New code for surface miners

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Nico Pienaar of ASPASA

World-renowned surface mining industry association, ASPASA, has transformed the nature of the industry over the past two decades and plans to advance the industry still further with the mandatory introduction of a tough new Code of Ethics.

As a member of the global GAIN Network, which represents similar organisations across the globe, the association has already achieved much acclaim for its efforts in advancing health, safety and environmental compliance, as well as introducing a host of best practices for all aspects of operations.

The latest initiative pushes the goalposts of excellence in the industry still further as members opt-in to the new code which requires transparency and responsible management of all aspects of mining operations.

Trust based

ASPASA director, Nico Pienaar, explains that the association has put measures in place to assist and ensure its members comply with legal and statutory requirements nationally, as well as within members’ regions of operation. This ensures responsible mining practices are undertaken and that the welfare of people and the environment is a priority.

The new Code of Ethics now aims to make it easier to do business with an ASPASA member than ever before. Whether from a customer or other stakeholder perspective, the association aims to ensure its members’ interactions are always professional, transparent and fair.

“The code simply documents good, ethical behaviour and while most member companies adhere to these anyway, it gives us recourse in the event of unethical behaviour being reported. It also promotes our members as customers can rest assured that the ASPASA member they are dealing with commits to ethical behaviour,” says Nico.

Customer guarantee

Among the most significant conducts addressed by the new code for customers is the agreement not to mislead customers about the product, charge a fair price, to supply products timeously, to supply products in conformity with the South African National Standards SABS 1083 unless agreed otherwise, to provide a ready means for the customer to lodge complaints about the quality of the products and not to permit or condone any acts of unethical behaviour among others.

As far as obligations to suppliers is concerned, the code requires members to inform a supplier of any unethical behaviour by the supplier’s personnel or any of the company’s employees, the termination of dealings with any supplier displaying unethical behaviour, the meeting of obligations to suppliers or creditors within the time agreed and informing suppliers or creditors timeously of any inability to meet obligations and to take account of the interests of suppliers or creditors when requesting an extension of payment terms.

Its obligations to employees requires members to deal courteously with employees, have regard to cultural sensitivities and individual dignity, to give due attention to training and development of employees, provide safe working conditions, including adequate machinery and equipment, protective clothing and competent supervision in terms of applicable legislation, the promotion non-discriminatory practices and equal career opportunities, the recognition of employees’ efforts through fair remuneration and reward and compliance with laws governing Labour relations and conditions of employment among others.

Competitors protected

The code also protects competitors from unethical behaviour as it requires members to refrain from dishonest allegations regarding a competitor or his products, to compete fairly and within the limits set by the law, as well as display ethical behaviour in the marketplace.

Obligations to society includes refraining from illegal mining, to pay due regard to safety, occupational and public health, to contribute to the upliftment of the communities in which they operate and to strive for excellence in environmental management.

  • Aspasa, Nico Pienaar, Tel: (011) 791 3327, Fax: 086 647 8034, Email: nico@aspasa.co.za, Web: www.aspasa.co.za