It came as no surprise earlier this year when Geita Gold Mining Limited’s Vice President (Sustainability), Simon Shayo stepped onto the podium to receive five awards including in the category of environment and safety in the mining industry for the financial year 2019/2020.
This was on 22 February during the annual Tanzania Mineral and Mining Investment Conference at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam.
The current President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E Samia Suluhu Hassan, then Vice President, presented the award in front of various participating stakeholders.
It was to be expected as GGML continues to support various environmental conservation projects within and outside the Mine with meticulous focus on safety which more importantly is amongst the Company’s core values.
GGML has a total of 5,349 employees including those directly employed by the company as well as contractors. 98% of the aforementioned employees are Tanzanians.
In 2018, GGML was recognized by the Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) as the Employer of the Year including in the workplace safety and health category.
During the Mining Investment Conference, H.E Samia Suluhu Hassan whom at the time in her capacity as Vice President was overseeing the ministry responsible for environmental issues addressed environmental conservation in her remarks, a plea taken seriously by GGML.
Speaking upon receiving the awards, Shayo said GGML was encouraged by the government’s recognition of its contribution in the areas of environment and safety, sustainable community investment, Government revenues (tax) and local business content resulting in being named overall best performer of the mining sector for the financial year 2019/2020.
“We will continue to mine responsibly with due consideration given to environmental conservation for the benefit of the communities surrounding the mine,” he said.
The Secretary General of the National Union of Mine and Energy Workers of Tanzania (NUMET), Nicomedes Kajungu says GGML is a beacon but other large mines have also been striving to ensure workplace safety. Kajungu advises the GGML leadership to use this recognition as motivation to continue performing better in the field.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 2003 sets out the employer’s responsibilities regarding occupational safety and health. However, the following responsibilities are important to consider:
• Ensuring the workplace is safe and protecting employees against accidents, injuries, and preventable health risks. This includes making changes in the structure, processes and working environments, such as reducing the level of hazardous chemical spills that may affect worker’s well-being and monitoring the effects of such substances and keeping records.
• Establishing, reviewing and submitting work procedures for employees to comply with safety and health measures.
• Providing employees working in hazardous environments with adequate protection and the necessary protective equipment. This includes providing protective gear such as face masks, gloves and antinoise equipment, using chemicals that do not pose a significant health risk to workers and improvement of circulation of fresh air.
• Ensuring the safety of the working environment for employees and other people visiting the workplace.
• Placing posters, labels and instructions with easy to understand signs or procedures on how to prevent and handle accidents and injuries or workplace emergencies after an incident.
• Ensuring that employees use safe equipment and maintain them.
• Providing safety training to employees on specific techniques to ensure safety and health in a language they understand.
• Conducting tests and health checks on employees as directed by this Act to ensure that employees can work safely and maintain their health and wellbeing.
• Keeping accurate records of occupational injuries and diseases.
• Reporting to OSHA any accidents or diseases occurring in the workplace.
• Assisting employees to exercise their right to report injuries, illness or death resulting from work.
GGML and the Environment
The Environmental Management Act of 2004 clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders.
Highlights of the Act include the planning and management of sustainable use of the environment, pollution control, the handling of environmental information and statistics, research and community participation and the implementation of responsibilities arising from international agreements.
Additionally, the issue of compliance and law enforcement as well as the application of various concepts to manage environmental conservation especially Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), economic concepts and environmental standards.
Likewise, various regulations, guidelines and programs have been developed to facilitate the implementation of the law.
Recognizing the sensitivity of the environment in the country, GGML has been implementing various environmental projects and supporting the efforts of other stakeholders initiating the conservation movement in Tanzania.
In terms of community investment, GGML has been spending more than TZS 10 billion annually on various projects in the areas of health, environment, education, agriculture and infrastructure as part of the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program.