US$0.5 million

invested in social projects (2016: US$0.5 million).

US$189.7 million

spent on local procurement.

Zero major or significant
community incidents (2016: zero).


Balancing our various stakeholders’ expectations with businesses sustainability.

Protecting and strengthening our stakeholder relationships as we undergo organisational change.

Ensuring that we build a legacy that lasts beyond the life of our mines.


Continue to focus on building stakeholder relations throughout the lifecycle of our projects.

Sustaining Corporate Social Investment in a challenging financial environment.

Improving communication and stakeholder engagement strategies.


Material matters

Safeguarding our communities

Our context

We believe that it is our duty of care to ensure that our mining operations do not impact the health and safety of our communities. One of the most significant risks posed to the communities and receiving environments surrounding a mine is the potential for dam-wall failure.

Our approach

We believe that ensuring our dam-wall safety relies on correct management procedures. Gem Diamonds ensures that management plans are in place to manage dam wall stability. We take a proactive approach to ensuring the safety and integrity of our dams. A risk-management strategy has been put in place to negate potential threats to the safety of our dams.

Dam walls at both our operations, for waste and fresh-water storage, undergo stringent safety checks in the form of inspections and audits. Facility risk assessments, resistivity surveys and flow-model studies are also regularly carried out to ensure responsible management of the facilities.

Our rigorous monitoring programme helps identify work that needs to be done, ensuring that any risk to the operation or surrounding communities is timeously mitigated. An early-warning system, involving radio and alarm systems together with community training and awareness programmes, is used to ensure the emergency readiness of potentially affected communities. We continue to work with communities to ensure that daily checks of the emergency communication equipment takes place.

At Letšeng, three facilities are monitored: the Patiseng tailings storage facility (TSF), the old TSF, and the Mothusi Dam, our fresh-water supply resource. To protect the community, we undertake the following steps:

  • All facilities undergo stringent inspections on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, surveying various factors such as water level, beach height and overall structural stability.
  • Quarterly structural-stability inspections are carried out by an independent civil-engineering specialist.
  • Letšeng continues to implement it’s emergency preparedness program, which includes regular drills.

Ghaghoo currently has two TSF’s in operation. A third, which was under construction in 2016, was adapted for use as a water-storage facility after the decision was taken to place the mine on care and maintenance. To protect the community, we undertake the following steps:

  • Internal inspections on the dams are carried out annually.
  • An outsourced consultancy has been appointed for independent quarterly inspections.
  • Ghaghoo staged annual drills during 2017 to assess emergency preparedness.

Our performance

  • Dam safety continually managed in terms of international best practice.
  • Community emergency evacuation readiness training conducted.
  • Zero incidents of compromised dam integrity were recorded in 2017.
  • Rehabilitation of Mothusi Dam at Letšeng was completed.

Our context

Given the remote locations of our mines, we work closely with our PACs to ensure our engagement is proactive and positive.

Our approach

We recognise that trust is hard earned and easily destroyed. As such, we strive to foster mutually beneficial partnerships with our stakeholders through active dialogue, focusing on listening and participation at all business levels.

Each of our operations has developed a framework for stakeholder consultation. These plans are put in place to ensure that all our stakeholders are engaged and that our PACs are consulted on a regular basis. Recognising the cultural and traditional individualities of each of our operational communities is essential, and we aim to engage in a manner which is transparent and respectful. We have appointed suitably qualified and trained staff to ensure that this is the case. We carefully consider all feedback from these engagements, and take it into consideration in our decision-making processes.

PACs around Letšeng have elected community representatives who communicate with the CSI department to create a sustainable and effective link between communities and the mine. The community representatives sit on the CSIR sub-committee of the Board, which meets quarterly. These meetings include discussions on the employment of PAC members and the effectiveness of current CSI projects. We have scheduled a future community-needs analysis after the completion of the Mokhotlong dairy farm project in 2019.

Ghaghoo aims to interact with its PACs on a regular basis. Following the decision to place the mine on care and maintenance, communication around community-related issues and water projects takes place via on-site staff.

Our performance

  • No major or significant stakeholder incidents occurred at any of our operations.
  • Continued to proactively and positively engage with local PACs.
  • Continued to provide potable water to the communities of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

Our context

We understand that our operations may have an impact on the surrounding population, and that these may be both positive and negative. As such, we undertake investigations to understand and enhance our positive impacts and mitigate any potential negative consequences in these communities, even during the mine-closure process.

