THE global Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in much-improved communications and relationships between mining companies and surrounding communities, according to Anglo American CEO, Mark Cutifani.
Interviewed for the Mining Indaba virtual conference being held from London by Deloitte partner Andrew Lane, Cutifani commented that: “In no time that I can remember have we connected better with our communities than in the last 12 months”.
Cutifani added the diversity of Anglo American’s operations situated around the world had helped the group’s response to the pandemic with practices that worked on the group’s operations in Chile being transferred to other operations in Brazil and then to South Africa.
“People were looking for leadership that might have some knowledge that would help them with something we had not seen before. We were able to show people different ways of doing things from things we had learned elsewhere.”
Cutifani said he believed Anglo American had been able to play a more significant role fighting Covid-19 in Africa than in other jurisdictions, in large part because of its previous experience with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
“In South Africa, organisations like ours were central to the work done on HIV and AIDS. Anglo American was one of the first companies to provide antiretrovirals to individuals and their families.
“We still have a very strong health team in the business. We were able to make communities understand the processes that needed to be put in place to keep people safe.
“In the UK, I found it very hard to connect with people who were making decisions. I felt that in the UK the response was much more disjointed than it was in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia where I think the mining industry played an important role in connecting the players.”
Cutifani said the mining industry would help where it could to continue the fight against the pandemic. “As a global company we hope to do our bit whether it’s in helping people procure vaccines; whether it’s in helping roll the vaccines out or paying for what needs to be done,” he said.