We believe transparency during times of hardship is essential, which is why we have created a live blog to provide updates on the measures we are employing to keep our people and our communities safe.
A Summary of Actions from Anglo American Chief Executive Mark Cutifani
“Our wide-ranging efforts in response to this pandemic are directed at where support is most needed, very often in terms of basic services at the local community level in remote areas around our mines.
“We also recognise the extraordinary work of so many major charitable and aid organisations. Our employees ask us how they can best contribute financially, beyond the work that so many of them are already doing on the ground.”
- The Anglo American Foundation has set up a global programme to match employees’ personal donations initially up to $1 million
- Anglo American’s Board directors and Group Management Committee members have agreed to donate 30% of their fees or salaries for three months to their personal choice of COVID-19 related charities or funds
- In South Africa, Anglo American and De Beers will be making additional donations of $2 million to South Africa’s Solidarity Fund that exists specifically to help address the impacts of COVID-19
- Also, in South Africa, $1 million will be donated to the Oppenheimer family’s South African Future Trust that has been established to support small and medium-sized businesses through the crisis
- We are consistently building on the $25 million value of our additional COVID-19 global relief donations and in-kind contributions to date across our host jurisdictions in southern Africa, the Americas, Australia, and the UK
- We applaud the heroic and selfless efforts of so many people – within our company and far beyond – to help others in times of human crisis
- Together, we will ensure our people’s safety now as well as the economic recovery phase that will come in the future
General safeguarding measures and initiatives for employees
Our employees and the communities we operate in are at the heart of our business and we’ve taken decisive, wide-ranging measures to protect both the health and wellbeing of both them and their families.
Some of these measures include:
- An extensive health programme called WeCare, specifically to protect the health and wellbeing of our more than 90,000 employees and full-time contractors around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic
- A Community Response Plan (CRP) to guide site teams as to the initiatives that should be undertaken to support their host communities
- A direct response to address the effects of COVID-19 that is tailored to the particular and most urgent needs of our host communities and countries, recognising the very different socio-economic factors in each
In Australia, where the resource sector has been deemed an essential service and continues to operate, we are working closely with government authorities, industry and community organisations to take a coordinated approach to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and keep the communities where we operate safe.
- All our mine sites and offices have extensive measures and social distancing protocols in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safe operations
- We are implementing proactive identification of vulnerable people and giving clear advice not to come to work with cold or flu symptoms
- We are surveying employees, including temperature checking at the mine gate, and continuing active management of employees and contractors who have travelled
- We are carrying out site risk assessments leading to a range of site-based measures
- We are supporting vulnerable groups through our grants programme and helping with critical supplies to regions
- We are reducing commuter workforce movements through our communities by stopping non-essential travel to our sites and relocating some people to live locally
- We are switching from commercial to charter flights for our workforce to ensure social distancing and hygiene measures are complied with and to further reduce interaction with the public
In Botswana, diamonds in general, and the Government’s partnership with De Beers in particular, have played a central role in the country’s socio-economic development. The Debswana (50:50 JV between the Government and De Beers) mines in the country, and the medical facilities that the business has established around them, are providing vital support to Botswana’s medical preparations in relation to COVID-19.
- We have made facilities available to be utilised by Government health authorities as treatment/isolation centres
- We have made two ambulances available to support wider healthcare efforts in the country
- We have compiled databases of retired medical personnel from Jwaneng and Orapa Hospitals for Government health authorities
- We have been collaborating with District Health response teams to jointly identify and support vulnerable households
- The local government has been provided with financial support to assist with procurement of supplies, as well as donating much needed items such as sanitiser
In Brazil, we have purchased respirators and PPE equipment, totalling over $1 million, which are being donated to the healthcare systems in the states and municipalities where our operations are located. The resource sector continues to operate.
- Ventilators are currently being assembled for delivery to nine municipalities in three states (Minas Gerais, Goiás and Rio de Janeiro) during the course of next week (6 April)
- We have been participating in various municipal crisis response committees, offering our support in emergency response and crisis management as appropriate
- We are also providing educational materials on prevention and response to the municipalities, funding informative campaigns on local radio stations and on social media
- Administrative employees, interns, elderly people, people with medical conditions or who live with people from risk groups are working from home
- There are sanitation and distance measures in force between employees in work stations, cafeterias, meetings and any other potential points of contact
- Communications to our communities and employees on prevention, working from home and mental health are being issued regularly
- We are offering remote communication and collaboration tools
In Canada, De Beers’ Gahcho Kué mine is located in a remote northern area where smaller communities provide a significant proportion of the workforce.
- De Beers has engaged with IBA partners to ensure that employees from communities that are especially vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 are able to isolate themselves and avoid the risk of bringing an infection back to the community
- Shift patterns for workers at the Gahcho Kué mine have been adapted to minimise the amount of travel required
- Gahcho Kué mine has provided funding to each IBA community to purchase food hampers for at-risk community members
In Chile, we have set up an emergency fund that will support the supply of key medical and other items, as well as stimulate local economic recovery once the pandemic eases. Our efforts are focused in the Metropolitan and Valparaíso regions, where our operations are located. The resource sector continues to operate.
