As a proudly Namibian company, Rössing Uranium accepts its corporate citizenship duties and recognises that its continuing operations are based on its ability to maintain its mining permits and licenses and to secure access to land, people and capital. It uses a combination of economic, social, environmental and technical expertise to harness these resources and create reciprocated prosperity for its stakeholders.
The objective of Rössing’s social investment programme is to:
- Maintain and enhance Rössing’s social license to operate
- Promote its community and social investment projects
- Collaborate with The Rössing Foundation on identified community projects
- Identify smart partnerships to enable long-term benefits
- Clearly define mutual community interest that enhances Rössing’s business case
The company recognises that it has social, cultural, and environmental responsibilities to the community in which it operates, as well as at regional and national levels. This recognition works in tandem with an appreciation for our economic responsibility towards our stakeholders and shareholders in order to establish and maintain sustainable success for the organisation. Rössing accepts that its standing in the mining industry and local and international business communities is dependent upon its exercising of these responsibilities and maintaining the standards thereof.
Rössing’s social investment focuses on the following priority areas, which are reviewed and updated annually:
a) Health, safety and environment
c) Economic support
d) Youth and sport
Community initiatives supported during 2022
Rössing Uranium supported The Rössing Foundation and other community initiatives with an investment of N$29.4 million in 2022 compared to N$14 million during 2021. Of this amount, N$25 million was donated to The Rössing Foundation, and over N$4 million was in-kind and cash contributions to worthy community initiatives.
Our Communities and Social Performance division focused on “The Bigger-Than-Me-Project”, which is Rössing’s three-year community-based initiative, with identified schools in the Erongo region.
Nationally, it augments government support under the National Development Plan and the Harambee Prosperity Plan, specifically the Social Progression Pillar on the blocks:
- Zero deaths from hunger and poverty: support to the infrastructure at the school feeding scheme to be fit-for-purpose.
- Improved access to quality education: support to building the social and mental resilience of the teachers through the mentorship programme.
- Arresting gender-based violence and violence against children: support to learners and identified community members on protective behaviours, with support from Rapha Consulting and Counselling services.
Life on Land - Valuable lesson of living in a finite environment at the NaDEET Centre
The main activities for 2022 were held at Willem Borchard Primary School in Okombahe – Daures constituency:
- Mentorship programme – With Rössing employees supporting selected learners with lifestyle and academic choices and challenges. The 2022 programme also included support to a cultural awareness and embedding of cultural values and norms.
- Girl Child programme – Provision of reusable AnnPads; provision of the book Ann’s Journey to raise awareness on puberty for both girls and boys. Our initiative at the school saw Lotus Foundation coming on board. We do not have a defined collaboration in place with them to make disposable pads available to the learners (water is not always readily available in Okombahe to sanitise the AnnPads).
- STEM Support – Support provided on accommodation, transport and learning tools for a week-long excursion to the NamibRand Environmental Centre where a minimum of fifty learners are taught and experience the value of living an environmentally aware and sensitised life. Here, focus is on responsible living on land, alternative energy sources, awareness of finite resources and training on using solar-powered stoves and geysers.
- Redundant equipment donations – The items made available were steel racks for their storage and classrooms, laptop with installed MS programmes, flatscreen TV for online training sessions, lever arch files and document pockets, shredded paper for use in their alternative source Tjo-tjo stoves (this is aimed at minimising the cutting down of trees for firewood).
- Infrastructure support – Provision of waste separation bins, repainting the library and selected classrooms, construction of cement tables and chairs to accommodate 490 learners, teachers and parents (meetings and during the Government-supported feeding scheme roll-out)
- Protective Behaviours programme – In collaboration with Rapha Counselling, a programme focused on raising awareness about keeping children safe from physical and mental abuse was rolled out among Rössing mentors, learners, teachers, parents and other community members. This programme established trainers in the community and at the school with the needed resource materials so that the programme can continue beyond the direct involvement of Rössing and Rapha Counselling.
Children at the new tables and chairs waiting for their breakfast
Rössing Uranium also participated in other educational, community and environmental projects and initiatives:
- Swakopmund Neighbourhood Watch – by providing analogue radios
- Assisted Swakopmund NamPol Reservist team to purchase a car to perform their duties in fighting crime
- Sponsorship towards the Erongo Governor’s Cup
- Sponsorship towards the Kunene Governor’s Cup
- Donation of redundant vehicles for African Institutional Management Services trainees to assist with practical lessons
- Covid support: Stretcher trollies and other medical supplies - for various Erongo health facilities
- Sponsorship towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution Conference
- Support towards the Erongo Namibia Police Force’s vehicles repairs
- Purchase of Pewa’s Ocean Adventure books for distribution at school annual prize giving ceremonies
- Ûiba-Ôas Co-operative (Crystal Market) borehole installation
Rössing Uranium donated 50 redundant radios to various neighbourhood watches in Swakopmund.
