Batla Minerals’ social investment initiatives have historically focused in Lesotho – where we have operated in various capacities for more than 15 years. More recently, we have also invested in Kimberley, South Africa.
Community Support Initiatives
Improving community members’ health with smokeless stoves – Lesotho
One person dies every eight seconds from cooksmoke-related illnesses. Household air pollution causes lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and cataracts leading to blindness. When people cook on rudimentary cookstoves and open fires, they are often inhaling carbon monoxide and other pollutants at levels up to 100 times higher than the recommended limits set by the World Health Organization (data source: WHO).
Batla Minerals’ subsidiary, Alluvial Ventures (AV), wanted to help address this issue:
- 25 smokeless stoves were purchased from African Clean Energy, a Maseru-based manufacturer, for donation to needy families in Mokhotlong, a community near our plant.
- 73 AV employees also took advantage of a subsidized offer to buy a smokeless stove for their home. In addition to the company subsidy, employees were offered a six-month pay-back program for their share of the stove’s cost.
New short-term caregiver home in Mokhotlong Camp Town – Lesotho
Touching Tiny Lives (TTL) has specific expertise in working with orphans and vulnerable children across the rural areas of the Eastern Lesotho highlands. Its clients experience numerous barriers to accessing state medical and developmental services. TTL’s model presents a unique way to bring the services to communities, supporting them to ensure children meet the critical developmental and nutritional goals.
TTL approached Alluvial Ventures (AV, a Batla Minerals subsidiary) for financial support to build a four-room house in Mokhotlong Camp Town to allow community caregivers to come and stay on-site for a 1-week period leading up to a child’s Safe Home graduation, along with monthly visits. AV provided just under 70% of the financing. The house has been completed and caregivers now come to receive nutritional and training support from the TTL staff and to bond with the child they will care for in a monitored setting.
New laundry facilities for Resthaven Home for the Aged in Kimberley
El Nino Mining and SuperKolong (subsidiaries of Batla Minerals SA) partnered with St. Patrick’s Christian Brothers’ College in its first social investment in the Kimberley area.
The aged who live in government-run senior homes are a vulnerable and frequently overlooked people group. In a recent visit to Kimberley, we toured Resthaven Home for the Aged; home to 48 residents. The home is funded entirely by the residents’ monthly pension.
After touring the facility, staff told us their greatest need is for an improved laundry facility. One of their two machines didn’t work at all, and the other didn’t spin, requiring staff to remove items and ring the laundry by hand before placing on lines to dry. Residents generate a great deal of laundry-particularly bedding which is often laundered daily.
Based on that need, Batla invested R235,000 for two heavy duty Speed Queen washers and laundry trolleys. Lead Laundry Equipment prepared the site and installed the machines.
As part of St. Patrick’s community service, students visit Resthaven residents and raise money to purchase the washing powder for the new laundry machines.
Reskol Mining supports King Moshoeshoe school athletics day in communities near Kolo Mine in Lesotho
Each March, the Basotho people throughout Lesotho and Southern Africa celebrate King Moshoeshoe day – a founder of the Basotho nation and an influential figure in their culture and history. In the Kolo Mine region, students from five primary schools came together on the 10th of March 2016 for a day of competitive athletics.
To support the community and this event, Reskol Mining (a subsidiary of Batla Minerals) purchased snack parcels for the 1,000+ students and school leaders in attendance. Reskol representatives enjoyed their involvement and vigorously cheered on the students in the various athletic competitions. Participating schools included Likhaleng Primary, Likhetleng Primary, Malaleng Primary, Ntsie Primary, and Sekameng Primary. The Reskol team looks forward to future opportunities to engage with and support this community.
Alluvial Ventures has established two community-led trusts, each receiving a portion of the company’s gross revenue. Alluvial Ventures is a co-sponsor with Letseng to both community trusts.
Alluvial Ventures Workers Trust (AVWT)
AVWT is funded to distribute funds, over-and-above normal employment benefits to its entire workforce at the mine. Trustees are elected by workers from the Mosotho worker base. The company has no influence over distribution of AVWT’s income, other than to ensure compliance with applicable laws. The AVWT has now been converted to a Provident Fund
Khubelu Valley Development Trust (KVDT)
The KVDT was established to improve the general well being of communities surrounding the Letseng mine and to invest in infrastructure projects that provide sustainable benefits. Community members identified an opportunity to host tourists in the area, and subsequently built seven ecotourism chalets along the Khubelu River as well as a community centre. Chalets were built, ideal for trout fishing guests and for hikers looking for overnight accommodation. Guide-led pony trails were planned to take guests to the escarpment. For more information, see Chalets In The Sky.
Travel in the Letseng mine region can have serious challenges. Roads are poor year-round, and in the winter, frequent snow and ice storms make travel almost impossible. When Alluvial Ventures first began working in the Letseng area, we recognized the damaging affects of isolation on local villages and improved access roads to benefit their daily lives and commerce.
Supply Chain Development
Alluvial Ventures has invested in two specific entrepreneurial companies to try and strengthen the local supply chain and improve the long-term sustainability of area businesses. Our investment in both companies includes management mentoring, financial capital, and long-term service contracts.
Lucky’s Kitchen, 100% black-owned catering company, was established with an initial loan of R35000 to Lucky, a local, small-scale caterer. Mentoring was focused on the long-term goal of establishing a fully independent food services provider. Alluvial also offered Lucky a long-term service contract, which allowed for expansion of personnel and equipment.
The initial loan has been fully repaid as the business provided 240 balanced meals, daily. The company employed seven permanent staff, and used part-time staff from the area as needed.
Moloi’s Transport is a 100% black-owned transportation provider. Lehase Moloi, the founder, was also mentored by Alluvial’s senior leaders to develop basic business systems. Alluvial extended a long-term transportation services contract and provided Moloi with a double axle truck, which is the backbone of its small fleet of trucks. Moloi currently employs 2 permanent staff.