- We are planning to implement a series of initiatives that seek to support the vital economic recovery phase for our local communities
- We have put in place measures to support the contractors and suppliers to our operations
- In the north of Chile, the Collahuasi mine in which Anglo American owns a 44% interest has donated a state of the art COVID-19 testing machine, which generate results in four hours, to its local Tarapacá Health Service
- Our main office in Santiago is almost 100% working from home
- We have reduced the number of workforce and contractors on-site, assuring application of sanitary measures and also business continuity
- We have organised delivery of sanitary implements for every worker attending operations
In Namibia, Namdeb Holdings (50:50 JV between the Government and De Beers) plays a key role both nationally and in local communities surrounding diamond recovery areas. Namdeb Holdings and the Debmarine Namibia-Namdeb Foundation have already put in place a range of support both nationally and at a local level in support of the country’s response to COVID-19.
- Facilities have been made available to be utilised by Government health authorities as treatment/isolation centres
- The Debmarine Namibia–Namdeb Foundation has ordered 30 ventilators and vital signs monitors for local hospitals, mainly in Windhoek and Oranjemund
- The Debmarine Namibia–Namdeb Foundation is co-funding a sanitation programme in Windhoek’s informal settlement where households are at high risk due to lack of sanitation services and inability to self-isolate
- In the town of Oranjemund, Namdeb has provided specific support including the provision of isolation facilities, the purchase of a testing machine (with a commitment that residents without medical aid will be tested for free), personal protective equipment (PPE) for Oranjemund Town Council employees and financial support for the publication of local COVID-19 education material. Isolation facilities have also been provided in the town of Luderitz
In Peru, a national quarantine is in place until 12 April and all but critical work on our Quellaveco copper project is suspended. We are supporting emergency efforts in the country and in the area local to our project to combat COVID-19 by providing much needed food, protective equipment, testing kits, transport and intensive care facilities including:
- 12,000 non-perishable food packages plus 3,000 packages with agricultural products distributed to families in various districts and provinces in Moquegua, where the Quellaveco project is located
- 4,350 meal packs a day to health employees and volunteers, the army and police
- 500,000 COVID-19 quick testing kits in partnership with the National Mining Society’s initiative
- 10,000 protection masks and pairs of gloves for police and army forces
- Vehicles to help transport health personnel
- 6 intensive care bed stations, with all required equipment, including ventilators
Anglo American operates in many areas of South Africa that are underdeveloped. This places a responsibility on us, as South Africa’s largest mining company, to act with the utmost consideration and care towards those who live in our host communities and depend on us – particularly during a time such as this.
Across the regions of Limpopo, the North West and the Northern Cape, our operations play a vital role in many of our host communities and we are committed to protecting them. In many instances, we drive the development and maintenance of essential infrastructure and services including roads, health facilities, medication, clean water and energy, which are needed now more than ever.
- We are continuing to operate only where we can do safely and by having all appropriate health measures in place
- If we believe we cannot operate in a way that adequately protects our people or our communities, we will adjust our plans on a site-by-site basis
- Even with certain operations at a reduced level of activity, this means we can most effectively support the government’s proactive efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19
- We are trucking water to an additional 25 villages areas surrounding Mogalakwena and to other vulnerable local areas
- Providing support to 70 local clinics by:
- Producing educational videos on COVID-19 and how to keep your family safe
- Training of clinic staff and community healthcare workers
- Supplying clinical PPE and cleaning materials
- Providing 6,000 food parcels a month for a period of three months to vulnerable households in quarantine
- Communicating with our people via our community engagement app, providing social connection, isolation instructions and mental health support
- Donating sanitiser, masks and gloves.
- Making our Highveld Hospital available for use to treat COVID-19 patients by:
- Installing 85 additional bed units
- Moving regular patients to other private hospitals in the area, freeing up an additional 107 beds that can be used as isolation beds
- Recommissioning the tuberculosis ward to be able to treat COVID-19 patients in isolation
- Sanitising paypoints and distributing language-friendly pamphlets to the elderly
In the UK, we have made available 13 apartments in our St Andrews House building, which forms part of the Group’s new London headquarters, for NHS staff working at the nearby St Bart’s Hospital over the next three months.
- Our De Beers operation in Maidenhead has converted its 3D printers from developing parts for synthetic detection machines, to instead making headbands for the face shields that form part of the PPE being worn by healthcare staff
- At our Woodsmith Project, we are currently exploring any ways in which we can further support a number of existing local initiatives
- Only essential site workers are in the office, everyone is else working from home
Doing our part
Supporting our communities was a pillar of Anglo American’s ethos before this pandemic and now it is more important than ever before. Businesses have an obligation to do their part during, and indeed after, the COVID-19 crisis – here are a few ways we’ve been contributing:
- Donating 80,000 masks in Singapore
- Sending medical supplies to Til Til community hospital in Chile
- Providing 500 snacks or lunch boxes per day to army forces, national police, health employees and voluntaries who have been working during the emergency in Peru
- Donating of 200 bottles of D-germ sanitizers, 1000 N-95 masks, and 2000 pairs of Nitril gloves in South Africa
- Donations to the municipalities in our areas of influence, totalling over USD 1 million in respirators and PPEs in Brazil
A word from the experts
Dr Elton Dorkin is our Head of Health, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, which went into lockdown on Thursday, this week. He has previously dealt with health challenges, including HIV and SARS. Here are some of his words on COVID-19:
“We can’t accept that it’s inevitable that people are going to get infected; there are ways to protect ourselves. We have the SHE way, (Safety, Health and Environment). We do not accept that people should get sick, or should get injured in the course of work. We need to take responsibility for our actions and make sure it doesn’t happen, because there is real fear during a pandemic. We need to help our employees and it’s challenging, but there’s also the fact that a lot of what has to happen is about how we protect ourselves.”