A case study from a gold mining company : a call for leadership towards more sustainable futures

Makuluma, Hlombe Azukile (2011-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Gold mining in South Africa is an industry that is more than a century old. The impact of gold mines on communities and the environment are enormous. This thesis is a case study based in one of the major gold producers in South Africa that has been in operation for more than 50 years and has more than 30 years of life still left. Exploring the impact mining has had on communities and the environment, this thesis is a call for leadership action towards sustainable futures. This call is made through a suggested sustainable development leadership framework. Georgius Agricola gave a warning regarding the devastating environmental impacts of mining as early as 1556, however mining still has the same negative impacts to the environment and people. The argument in this thesis is that, it is only through genuine leadership that the impacts of mining can be mitigated. However leadership is looked at not from the position of the leader or the leadership style but from the belief system of the leader when it comes to environmental management and community development. The motivation for the study was based in observing how leadership at our Gold mine rallied behind prevention of mine closure when the mine was faced with electricity crisis in 2008. The electricity crisis demonstrated that it is through genuine and committed leadership that all challenges can be overcome including sustainable development crisis. The call for leadership at our mine is to demonstrate the same leadership commitment in addressing environmental and community development challenges. The literature review begins by highlighting sustainable development global challenges and initiatives to address them. This is followed by impacts of gold mining on society and the environment around the various regions of the world. Leadership belief systems are then discussed, highlighting, how belief systems influence the way a leader responds to environmental issues. In developing the sustainable development leadership framework findings from observations, conversations, interviews and focus group discussion that were conducted throughout the mine are presented. The aim of the research was to determine the understanding of employees on the impact of our company on communities, environment and themselves and also the employees’ opinions of leadership. The findings were that the majority of employees believe that leadership is not genuine in addressing community, employee safety and health, and environmental issues at our company and through interviews with leadership, the findings are that, environment and community issues are done for compliance and reputation purposes with no genuine belief that they should be done. To address this understanding a call to leadership is made through a suggested sustainable development leadership framework that takes into consideration the findings from the case study. The thesis ends by proposing that this suggested framework should be tested further within our company.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Goud mynbou in Suid-Afrika is 'n bedryf wat meer as 'n eeu oud is. Die impak van goudmyne op gemeenskappe en die omgewing is enorm. Hierdie proefskrif is 'n gevallestudie wat gebaseer is op een van die groot goudprodusente in Suid-Afrika wat al vir meer as 50 jaar reeds in werking is en wat 'n veredere lewensverwagting van meer as 30 jaar het. Hierdie tesis is 'n ondersoek na die impak wat mynbou op die omliggende gemeenskappe en omgewing het asook 'n beroep om leieskap optrede vir volhoubare ontwikkeling. Hierdie beroep vir volhoubare ontwikkeling word gemaak deur middel van 'n volhoubare ontwikkeling leierskap raamwerk. Georgius Agricola het alreeds in 1556 gewaarsku teen die impak wat mynbou op die omgewing en mense sou hê. Vandag het mynbou het egter nog steeds dieselfde negatiewe impak op die omgewing en die mense. Die argument in hierdie tesis is dat dit slegs deur ware leierskap is dat die impak van mynbou versag kan word. Leierskap word egter nie bekyk uit die posisie van die leier of die leierskap-styl nie, maar eerder uit die gewetens oortuiging oogpunt van die leier wanneer dit kom by omgewingsbestuur en ontwikkeling van die gemeenskap. Die motivering vir hierdie studie is gebaseer op die waarneming van hoe leierskap by ons goudmyn mynsluiting voorkom het gedurende die 2008 elektrisiteitskrisis. Die elektrisiteitskrisis het getoon dat uitdagings sowel as volhoubare ontwikkelings krisisse wel deur ware en toegewyde leierskap oorkom kan word. Die versoek is nou vir ons myn om dieselfde leierskap toewyding toe te pas waar omgewing en gemeenskap ontwikkelings uitdagings aangepak word. Die literatuur oorsig begin deur die globale uitdagings op volhoubare ontwikkeling onder die vergrootglas te plaas en wys hoe om die uitdagings te addresseer. Dan volg die impak wat die goudmynbedryf het op die omgewing en samelewing van verskeie streke in die wêreld. Leierskap geloof oortuiging word dan bespreek met die klem op hoe geloofsoortuiging 'n invloed het op die manier wat 'n leier reageer op omgewings kwessies. Die ontwikkeling van die volhoubare ontwikkelings raamwerk is gebasser op obserwasies, gesprekke, onderhoude en fokusgroepsbesprekings van regoor die myn. Die doel van die navorsing was om die begrip van die werknemers te bepaal aangaande die impak wat ons maatskappy het op die gemeenskap, omgewing en hulself en ook om die werknemers se opinies van leierskap te bepaal. Die bevindinge was dat die meerderheid van die werknemers van mening is dat leierskap by ons maatskappy nie opreg is wanneer dit kom by aanspreek van gemeenskap kwessies, werknemer veiligheid en gesondheid, en omgewingskwessies nie. Deur middel van onderhoude met die leiers van ons maatskappy is ook bevind dat die omgewing en die gemeenskaps kwessies slegs aandag geniet aangesien dit vir die nakoming van vereistes en reputasiedoeleindes verys word en nie as gevolg van 'n werklike oortuiging dat dit gedoen moet word nie. Om hierdie begrip aan te spreek word 'n beroep gemaak tot leierskap deur middel van hierdie voorgestelde volhoubare ontwikkeling leierskap raamwerk wat die bevindings van die gevallestudie in ag neem. Die tesis eindig deur voor te stel dat hierdie voorgestelde raamwerk verder getoets moet word in ons maatskappy.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18013
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