ASPASA to afford smaller-scale miners a voice ‘when it matters most’

Letisha van den Berg, ASPASA director.

Providing up-to-the-minute services and solutions to surface miners remains a key focus of industry association, ASPASA, which aims to smoothen the way for its members to run safe, profitable and sustainable mines for decades to come.

Everchanging requirements in recent times have prompted ASPASA to adopt new and streamlined services especially for smaller-scale surface mines to help them better manage challenges and profit from opportunities that arise.

Taking an introspective view of the types of services that are required is also a priority for the association’s newly elected board under the leadership of industry veteran, Collin Ramukhubathi and newly appointed executive director, Letisha van den Berg.

“Your voice when it matters most” is being adopted as the ASPASA team’s slogan to ensure that it is taken to heart and utilised continuously throughout their engagements with members at all times.

“We started with a membership survey in December last year. We wanted to determine the service needs of our members, whereafter we had a specific ASPASA MANCOM Strategy session where they also completed the service survey.  At the Strategy session the Service Wheel of ASPASA was debated in detail with a risk-ranking process to determine critical focus areas and realign the importance of each,” says Van den Berg.

The resultant input was to move away from our original 18 focus areas (which had not been risk-rated) to seven with the necessary subheadings under each. These include:

  1. Legal including opinion, updates, and royalties
  2. Safety and health including audits, health and mental health, training and transport (TMM and AARTO)
  3. Environmental including audits and training
  4. Technical including audits
  5. Engineering including ECSA
  6. Women in mining including all aspects
  7. Liaison including internal (members) and external (government, MHSC, MINCOSA, junior/emerging mines, illegal mining, security, media and other associations)

“In addition, we identified that training and development of our young members is an important factor and took the decision to bring back a process that had worked very well in the past and that is to manage all training through the Institute of Quarrying. ASPASA will assist with company level training information and the Institute of Quarrying will focus on individuals within the industry’s development.

“Another key change will be the addition of a steering committee consisting of the regional chairpersons, in which we have a few vacant positions and will ask members for nominations in both corporate and independent representation.  This will streamline specific regional issues and make disseminating of information easier.

“In the same regard, we have added Victor Lupuwana from Aquarella Investments to the MANCOM team, which means ASPASA now has four corporate and four independent MANCOM representatives,” adds Van den Berg.

The new team has already hit the ground running with valuable engagements in ground vibrations, noise air blast and fly rock draft Code of Practice, Royalty updates and the way forward, as well as Mining Indaba inputs on challenges faced by small surface mines relating to Transnet.

There were also improvements on collaborating with SADPO and the Claybrick Association, as well as MINCOSA’s Junior and Emerging mines platform. ASPASA also engaged with the members regarding the Trackless Mobile Machinery Collision avoidance system Gazette that was published on 6 December 2022. This was its first formal meeting for 2023 and over 70 participants dialled in for the virtual session.

“Next on our agenda is the provision of statistics for ASPASA, our website upgrade, finalising individual membership offering and association membership levels. We will also be producing targeted articles related directly to industry challenges and successes of the specific month or quarter. We will also give due recognition to members and MANCOM in the media.

“ASPASA is looking forward to our future engagements with our members and external liaisons to make a positive contribution towards the small surface mining industry and to add value to all our members,” concludes Van den Berg.

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