Palabora continues to be progressive in the South African context in terms of B-BBEE procurement and was an industry forerunner in this national initiative long before any official government minerals legislation was promulgated to this effect. In 1998, Palabora along with two other sponsoring companies, initiated a Business Linkage Centre (BLC) database to empower the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises/Black Economic Empowerment (SMME/BEE) sector in Phalaborwa and surrounds, there were no BEE companies in the area.
The BLC provided mentoring and training to these companies to help foster the competitive capacity BEE companies needed when providing the three local sponsoring companies with goods and services. When the BLC closed down in 2004, there were 215 BEE companies located in the Phalaborwa region.
Since 1998, there has been an ever increasing drive by Palabora to increase the number of local BEE companies in its supply chain. Our procurement spend with BEE companies has ranged from a historical 28% to the present 44+% of total spend in market segments allocated for BEE companies. Indeed, Palabora has made a significant contribution to the local economy, and the company's support for local BEE companies has helped these suppliers to grow and compete successfully with outside suppliers.
As at the end of February 2012, Palabora's BBBEE spend amounted to 44,6%, at R2 171 million compared to 51,99% and R2 024 million for the same period in 2011.