Inclusion
The contractors already employ women fuel tanker drivers, fulfilling the Mine’s requirements for diversity and inclusion. The two contractors both own workshop facilities in Geita town and participate in social initiatives aimed at uplifting the lives of host community residents.
AngloGold Ashanti has been operating at Geita Gold Mine for more than 20 years, with the project initially a single pit mine, evolving now to a predominantly underground operation, employing 5,700 employees and contractors.
Earlier this year, the Government of Tanzania recognized AngloGold Ashanti’s contribution to the economy of the country, awarding it for its outstanding performance in a number of areas, including environmental and safety performance, corporate social investment, the best taxpayer in the mining sector, the runners up in local business content and overall best performer in the mining sector in Tanzania in 2019/2020.
Geita Gold Mine
Geita, one of AngloGold Ashanti’s flagship mines, is located in north-western Tanzania in the Lake Victoria goldfields of Mwanza region, about 120km from Mwanza and 4km west of the town of Geita. It has been in operation as a large-scale mine since 2000.