Safety, Health And Environment (SHE) & Security
At Namdeb we take pride in the fact that all our operations are OHSAS 18001 (health and safety) and ISO 14001 (environmental) accredited. Namdeb people take responsibility for their own safety and that of their environment. We believe in driving a behaviour based safety culture towards zero harm – “not empty words”.
Namdeb’s safety and health agreement allows for communication within the company at various levels. In addition to this we work with regulatory agencies, employee representatives and local communities to promote partnerships on safety issues which enable a supportive and accident-free safety culture. All employees and contractors follow health and safety practices consistent with our health and safety policy. All occupational health and safety risks are managed through ongoing hazard identification and risk assessments, as well as implementation and monitoring of control measures to reduce such risks. Our annual Occupational Health and Safety audit (OHSAS 18001:2007) took place during February 2010 and subsequently we have retained our OHSAS 18001:2007 Certification.
Namdeb continues to render comprehensive and integrated health programmes to its workforce and the Oranjemund community. This is done under the auspices of the Namdeb Private Hospital (including Occupational health and wellness, physiotherapy, casualty, OPD, in-patient, X-ray, pharmacy, laboratory, and administration and private medical practitioners). This synergy ensures that potential clients are able to access appropriate services at multiple sites, thereby reducing the risk of service bias and fear of discrimination.
Namdeb continues to strengthen its efforts to minimise the impact of the HIV/ AIDS pandemic on its workforce. To date a total of 243 employees are on treatment with good treatment outcomes of >80% adherence rates. In an effort to improve efficiency, the HIV/AIDS programme is being integrated into the occupational health services in order to improve catchment. The prevalence of HIV within the community remains below the national average.
Namdeb strives to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for its employees through continually health monitoring and minimising exposures that could lead to ill health. All employees are subjected to pre-employment medical examinations, periodic examinations as well as exit examinations. Employees in specific risk areas undergo targeted annual monitoring such as radiation medicals for all security personnel in Scannex. Drivers undergo annual eye tests as well as diabetic screening. In line with company objectives, a rigorous Hearing Conservation Programme is in place with the objective to have zero cases of Noise Induced Hearing Loss. To date, no single case of noise induced hearing loss has been recorded nor attributed to our mining processes.
The proclamation of the Sperrgebiet National Park came at a time when diamond mining in the Sperrgebiet celebrated its centenary year, and it is with pride that Namdeb associates itself with this historic milestone -100 years of mining and conservation in this unique part of the Succulent Karoo biome. Since the inception of the Sperrgebiet Land Use Plan, Namdeb has been involved in various management and tourism plans that are now being devised for the area. Namdeb will continue to be supportive to achieve the objectives of its sustainability and the Oranjemund town proclamation processes.
For the last 15 years Formal Environmental Management at Namdeb has formed an integral part of Namdeb's operations in managing its impacts and ensuring compliance with legislation and other requirements. At Namdeb, the first environmental staff members were recruited in 1993 and Environmental Management Programme Reports were submitted to Government in 1998 as per the Mineral Agreement of 1994. This has formed the basis of Namdeb's commitment to manage its impacts in a responsible manner. Namdeb has since led the way with various environmental initiatives and monitoring programmes, many of which are specialist studies that contribute to the local and national knowledge base of the area. Today the Namdeb environmental team works closely with various external stakeholders, researchers, mining operations and support services to ensure a well integrated system.
In order to manage environmental performance and drive continual improvement Namdeb has an environmental management system certified to the ISO 14001 standard. The key components of this system hinge on ensuring that environmental impact assessments are done for all new projects, devising and implementing resulting environmental management plans, monitoring impacts and natural resource use, reporting on environmental performance, and planning with rehabilitation in mind.
With the land operations downscaling, planning for closure has been vital, and when considering the future land use for the National Park, rehabilitation planning has been done in such a way to complement the vision for tourism in the area. The rehabilitation plan covers the areas of pollution, infrastructure, landscaping and biodiversity and detailed management objectives, actions and financial resources exist to ensure that our legacy issues are addressed.
