Environment, Social, Governance – Bannerman’s commitment fetches Mining Indaba ESG award
The Australian-listed Namibian uranium exploration company, Bannerman Mining Resources this week received the prestigious ESG Forum Award at the 29th edition of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.
Bannerman’s Namibian operation, Bannerman Mining Resources (Namibia) took the award in the Community Engagement category for its unstinting support of their Early Learner Assistance (ELA) programme which has been running since 2011 to reduce the school drop-out rate of early learners.
When the Bannerman Chief Executive, Brandon Munro, accepted the award at the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday, 07 February 2023, he said “Bannerman is delighted to be recognised for the Early Learner Assistance programme through winning one of the world’s most prestigious ESG awards, but we are far more grateful for the positive direct impact the programme has had on the lives of learners and their families in Namibia. We believe this support has also profoundly impacted school teachers and principals, and motivated our passionate employees. It is enormously satisfying to have launched the programme in 2011 and see how much good it continues to deliver more than a decade later.”
Managing Director of Bannerman Namibia, Werner Ewald, said “Our employees have remained enthusiastically committed to the ELA programme. They have logged close to 15,000km travelling to remote schools to personally deliver individualised parcels of school clothing, stationery, backpacks, socks and shoes – a gesture that expresses to each learner that they are special and worthy of help. To date, over 3,300 learners have benefited from the programme across six regions and plans are underway to grow this number by more than 300 children this year.”
When the programme was first put together, Bannerman consulted local educationalists, principals, community leaders, and its own staff. The proposed framework enjoyed strong support from then Minister of Education, the late Dr Abraham Iyambo, who launched the ELA Programme in Omaruru in March 2011.
With the assistance of school principals, those children most at risk of dropping out are supported with uniforms and other material to encourage them to stay in school. Bannerman obtains the names, shoe sizes and uniform specifications from the selected list of students, with company employees then personally handling the logistics of ordering, packaging, and distributing the ELA packages.
The ELA programme started in the Erongo Region where Bannerman’s Etango Uranium Project is located and has now been extended to Omaheke, Hardap, Kunene, Kavango West and Otjozondjupa at the request of the Minister of Mines and Energy.
Bannerman has also made the ELA programme “open source” to invite other mining companies to adopt and improve the initiative within their own host communities. In 2022, Namibia Rare Earths became the next company to adopt the ELA programme, rolling it out in the Khorixas area where it operates.