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Blyvoor Gold boosts supplier development, improves near-mine community

11th April 2023

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

     

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Blyvoor Gold, which operates the Blyvoor mine – once one of the largest gold mines in the world – has invested more than $100-million in refurbishing and upgrading the mine after it stood idle for a period of time.

Blyvoor Gold MD Richard Floyd says the company’s supplier development programme is paying “huge” dividends for the mine, in Carletonville, Gauteng, and the surrounding community.

“We are currently expanding our underground operations and our processing plant, improving employee accommodation to cater for our growing workforce, and have invested in enhancing safety measures across our operations.

“In addition, we continue to seek out reliable local suppliers, especially smaller, owner-run businesses that can provide services and materials to the mine,” he says.

Blyvoor Gold’s total supplier spend in 2022 reached R680-million and Floyd expects this amount will grow as the mine’s operations scale up. “We expect a 20% increase in our total spend this year as we continue the expansion and upgrading of our underground and above-ground operations.”

Floyd and the Blyvoor Gold team have worked to establish good relationships with the Blyvooruitzicht community. During the rebuild of the mine, regular meetings were held at a local church, where community members could hear first-hand from Blyvoor’s management team about progress with the rebuild.

“We had upward of a thousand local community members attend these sessions.

“Members of the community who had worked at the mine when it was liquidated were prioritised for re-employment, provided they were fit for the rigours of working in underground mining conditions,” Floyd says.

In partnership with the local economic development forum, Blyvoor’s management team committed to a comprehensive social and labour plan for the Blyvooruitzicht community. This work comprised refurbishing sewerage plant infrastructure, repairing stormwater infrastructure, cleaning waste in the Blyvooruitzicht village and surrounds and refurbishing the local orphanage and schools through donations and repairs.

In addition, general electrical and water infrastructure repairs were conducted over a three-year period during the mine’s rebuild phase.

Floyd adds that Blyvoor Gold has also secured approval for a solar energy project for up to 40 MW of installed capacity to be generated near the mining site, the excess of which can be fed back into the grid as a small contribution toward easing the national electricity shortage.

Meanwhile, in terms of employee safety, Blyvoor Gold is working toward International Standards Organisation (ISO) 14001 and ISO 45001 certification.

“Currently, we have achieved more than half a million fatality-free shifts, and should reach one-million before year's end,” he says.

Blyvoor Gold CEO Alan Smith adds that ensuring workers have a sense of ownership regarding the mine's operations and fortunes is essential to Blyvoor's long-term success.

“Plans are in place to start paying dividends by the end of the year, which will flow directly into the hands of workers and selected community projects.

“We believe these steps are vital to achieving our goal of building a quality, profitable mining asset in the long term,” he says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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