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The South African government is asking existing businesses to improve the lot of the wider black community- demands which have changed the face of the country's mining industry, as Jeff Daniels discovers The W ithout first- hand observation, it's impossible to fully understand the conditions under which many black South African men used to live and work for the country's mining operations- many of which were owned by renowned international business names. Labour was often recruited long- distance from around South Africa and even neighbouring countries, on contracts that obliged workers to leave their families and live in hostel rooms with 10 or 20 other men in the most primitive of conditions. Even where mining operations were developed around existing communities, other than wages, little or nothing of the wealth being created benefited the community. Some employment was created but only ever in labouring grades. Generally, very little was done to uplift the community, develop local businesses or protect biodiversity. Not surprisingly, mines were invariably seen as unwelcome neighbours and conflict occurred all too often as frustrations came to a head. 42 www. bus- ex. com February 10 trickle-

effect Xstrata Alloys February 10 www. bus- ex. com 43 trickle- down