Managing Director and
Chief Executive Officer
OZ Minerals has emerged from 2009 as a vastly different company from what it was at the beginning of the year. As a result, we have the opportunity to start out as a new organisation with a prime quality asset in Prominent Hill and an experienced team which has a desire to perform, improve and grow.
In 2009, OZ Minerals sold a number of its operating, development and exploration assets in June 2009 to resolve refinancing issues. The company assets now consist of the Prominent Hill copper and gold mine in South Australia and exploration projects around Prominent Hill and in Cambodia.
We are committed to achieving Zero Harm by Choice, which is driven by a desire to make safety, health, environmental and community concerns foremost in every decision we make. Zero Harm requires OZ Minerals to adopt targets of zero for health, safety and environmental and community incidents. While these may be difficult targets, it is not practical to have any others if we wish to achieve the cultural shift required and ensure that we do not harm our people or the environments in which we work.
Our sustainability policy has been updated to reflect our goal of Zero Harm by Choice as well as incorporate the OZ Minerals values of Respect, Integrity, Action and Results.
Protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of our people, both OZ Minerals’ employees and the contractors who work on our site, is our primary sustainability objective. Whilst there was a decrease in our total recordable injury frequency rate in the reporting year, we experienced a number of significant safety incidents across our business. In 2009, 26 of our people have been injured in incidents at our ongoing assets that have resulted in either lost time, medical treatment or not being able to complete their normal duties for a period.
We are determined to improve our safety performance. A core focus in achieving our commitment to Zero Harm by Choice is the enhancement and tracking of leading indicators, rather than the focus on lagging indicators such as the frequency rates mentioned previously. Leading indicators can highlight signs that there may be unsafe activities or situations developing within areas of our business, whereas lagging indicators are not necessarily useful in preventing incidents.
At the close of 2009, OZ Minerals had 331 employees and 476 contractors. Most of our workforce is now Australian based with 608 employees and contractors based at our Prominent Hill operation. Outside of Australia, we have 122 employees and contractors primarily working for our exploration division on projects mainly in Cambodia.
We have a deliberate strategy to promote a diverse workforce and have been successful in achieving a growing representation from women, local indigenous groups and from the local community in which we work.
Approximately 82 per cent of our workforce at Prominent Hill is from South Australia. Of these 18 per cent are from the region in which our operation is located – and 14 per cent are indigenous people. This high local employment rate is a direct result of a deliberate effort to ensure benefits from the mining operation are shared with local communities.
Our highly successful pre-employment training program which enables local people with no previous mining experience to acquire the skills required to gain a job at Prominent Hill is something of which we are extremely proud and will continue to invest in.
Since the launch of the program in 2006, five groups of trainees comprising 42 graduates have completed the program and taken up roles at Prominent Hill. The fifth Prominent Hill Pre-employment Training Program, completed in September 2009, was specifically organised for members of the Antakarinja community, who are the traditional owners of the land where the mine is located. Seven trainees successfully completed the program and have been placed in various roles at the Prominent Hill operation, including in the environment, exploration, geology and training departments. The next program planned for mid 2010 will comprise people from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands.
The OZ Minerals community investment program is primarily focused on areas in which we operate and therefore most of our efforts have been focused on the communities close to Prominent Hill. In 2009, we supported various local initiatives, including community rodeos and gymkhanas, and we continued our sponsorship of local football team the Coober Pedy Saints and junior football in Coober Pedy. We also continued to support the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) as an ongoing partnership with the RFDS worth $280,000 over four years, from 2007 to 2010.
A range of environmental initiatives were implemented during the reporting period, primarily at our Prominent Hill operation. As this is a new operation, there was a focus on understanding the site’s resource usage and environmental data to set baselines for future efficiency projects.
During the year we completed our first report under the Australian National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (NGER). Prior to the submission of the report, a comprehensive, independent readiness assessment was conducted on the processes that OZ Minerals had developed to meet the requirements of the NGER Act. We also participated in the global Carbon Disclosure Project.
I would like to thank our stakeholders, including our employees and contractors, for their support and contribution to OZ Minerals’ sustainability related achievements and I look forward to providing further updates on our sustainability performance.
We welcome any comments that you may have on our performance or on this report.