Zero fatalities

for the fifth consecutive year (2016: zero).

74 666

proactive safety management actions implemented (2016: 74 110).

US$ 36.6 million spent on employee wages and benefits (2016: US$36.5 million).

One lost time injury
(LTI) (2016: 5).


staff turnover (2016: 8.6%.).

Retained our OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 certification at Letšeng.

Lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) 0.04 (2016: 0.18).


The depressed market for smaller-sized diamonds resulted in our Ghaghoo operation being placed on care and maintenance in 2016. This, regrettably, resulted in the majority of our Ghaghoo staff being retrenched, with only a small portion of the workforce being retained to maintain the mine during its care and maintenance phase.


We will focus on sustaining a safe working environment in which all employees are treated fairly and with respect, and which supports their development and well-being.


Material matters

Providing a safe working environment

Our context

Ensuring the safety of our employees is not merely a legal requirement, it is a moral obligation. We take our duty of care very seriously and are passionate about providing a working environment that is safe and not harmful to the health and well-being of our employees.

Our approach

We maintain our commitment to zero harm and seek to eliminate all work-based injuries. We believe that every accident is preventable and that any injury or loss of life is unacceptable. The high number of potential risks associated with the mining industry means that we have a duty to ensure extra vigilance and care. We continually work to eliminate known hazards and monitor and manage potential risks within the workplace. Continued emphasis on improving safety remains a focus in striving towards our goal of zero harm.

In defining the types of injuries that might occur at our operations, and in conformance with industry standards, we distinguish between lost time injuries and restricted work injuries. A lost time injury occurs when the injury prevents the execution of both the injured person's normal duties and light duties for at least one full day. A restricted work injury occurs when the injury prevents the execution of the injured person's normal duties for at least one full day, although they are still able to execute light duties.

Our behaviour-based care (BBC) initiative is the cornerstone of our management approach. The initiative goes beyond the realms of work safety and finds its base in intentional care for fellow employees and the environment. For more information on BBC, see our case study.

Our integrated management approach considers the risks our operations might pose to the occupational health and safety of our employees. Purposefully designed training and induction procedures, as well as strict management systems, are used to ensure the safety and well-being of all our employees. As part of this approach, we regularly consult our employees to gain insights into the risks they face and to implement systems to reduce these risks.

The mines have comprehensive grievance procedures that seek to protect the rights and well-being of all our employees. Furthermore, the Letšeng mine has a whistleblowing facility managed by Deloitte that enables reporting where there is fear of victimisation or persecution.

Our performance

  • Zero fatalities (2016: Zero).
  • 55 injuries occurred across the Group, the same number as reported in 2016.
  • A total of one LTI occurred across the Group during 2017, resulting in a Group-wide lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) and all injury frequency rate (AIFR) of 0.04 and 2.02 respectively (2016: 0.18 and 1.93).
  • A total of eight restricted work injuries (RWIs) occurred across the Group during 2017, resulting in a Group restricted work injury frequency rate (RWIFR) of 0.29.

Our context

Employing and retaining the right people in the right roles is essential to our ability to create ongoing sustainable benefit and value for our stakeholders.

Our approach

Gem Diamonds is an equal opportunity employer, and our code of ethics clearly outlines our zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.

We strive to be a preferred employer by rewarding our staff in excess of minimum standards. In Lesotho and Botswana, there is no prescribed minimum wage in the mining sector. Therefore, the construction industry minimum wage is used as a standard. The remainder of Gem Diamonds’ workforce is remunerated above minimum wage, in line with market-related rates. We value our employees and contractors, thus ensuring that minimum requirements regarding remuneration are contractually stipulated with our principal labour contractors. We remunerate male and female employees in the same grade at the same level.

In 2017, the lowest-graded permanent employees at our Letšeng mine were remunerated at 212% above the minimum wage. At our Ghaghoo operation, the lowest-graded permanent employees were remunerated at 475% above the construction sector’s minimum wage. During 2017, 2% of the workforce at Ghaghoo (2016: 2%) and 0.2% at Letšeng (2016: 0.2%) were compensated at the operation’s minimum wage.

In addition to basic remuneration, we offer benefits and incentives to our employees. 100% of Basotho nationals employed at Letšeng are subscribed to the mandatory government retirement provision scheme, and Letšeng contributes 7.5% per employee to this scheme. Employees at Ghaghoo receive a gratuity payment upon completion of their contract, which is equal to 15% of their monthly basic salary for each month of employment.

Employees at our Belgian operations form part of a mandatory government retirement scheme, 32% (2016: 32%) of the annual salary per employee is contributed to this scheme by the Belgian operations. All other operations and offices remunerate employees on a cost-to-company basis, and employees are free to elect their retirement schemes and contributions.

