1000 feet below the surface: Gold mining in South Africa

Nordea has travelled to South Africa together with asset managers and asset owners from all of Scandinavia to get a first hand impression of the conditions for the local mining workers.

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Africa is a continent plentiful in minerals and therefore cherished by global companies. But often the conditions that workers are exposed to are extreme and hazardous. As investors, this is something that we pay great attention to and actively make an effort to improve.

South Africa is one of the leading countries in the mining industry and a locomotive for the African economy as a whole. But it is also a pioneer country on the continent when it comes to incorporating high ESG standards and corporate responsibilities.

We do not invest in anything that does not comply with our ESG standards or at least have a clear plan and procedure

The last couple of years have seen a significant drop in the number of fatalities and injuries in South African mines. In fact, 2015 saw the lowest ever fatalities recorded in the South African mining industries, and it is the eighth successive year that this number drops. These numbers are encouraging and show the effect of the work that is being done in South Africa to implement better procedures and improve security for mining workers.

South African companies as a whole are able to take the experiences within ESG with them when they establish themselves in other African countries. They can roll out better governance models and better social and environmental standards for the good of the whole continent.

Our stance is clear. We do not invest in anything that does not comply with our ESG standards or at least have a clear plan and procedure. We make an effort to stay updated on the developments and get first-hand impressions.

The mining industries in South Africa show that improvements are being made. To investors it is proof that interest in the emerging markets can balance with environmental, social and governance issues.

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