Making a lasting difference, Sasol Mining is passing on sustainable benefits that are shaping and adding value, says Lucky Kgatle, senior vice president, Sasol Mining.

Sasol has been part of the South African landscape since the 1950s and is one of the country’s largest industrial conglomerates, as well as a pioneer and global leader in the conversion of coal into a multitude of products ranging from fuels and oils to chemical derivatives and fertilisers.

In South Africa, it all starts with Sasol Mining, which operates six mines that, together, represent one of the world’s largest underground coal complexes. They supply feedstock for the Secunda
Synfuels Operations and Sasolburg  Operations refineries.

While the coal that Sasol Mining supplies to Secunda Synfuels Operations is mainly used as gasification feedstock, some is used to generate electricity. The coal that Sasol Mining supplies to the Sasolburg Operations is used to generate electricity and steam. Sasol Mining also exports coal from the Twistdraai Export Plant to Europe and Asia.

Communities surround and interconnect with all of these operations, either directly as employees or indirectly in terms of Sasol Mining’s social labour plans (SLPs) and local economic development projects (LEDs), which are making a major difference for municipal residents.

“Our host communities in four municipalities in Mpumalanga and two in the Free State have benefited in many ways from a variety of projects, such as clinics, a fire station, roads and bridges, sewer lines, and electricity network upgrades,” explains Kgatle.

“Sasol Mining has regular engagements with the leadership structures in all municipalities. These engagements serve as a tool to identify the most important community needs in terms of infrastructure. The identified projects are then signed off by both parties and submitted as part of the SLP.”

Importance of home ownership

In support of the SLP, Sasol has a comprehensive strategy to promote home ownership and provides assistance to
qualifying employees so that they can
experience the joy of becoming a first-time homeowner. Sasol Mining says this also helps to instill a
sense of togetherness and family culture among employees.

“As a company, Sasol Mining recognises the importance of decent housing for our employees and community members,” says Kgatle. “We have built and handed over 101 houses in eMbalenhle as part of our SLP. We have also handed over 59 houses to our employees in Secunda and 57 in Sasolburg this year, with more planned.

“The promotion of home ownership forms part of Sasol Mining’s broader transformation goals to ensure that the areas in which we operate benefit from our presence and that we leave a positive legacy by fostering long-term, sustainable development.”

Education, training outreach and procurement

The SLP also makes provision for the training of community members in adult education and training, bursaries, and portable skills. These programmes provide opportunities for the development of local residents.

To support these initiatives, Sasol Mining has established relationships with accredited training institutions such as the Gert Sibande and Flavius Mareka Technical Vocational Education and Training colleges. On average, support is provided to 128 people per year. Education forms the foundation of effective transformation, skills upliftment, employment and SMME development.

In the SLP, the commitment to promote local empowerment is very important for compliance in terms of the Mining Charter. At Sasol Mining, the decision was taken to implement a comprehensive preferential procurement strategy.

“To this end, one of the elements contained herein provides the opportunity to set aside all our local economic development and housing projects to be implemented by locally based BBBEE-compliant companies,” explains Kgatle. “This, in turn, leads to stimulating the local economy, job creation and skills transfer.”

Sasol Mining follows the Sasol Group’s procurement policies and promotes the use and development of locally based suppliers through the central enterprise and supplier development team within Sasol. Prospective suppliers can consult the website at www.sasol.com for guidance on how to register.

“We have taken a keen interest in ensuring that we affect our fence-line communities in a positive and sustainable manner. We have invested in the local development of our infrastructure, and will continue to do so, enabling us to leave a lasting legacy as a proudly South African company,” adds Kgatle.

“Our employees must be proud and be able to point out the positive impact that we are making in the communities where we conduct our business,” Kgatle concludes.

Sustainability to at least 2050 – As Sasol Mining has been mining coal at the Secunda complex for around 40 years, large areas have been mined out. Therefore, Sasol Mining must acquire additional coal resources to replace the areas where coal has been depleted to meet the requirements of Secunda Synfuels Operations. – Sasol Mining’s annual supply mandate is approximately 41 Mt. – Sasol Mining will invest in the communities where it operates to until at least 2050.

Mine and shaft replacements: key facts

  • Sasol Mining is in the process of completing a R15 billion mine replacement programme to ensure uninterrupted coal supply to its Secunda Synfuels Operations.
  • Mine replacement projects support Sasol’s strategy to operate its Southern African facilities until 2050. This ongoing project is being undertaken to replace 60% of
    Sasol Mining’s operations in Secunda by 2020.
  • Projects are expected to be completed below budget and within schedule.
  • The first of these new replacement mines is the Thubelisha shaft, which was inaugurated in May 2012 at Twistdraai Colliery. This shaft supplies coal to both Secunda Synfuels Operations and export customers.
  • The Impumelelo mine will replace the Brandspruit operation. This coal will be used exclusively by Secunda Synfuels Operations.
  • Shondoni Colliery, a brownfield extension, is in operation and will eventually replace Middelbult Colliery. Impumelelo, when in full production, will replace Brandspruit Colliery.
  • The Syferfontein Tweedraai project was completed in 2015 ahead of schedule and within budget.