Report on mining launched in Marikana

ARTICLE | 25 October 2018

Suppliers of mining equipment have a responsibility to act on adverse human rights impacts arising as a result of their customers’ activities. This aspect of corporate responsibility was at the centre of discussions when Swedwatch met with mining communities in Marikana, South Africa.

Swedwatch’s report Carrying the costs, published in February 2018, shows how communities in South Africa’s platinum belt experience salient social and environmental impacts, including evictions and health problems, associated with mining operations. The report also investigates how suppliers of mining equipment such as Swedish Atlas Copco and Sandvik are addressing human rights risks that may be associated with the activities of the mining companies that they sell equipment to.

Following an invitation by South African civil society organisation network Bua Mining Communities, Swedwatch presented the report to community representatives in Marikana in October 2018.

“This report enables us to understand how Swedish companies supplying equipment to the platinum mining industry are linked to the challenges facing us in the communities. Research like this can help us deal with the challenges and issues that we face”, Joseph Magobe, chairperson of Bua Mining Communities, told Swedwatch after the presentation.

The event was attended by people from communities in Rustenburg who, following the presentation, shared experiences from living in the heavily mined area. Reflections were in line with the findings of Swedwatch’s research, for example that platinum mining is taking place on their land without the consultation or compensation to communities. Possible ways forward were also discussed.

Marikana is the mining community in which 34 mine workers were killed during a strike in 2012, and one of six communities in which Swedwatch conducted field research for Carrying the costs in collaboration with South African CSO Bench Marks Foundation.