Of equal significance to Namdeb was the decision to proclaim Marine Protected Areas in its offshore mining licence areas. This had the potential to seriously curtail the future of diamond mining in this area. However, through an efficient consultative process with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, management strategies were agreed upon by all stakeholders, again showing how development and conservation can complement each other. Considering the proclamation of these two key conservation areas, and having been the custodian of the area for 100 years, Namdeb now has an added responsibility to proceed with care and due diligence in this ecologically remarkable corner of the earth.
Namdeb is certified to the ISO14001 standard since 2000. As new operations emerge from projects, these operations are included onto the ISO 14001 scope.
Namdeb has a GRN approved Rehabilitation Plan that covers all legacy issues pertaining to the 4 components of the plan (Infrastructure removal, waste & pollution, landscaping, biodiversity). All new projects and operations incorporate rehabilitation planning into their operational design so as not to add to the existing liability. Various pilot projects and clean-up initiatives have been ongoing since 2004. These assist in determining suitable methods of rehabilitation and help set more accurate costs. All the contractor sites in the northern licence areas have been rehabilitated and sign-off has been achieved from GRN on these sites. Currently, Namdeb has large scale rehabilitation and demolition programme on the go, designed to prepare the mining areas for future tourism.
Namdeb follows the EIA process for all new activities, incorporating the mitigation hierarchy of "avoid, minimize and mitigate" in all our risk management processes. These include doing baseline assessments of the natural environment, designing monitoring programs for significant aspects and incorporating progressive rehabilitation design into the process. The last EIA for which Namdeb obtained a clearance certificate was for the Sendelingsdrif Project, and one of the milestones achieved on this project was the establishment of a restoration partnership with the Gobabeb Restoration Unit.
Our views on seals
The Namibian Government’s seal management program is regrettably a matter that Namdeb, has very limited influence over.
The Namibian Government owns all the land in which Namdeb, operates. Namdeb’s sole entitlement under its operating license is to explore and mine diamonds in these areas. This means Namdeb has no jurisdiction over the seal colonies on the Namibian coast and does not provide any assistance whatsoever to Government programmes to manage the seal population. Furthermore, the Namibian Government has the sole right to deny or grant access to these areas for the purpose of managing the seal population regardless of our views on the matter.
As such we encourage individuals who have concerns to convey views regarding the conservation of seals directly to the relevant authorities in Namibia. In addition to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources one can contact the Government department tasked with strategic planning around ecotourism in Namibia, the Directorate of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The Namdeb Security discipline carries the responsibility of ensuring that the company’s property and assets are protected against theft, abuse and misappropriation throughout the value chain. The organisation’s most important asset is the product itself, that is, the rough diamonds recovered from the extensive mining operations.
In seeking to achieve this, the discipline relies on a multi-disciplined approach based on the philosophy of “Protection at Exposure”. The primary objective is to ensure that security and diamond control measures are based on reliable threat, vulnerability and risk assessments. Regular global benchmarking exercises are conducted against peer operations to ensure that Namdeb’s product protection measures are both effective and relevant.
The purpose of the security and diamond control system is to provide a safe and secure business and operational environment for the company and its people to prosper and maximise shareholder value. This is achieved through the promotion of a culture and ethos that discourages theft of company product and assets, augmented by sufficient and appropriate technology to create a credible deterrence and detection capability, managed by a well trained and business focused security department. Many leading-edge technologies, supported by an engineering team dedicated solely to security, have been incorporated into Namdeb’s operations to safeguard the integrity of the product. This technology is underpinned by competent security personnel, diamond theft awareness campaigns and reward systems.
Security operates within a multi-disciplined environment with the strategic direction being developed by a multi-disciplinary Diamond Control Steering Commitee (DTC) in accordance with, and aligned to, the De Beers Family of Companies Global Security strategy.
In terms of the Namibian Diamond Act (No. 13/1999), all diamond producers are required to lodge a Security Plan for Ministerial approval before commencing production. The Act designates diamond mining licence areas as Restricted Areas. No persons may enter a restricted area without being in possession of a Restricted Area Permit issued by the Ministry of Mines & Energy.
Enquiries: (00264) – 63 – 236001/2361002