Miner First Uranium achieves BEE success

Benedicta Madawo

Benedicta Madawo

South Africa's black economic empowerment policy is still being introduced to the outside world, but it already has success stories that are being showcased in Canada this week.

One such company is First Uranium whose implementation of the black economic empowerment policy has been so successful that it is now seeking a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, one of the most lucrative in the financial world.

First Uranium's vice-president for business transformation Sembie Danana made this announcement at the weekend, during a seminar to explain the implications of the black economic empowerment policy in relation to foreign mining investment in South Africa.

The seminar is part of a five-day convention on mining in Africa.

Debbie Ntombela, a director in the Minerals and Energy Department said the BEE policy was published in 2004, not as a government ploy to take over foreign owned companies, but to deal with the socioeconomic injustices of the past.

The empowerment policy has a complex scorecard whose main requirements are that foreign companies wishing to operate in South Africa should ensure a 26 percent black economic empowerment ownership within 10 years of commencing operations. This can be met by ensuring 50 percent board participation for empowerment members, 40percent management positions and 10 percent for women.

"First Uranium has exceeded requirements for black empowerment," said Danana.

First Uranium will join black economic empowerment company Umbono Group on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company's managing director, Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi said his company used the black economic empowerment concept to ensure community participation in its programmes. - MAP Feature Service