Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) is in the business of mining, refining and the marketing of platinum group metals (PGMs), especially platinum, as well as nickel, copper and cobalt. Implats is also involved in the secondary sourcing of material through Impala Refining Services (IRS) which enables it to capitalize on the group's competitive advantages in processing and refining. The group employs approximately 53,000 people (including contractors) across its operations and is one of the most efficient and lowest cost primary platinum producers in the world.
The group's operations on the Bushveld Complex in South Africa (Impala Platinum, Marula Platinum, the Leeuwkop project and Two Rivers) and the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe (Zimplats and Mimosa) give it a significant base of attributable reserve and resource ounces of platinum. Implats also has investments in Aquarius Platinum Limited and its subsidiary Aquarius Platinum (South Africa) Limited which have PGM operations in southern Africa. There are also offshore exploration projects in Botswana, Mozambique, Madagascar and Canada.
The management of HIV & AIDS remains a major focus area for the group's health services and line management alike, as the spread of the disease and its impact continues at both the South African and Zimbabwean operations.
There are three broad areas within Implats' HIV/AIDS program:
Education and Training
Through awareness and education programs, and, in particular, the use of peer educators, efforts are made to prevent the further spread of the disease to employees, their families and members of the community. Peer educators have been appointed and trained at all operations. A key component of this initiative is to encourage employees to know and understand their HIV status through the Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) programs. VCT is available to all employees and contractors and all are encouraged to utilize this service in order to know their status. Over 6800VCT test were performed during FY 2010 , (FY 2009 6200).This initiative assisted in increasing the number of patients on HIV wellness to over 4000.
All employees and their dependents have access to the medical care through company facilities or contracted service providers. Employees who are HIV-positive are strongly encouraged and advised to participate in wellness programs so as to delay the progression of HIV. These programs are available at all operations through the company's medical facilities or through the various medical aid schemes. The provision of antiretroviral treatment (ART) to employees is a vital component of these programs.
During the year there were 4151 patients receiving care through the company's facilities of which 1908 were receiving ART. The number of patients receiving care from external medical schemes and providers is not know.
An area of concern is the level of compliance of some patients with the wellness programme and particularly with ART. In order to ensure compliance , full time HIV-positive peer educators who are on ART themselves, assist the doctor and nursing teams to encourage compliance among individual patients.
Implats extends its HIV & AIDS programs into the communities in the areas in which the group operates and where employees live by funding and partnering with NGOs who provide HIV-related services.
Tapologo Outreach Program
The Impala Bafokeng Trust (IBT) was founded by Implats and the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) and became operational in 2007. The IBT has continued to support the Tapologo Outreach Program. The Tapologo Outreach Program provides a comprehensive and holistic response to the HIV/AIDS-related health needs of communities in the Rustenburg area.
IBT's support for Tapologo is focused on the outreach and home-based care program which is often the patient's first contact with Tapologo. The program offers education for those infected and affected with HIV/AIDS, as well as counseling, nursing care, and emotional and spiritual support. These services are facilitated by community care givers (CCGs) and children affected by HIV/AIDS are effectively identified and linked into appropriate care structures. Patients are also catered for at every stage of the disease.
Impala Springs Projects
Impala Springs, one of Impala Platinum's operations, makes an effort to support local communities affected by the HIV & AIDS pandemic through the support of local NGOs. Among the projects that received support during 2009 were:
Pulmonary TB continues to present a significant health risk to Implats' employees as a direct result of the HIV epidemic and 74% of patients diagnosed with Pulmonary TB during the year had co-infection of HIV. TB Treatment, in line with the World Health Organization's Directly Observed Treatment Supervision (DOTS) protocol, is initiated in all cases that were detected. At Impala Rustenburg, the company reported a cure rate of above 80% for pulmonary TB. 399 new cases of Pulmonary T were diagnosed during the year (FY 2009: 426 cases) Five new cases of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and one case of Extreme Drug Resistant TB (XDR-TB) were detected during the year. All six patients were admitted to a specialist TB hospital.