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VR Group July 09 www. bus- ex. com 33 University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, giving them work during the vacations and two years' employment after graduation. Of course, he hopes they will become long- term employees and help spread the company's footprint overseas. And he strongly believes that CSR ( corporate social responsibility) helps the company's image with its customers better than any amount of PR schmoozing. Now he returns a proportion of the group profits to customers, allowing them to decide how this should be applied in their own social responsibility programme. Again BHP Billiton was the first to join this scheme. " They said they would like us to fund three full sets of playground equipment in three nursery schools and give them each a donation, which we did," says Van Reenen. " Now everyone in Billiton, all around the world, knows that we are not only doing what we think is correct but supporting training and social responsibility programmes." Anglo American and Xstrata are both expected to follow suit, he says. Van Reenen is very keen to see South Africa develop into a meritocracy and is convinced that this will happen quickly if its young people are given education and fair opportunities for employment. " The country is 85 per cent black, so there are six bright black youngsters to every one bright white kid." The other bee in his bonnet is research and innovation. " I say to my customers, ' If I can't save you money then don't buy from me.' If you're doing the same thing as you did last year, then you haven't got much of a future in business." - Editorial research by Robbie Hodgson

34 www. bus- ex. com July 09 Just 15 months ago Aard Mining Equipment emerged from beneath the protective umbrella of mining services giant Boart Longyear. Managing director Alistair McGillivray talks to Gay Sutton about the challenges and excitement of the fi rst year of independence Saltof theearth