- Rössing Employee Community Project – Sonstraaltjie Playground setup in the town of Arandis
- Swakopmund Municipality – sponsorship towards the Project Shine clean-up campaign
- Sponsorship toward the Arandis Mayoral Fund Christmas party for pensioners
- Support towards the Erongo Road Safety campaign
- Support towards the MVA Fund Festive Season Road Safety campaign
- Rössing planted 60 trees in honour of World Environment Day at three schools in Arandis to promote environmental awareness
A playground constructed by Rössing employees and contractor company employees at the Sonstraaltjie Kindergarten in Arandis
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL
The social expectations from mining companies are continuously changing with the license to operate becoming more complex. Corporate communication plays a key role in how investors, government, communities, media and the general public perceive the company.
Rössing has been considered a flagship operation and employer of choice in Namibia since it started operations in 1976. Its communication programmes to date have included extensive print, audio-visual, display and personal communication activities, underlined by the slogan Working for Namibia.
Rössing has a broad group of stakeholders such as customers, government, vendors, contractors, employees and shareholders, Board directors, media, business community, community organisations, community leaders and environmental lobby groups.
Our communication approach is focused on:
- Identifying stakeholders and interested parties and mapping them according to their importance and influence
- Being proactive, transparent, and genuinely keen to engage with all company stakeholders
- Identifying “win-win” strategies
- Tailoring communications to discreet audiences according to their need for information
- Ensuring communications contain consistent core messages
- Designing communications using fact-based information and delivering messages openly and regularly
- Consistently asking for feedback and involvement
- Establishing, developing and maintaining good relationships with identified strategic stakeholders
The communication activities are handled by a core communications team in line with the corporate strategic objectives (focusing on internal relations, external relationships, community relationships, and corporate brand and identity). These are reviewed annually
Employing appropriate communication tools
Communications include all written, display, spoken, and electronic tools, among others. Rössing utilises the following communication tools to interact with its stakeholders:
Employees are one of the key stakeholders of any organisation, as such in 2022, the mine launched the Rössing Employee App and bulk Short Message Service (“SMS”) line. Employees can voluntarily join the platforms, aimed at enhancing communication among the workforce and also supplements the following existing communication channels:
- Rӧssing e-Bulletin, newsflashes, employee briefs
- MD Monthly Report
- MD roadshows
- Departmental meetings
- TV information screens
- Family mine tours
- Rössing website and Facebook pages
- Report to stakeholders
- Stakeholder mine visits
- Expo’s and career fairs
- Rössing National Marathon
- Inter-mines sports
- Outreach programmes
- A key event that was hosted during 2022 was the launch of the Rössing – a Lived Legacy book which highlights the socio-economic impact of Rössing over 45 years.
- The mine also hosted the following stakeholders on site where they received overviews of our mining and operation activities:
- Finnish Embassy
- Ernst & Young Auditors
- IPC political party
- IDC shareholders
- Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services who held a COVID-19 vaccination talk on site
- Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN)
- Medical Professionals from Walvis Bay and Swakopmund
- The public tours under the mine’s visitors programme remained closed since 2020 due to COVID-19. Following the lifting of the restrictions, a business decision was made to rather host
family tours for Rössing employees and their families to see and learn more about the mine.
Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Kornelia Shilunga officially launched the Rössing 45 years Legacy book.
In our continued effort of maintaining an open and transparent relationship with the media, the mine issued 18 media releases during the year on key developments at the mine and provided timeous responses to media queries to create balanced coverage of our business operations.
As a business, social media offers the opportunity to build relationships with key stakeholders, humanise our brand and participate in dialogue to further our strategy. It also allows us to be more responsive to a constantly changing world. The recently launched Rössing Uranium Facebook page continues to grow, with over 15,000 followers.
Awards and recognition
Rössing Uranium proudly emerged as the winner of the Best Stand: Mining companies at the 2022 Chamber of Mines of Namibia’s Mining Expo and Conference.
Rössing Uranium won the Best Stand at the Mining Expo
Rössing has a guidance note under its Community and Social Performance division that directs how complaints are dealt with. To enable the public to access the mine with concerns and/or complaints, we have a dedicated email link on our website, a contact number and an email address on our annual stakeholder report for all our offices in Namibia, inclusive of the contact details of The Rössing Foundation.
When a complaint is received, it is channelled to the area supervisor to investigate and revert back to the communications team with a response which is then sent out to the complainant as the company’s official response.