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Training programme combines mining and media to drive excellence

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Before embarking on a tour of the pit and processing plant by the mine’s General Manager Jarmi Steyn, the trainees were issued with protective gear and taken through safety protocols. Image credit: Menar

Training programme combines mining and media to drive excellence

South African based Menar Academy’s recent Mining Journalism Training programme celebrated its fifth-year this year with a record 222 applications.

The opportunity to observe activities around a new mine being developed by Canyon Coal in Mpumalanga proved to be an invaluable experience for Mining Journalism Training (MJT) attendees.

This year Menar Academy hosted 17 trainees including journalists and journalism students who got an opportunity to tour the Gugulethu Colliery operations as part of the two-day programme held on 18-19 October. The first day of training happened at Menar’s Sandton headquarters, followed by the mine tour on the second day.

Radio broadcaster Malebeko Sadiki said she gained crucial information through the lectures and the mine tour. “As someone who initially had no prior knowledge of the mining industry, I can confidently say that this program has transformed my perspective and equipped me with a deep understanding of this complex field,” Sadiki said.

At the pit (Training programme combines mining and media to drive excellence)

The trainees arrived at site with ADTs and excavators bustling around. Before embarking on a tour of the pit and processing plant by the mine’s General Manager Jarmi Steyn, they were issued with protective gear and taken through safety protocols.

The day before the mine visit, trainees attended seminars conducted by seven guest speakers at Menar House in Sandton. Various topics including mining health & safety, policy, illegal mining, and critical minerals were covered during the sessions. Dr Sandile Nogxina, delivered a presentation on the history of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) and its transformative role.

Minerals Council CEO Mzila Mthenjane, spoke on the importance of stakeholder relations in mining while award winning journalist Lucas Ledwaba shared his experience of covering the tragic Marikana Massacre in 2012, using the story to discuss critical themes such as the role of journalists in upholding democracy.

Journalist Lindiwe Tsobo said the sessions were insightful. “Besides providing a thorough look into the sector, all the speakers were of high calibre and brought thought-provoking discussions to the table,” Tsobo said.

A deeper understanding of mining (Training programme combines mining and media to drive excellence)

Speaking on South Africa’s unique geology, Professor Nikki Wagner described the country as a geological wonderland, due its endowment of world class mineral deposits. Geologist Kgothatso Nhlengetwa addressed the issue of policy gaps that make SA vulnerable to illegal mining practices.

Solomon Maseko, also a trainee said the programme enabled him to get a deeper understanding of mining. “It provided an eye-opening opportunity to delve into an industry that plays an instrumental role in our global economy and the lives of countless individuals,” said Maseko.

Solidarity Union Secretary General Gideon Du Plessis discussed the dynamics surrounding media statements and wage negations. Richard Spoor Attorneys Director George Kahn who discussed health and safety withing the context of South African mining was the final speaker for the first day of the MJT programme.

One of the MJT highlights is an article competition, whereby attendees get to write about their experiences. The overall winner is awarded with a cash prize. Since its inception in 2017 MJT has provided a platform for media practitioners to engage with industry experts and visit mining sites. The programme is carefully designed to cover industry topics that concern operations, policy, the economy, labour relations and mining’s impact on citizens.

The aim of this initiative is to make the mining story more accessible, and support journalists in their mission to tell compelling stories about one of the most important industries in the country.

Training programme combines mining and media to drive excellence


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Training programme combines mining and media to drive excellence


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