The mining industry is a historically male-dominated industry and we continue to strive to improve the gender balance throughout the Group. We manage our employee ageing appropriately through continued monitoring of our workforce’s average age.

Our operations are located in remote areas, and every care is therefore taken to ensure the well-being and comfort of our employees during their shift rotations. Letšeng operates continuously, with shift configurations determined by local legislative requirements, as well as operational and market demands. Our shift rosters are structured to minimise disruptions to normal social structures as far as possible.

Our performance

  • 412 own employees at year end (2016: 446) 1 581 contractor employees (2016: 1 739).
  • The average number of own employees was 408 (2016: 481), and the average number of contractor employees for 2017 was 1682 (2016: 1 650).
  • US$36.3 million was spent on employee wages, benefits and incentives (2016: US$36.5 million)1.
  • The Group-wide absenteeism rate was 2.1 days per person (2016: 3.9 days).
  • 8.7% group-wide voluntary staff turnover (2016: 8.6%).
  • Zero cases of discrimination were recorded in 2017.
  • 19% of our workforce consisted of female employees (2016: 19%).
  • 0% of our Gem Diamonds Board members were female (2016: 7%).
  • 8% of the Group’s senior management were female (2016: 12%).

Staff demographics

Employee level % Male % Female % Local citizens % Age<30 % Age 31 to 50 % Age >50
Governance Committee Board* 100 0 26 0 41 59
Senior management 92 8 69 0 46 54
Middle management 78 22 84 1 81 18
Total workforce 81 19 97 14 74 12
Governance Committee Board* 93 7 36 0 39 61
Senior management 88 12 25 0 66 34
Middle management 81 19 96 6 82 12
Total workforce 81 19 96 13 75 12

1For details on Directors' remuneration, refer to our Annual Report.

Our context

In order to ensure the engagement and retention of employees, as well as to keep pace with industry developments and maximise our creation of value, it is essential that we offer opportunities for the continuous development of our staff.

Our approach

We invest in developing our employees’ skills by providing training opportunities throughout the Group, aiding employees’ growth personally and professionally.

While none of our subsidiaries have implemented programmes for skills management or lifelong learning, we do offer training through various internal and external programmes, as well as through our well-established culture of mentoring.

Annual career reviews are held at certain levels across the Group.

Our performance

Total hours of training provided to employees:

  • Senior management: 379 hours (2016: 1 086).
  • Middle management: 457 hours (2016: 3 122).
  • Non-management: 15 989 hours (2016: 21 062).
  • 26% career reviews performed (2016: 22%).
  • 72 % of female employees received reviews.
  • 20 % of male employees received reviews.

Our context

We are committed to providing an environment that actively promotes and supports employee health and well-being, as we believe that an investment in this regard is an investment in the ongoing success of the Group.

Our approach

We believe in a proactive approach to employee health management. We commit to providing an environment that not only prevents dangerous and unhealthy situations but also actively promotes and supports employee well-being and healthy living.

Due to the remote location of our mining operations, we rely on on-site clinics and medical stations at our operations to provide emergency, occupational and primary healthcare to our employees.

Part of our comprehensive induction programme for new mining operation employees includes a complete medical examination, further promoting our approach to employee well-being and care.

The increase in the number of occupational health cases in 2017 reflects an increase in the number of typhoid cases reported. However, this increase does not reflect an increase in symptomatic cases presented on-site. Instead it reflects our new approach to typhoid management, which involves proactive screening for asymptomatic carriers of the disease. For more information on our approach to typhoid management, see our case study.

The Group has implemented a standard process for a person leaving our employment, which includes exit medical examinations. This further supports our stance of complete employee care and is necessary to reduce the Group’s long-term exposure to any future health claims.

Our performance

  • Fully equipped clinic at Letšeng to deal with all on-site and occupational medical needs.
  • Ghaghoo clinic offers primary healthcare, with backup medical emergency service offered through a third-party supplier.
  • 100% pre-employment medical examination rate at Letšeng and Ghaghoo (2016: 100%).
  • 100% exit- medical examination rate at Letšeng and Ghaghoo (2016: 100%).
  • Launched organisational health campaign.

1 For an explanation of this increase see text under Our Approach above.

Our context

Our Letšeng operation remained non-unionised during 2017, while Ghaghoo became unionised in 2016.

Our approach

We maintain a policy of freedom of association. Our employees are free to join unions and other worker collective bargaining organisations.

Our employees are notified of any significant or material changes to the operations or their working environments through established policies and procedures. The provisions in these policies are based on a detailed change management system, as well as the host country’s legislation.

Our performance

  • Zero strikes or lockouts were recorded at any of our operations in 2017.
  • Constructive engagement with employee representatives continued in 2017.
  • CARE, our organisation health campaign, was launched in 2017. For more information see our case study.