Despite never having entered the Supplier Development Awards previously, Exxaro was an impressive category winner in 2019 having made significant strides in a relatively short space of time, in particular moving their supplier development score from 1.6 to 7.9 out of a possible 10 points, and moving their overall enterprise and development score from 3 to 12.64 out of a possible 15 from 2018 to 2019.

The judges applauded the company’s intention to provide both financial and non-financial support to beneficiaries including grants and loans to qualifying QSEs and EMEs. In addition, the company is conceptualising an equity funding vehicle to take minority shareholding in companies that fit Exxaro’s strategy as well as an emerging contractor development programme.

As a coal mining company, explains Exxaro Resources ESD Programme manager, Lusapho Njenge, the company’s mission is to power better lives. “We are using enterprise and supplier development to go beyond compliance, it has become a key driver of socio-economic development,” he reveals. “The tone of our supplier development programme going beyond compliance is set at the top. Given that coal mining typically takes place in the poorest of communities, the programme’s mandate is to make a meaningful difference in our mining communities.”

To this end, in October 2019 Exxaro, together with Anglo American, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and World Vision South Africa, established The Impact Catalyst in Limpopo as a collaborative platform to create mechanisms aimed at driving large-scale socio-economic development. Its first project, in partnership with the premier of Limpopo, is focused on improving the health, well-being and living conditions in communities across the province, given its vulnerability to a high dependence on the mining sector.

The Impact Catalyst intends to design initiatives to leverage collaboration across a variety of sectors, and across municipal boundaries. Initiatives selected for impact will include economic development, education, social empowerment, service delivery and the environment.

Exxaro, says Njenge, prides itself in being more than just a mining business and strongly believes in making a positive impact and empowering the local communities in which it operates.

The company, in partnership with original equipment manufacturers, is working to develop emerging mining contractors. In measuring its contribution, it includes the extent to which it ensures that suppliers move beyond relying solely on the mining company for their survival.