We are cognisant that our operations take place in remote, rural, sparsely populated communities with established cultures and traditions, and that it is our duty to ensure that we don't threaten or negatively affect these social structures.

Our approach

We undertake social and environmental impact assessments (SEIAs) in line with international best practice including the Equator Principles, which are based on World Bank guidelines and the International Finance Corporation's Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Standards, while meeting local requirements.

These assessments include comprehensive public participation to ensure we understand the surrounding communities and their concerns in order to ensure we minimise any negative impacts while also identifying opportunities for positive outcomes.

Our SEIAs involve plant and wildlife surveys; soil, water and air-quality studies; archaeological surveys; visual and socio-economic impact assessments and an extensive public-participation process. The communities affected by our mines are closely involved from inception.

Our performance

  • Zero incidents involving the violation of the rights of indigenous communities occurred.
  • We are revisiting our SEIA structures to ensure they reflect current community concerns.
  • No major community grievances were lodged.

Our context

Our mines are located in remote areas, with surrounding communities that have several socio-economic needs. We work with our communities to identify their most pressing concerns and work together to address these.

Our approach

We strive to leave a positive legacy in those communities and countries in which we operate. Ensuring mutually beneficial relationships with our PACs is central to our duty of care. Our goal is to go beyond compliance as regards legal requirements as we strive for excellence and best practice in meeting community needs.

We continue to subscribe to and implement rigorous and robust international best-practice standards relating to corporate governance and CSI. Both of our mines have developed culturally sensitive, long-term CSI strategies, in which socio-economic risks,

as well as the needs identified in the social and environmental impact assessment and needs assessments, are appropriately addressed. Our CSI strategy focuses primarily on infrastructural development, education, health, the support of small and medium enterprises and regional environmental projects. These strategies are updated regularly to reflect the needs of PACs and leverage their unique skills and knowledge.

In addition to the projects at mining operations, our technical and administrative offices also supported projects of value to local communities. For more information, see our case studies.

Our performance

  • Invested US$0.5 million in CSI (2016: US$0.5 million).
  • Successfully upscaled our dairy farm project.
  • The Butha Buthe vegetable project is now effectively self-sustaining.
Group-wide CSI expenditure 2013 to 2017
[USD Million]
Gem Diamonds  
  2013 0.5
  2014 0.6
  2015 0.6
  2016 0.5
  2017 0.5

CSI expenditure spread in 2017
Spread of categories Group Letšeng Ghaghoo GDL GDTS
Medical & Health Project Spending 0,5% 0,0% 3,8% 0,0% 0,0%
Educational Project Spending 14,5% 23,5% 4,8% 0,0% 0,0%
Infrastructure Project Spending 33,9% 36,8% 91,4% 0,0% 0,0%
Small & Medium Enterprise Project Spending 22,2% 37,7% 0,0% 0,0% 0,0%
Regional Environmental Initiatives and Support 0,0% 0,0% 0,0% 0,0% 0,0%
Donations falling outside above five categories 2,2% 2,1% 0,0% 0,0% 100,0%
Other Costs 26,7% 0,0% 0,0% 100,0% 0,0%
Total 100,0% 100,0% 100,0% 100,0% 100,0%

Our context

We strive to strengthen the economies of the areas in which we operate through the localisation of our workforce and local procurement. Given the remote locations of our operations and the limited employment available for PACs, we believe localisation is a key strategy to create value for our communities.

Our approach

Localisation of our workforce is a priority across the Group. Where our operations are able to match available skills in the PAC with on-site requirements, local recruitment takes place.

By employing members of our PACs or by engaging local businesses in our supply chain, we can make a significant positive contribution to the strength of local economies. Local procurement is prioritised, and we remain mindful of ensuring that all procurement complies with our high production standards. These practices assist us in maintaining our social licence to operate through job creation and skills development.

Our performance

  • 97% of the Letšeng workforce comprised Basotho nationals (2016: 97%).
  • Group in-country procurement totalled US$189.7 million (2016: US$141.2 million).
  • Letšeng regional procurement totalled US$27.9 million. (2016: US$24.9 million).