Large mines and sustainable development: Towards partnerships with Government


Atkinson (2005a), Large mines and sustainable development: Towards partnerships with Government, Chamber of Mines, Johannesburg. Unpublished report.



1. The paper compares the developmental proposals of 27 municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and 4 provincial development plans. It compares these proposals with the activities of 4 South African mines, as reflected in their company reports. At the same time, it compares these proposals and activities with government programmes in a variety of developmental fields. The paper compares 9 developmental themes: Social issues (health, welfare, education, recreation); housing (including infrastructure and spatial planning); promotion of small-scale mining activities; economic diversification; job creation and poverty alleviation; local taxation; environmental management; and relationships with traditional (“indigenous”) communities.

2. Despite their well-known capacity problems, municipalities are key developmental agencies. They cover the whole of South Africa (“wall to wall local government”), and they increasingly function as inter-sectoral development co-ordinators, and they. They also have an elected democratic base. For these reasons, municipalities will play an increasingly important role in all aspects of Local Economic Development (LED), including agriculture, industry, commerce, tourism and mining. They are also responsible for poverty alleviation. An increasing number of developmental functions are being devolved to municipalities, and this is likely to have an impact on the ways that mines conceptualise, plan and implement community development.

3. Provincial governments are also an increasingly strategic level of government. They are responsible for province-wide social and economic planning, and the bulk of government social programmes are channeled through provincial government. It is now a requirement that all provincial governments draft provincial development plans. Most provincial plans say little or nothing about mining, largely because mining falls under a national-level department (DME), without a corresponding provincial department. The lack of provincial focus should be taken up with the DME by the Chamber of Mines.

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