Corporate cocial responsibility: impact of Exxaro mine’s social and labour plan in the community
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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector was to a large extent neglected until the year 2002, post the promulgation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) (Kloppers & du Plessis, 2008:91). While CSR commitments are voluntary, in the mining sector they have become a legal obligation through the introduction of a social and labour plan (SLP). Without the cooperation and support of local people, the continuous existence of mining companies in indigenous communities is threatened (Adonteng-Kissi & Adonteng-Kissi, 2017:196). Furthermore, mining companies are increasingly evaluated on the basis of how communities perceive them. Thus, over and above mining activities, mining companies are also evaluated on the basis to which they positively impact and contribute towards the development of their communities. The overarching goal of the study was to assess the impact brought about by the CSR implementation of Exxaro’s SLP on the community. To accomplish this, empirical research was done on Exxaro mine using a qualitative enquiry that was explorative in nature. Participants for the study were selected from the mine, community as well as Department of Mineral Resources. The key findings of the study have, to a large extent, mirrored the outcomes already in the literature concerning the CSR definition and critical role played by stakeholders in mine community development. The empirical findings of the study showed that the mine had economic benefits to the community; however, the impact of SLP projects could not be fully established because they were no longer operational. The future of mining towns post the life of a mine will rely heavily on sustainable community-based projects, which require active stakeholder engagement throughout the SLP processes. The study concludes with a recommendation that clear roles and responsibilities for community engagement in SLP be implemented and evaluated. Without successful CSR and SLP projects, the economic benefit brought about by the mine in communities will be lost.