Integrated report

Our performance

Intellectual capital

In 2019 our investment in our intellectual capital addressed our material intellectual capital issues in the short, medium and long term which are:

Technology governance that supports the achievement of our strategic objectives

The skills and competencies inherent in our human capital make it possible for us to build our stock of intellectual capital. They are also integral contributors to all six of the capitals on which our business is founded.

We focus on improving organisational processes through implementing relevant technologies, embedding learnings into the business and supporting a culture of innovation. Operating a mine requires a dynamic blend of skills and technologies and as such we actively support programmes that enhance and develop local talent, build a skills base in our local communities through our education support programme in local schools (see delivering on our SLP commitments) and our community skills development; and making bursaries and graduate development programmes available to both current and future potential employees.

Progress with the use of technology to drive safety, productivity, efficiencies and reduce costs in our operations

In our 2018 integrated report we indicated what future technologies we planned to introduce at Styldrift. During 2019 the following technologies were introduced:

  • The use of simulators for trackless operator training and skill improvement
  • Expanded underground fibre backbone and Wi-Fi network to enable expanding SCADA network into the production sections, live asset tracking (personnel and machines), live fleet operating telemetry and traffic management, live ventilation monitoring per production section
  • Introduction of more advanced planning and scheduling platform which will allow integration with the existing enterprise systems (SAP) and performance-based scenario planning
  • Automation and remote monitoring of additional processes once underground internet access is available including winders and dispatch control
  • Installation of gas monitoring devices on all drill rigs for ‘at the hole’ monitoring
  • 3D ground condition monitoring systems

Our ambitions for 2020

To support integrated thinking and improve the accessibility, reliability and accuracy of information in RBPlat our ambition in 2020 is to put in place a data integration strategy and start delivering on this strategy. Our other ambition for 2020 is to finalise an integrated cost-effective digital strategy for the RBPlat Group.

Exploring the use of machine learning and advanced analytics to increase efficiency, effectiveness and profitability

Our concentrator team has began using machine learning and advanced analytics in order to realise a benefit from the large amount of data the BRPM plant generates. Despite the amount of data available and a sophisticated control system, the operation was still experiencing variable performance. A proof of concept study, conducted during 2017/2018, demonstrated the potential to add value by increasing efficiency and effectiveness through machine learning and advanced analytics. Roll out of the project using this technology and methodology began in March 2019 with the project addressing value and cost drivers.

The cost drivers addressed were:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Maintenance
  • Production
  • Quality

The value drivers addressed very important soft issues including:

  • Facilitating team learning
  • Establishing a common understanding of issues
  • Change and systemic thinking

The project also addressed work engagement and motivation, which are both significant elements affecting performance.

  • Initiatives were launched to mitigate operational risk exposure using information retrieved via data analytics and, where appropriate, monitoring solutions were implemented to facilitate pro-active decision-making related to equipment condition, process behaviour and/or quality.

Technology at work at Styldrift

Using the 3D drilling simulator at the Styldrift training centre gives trainees the opportunity to learn in a virtual reality environment. The centre also has load haul dump (LHD) and bolter simulators available for training purposes
An incident being recorded on the SILO safety, health and environment (SHE) database at Styldrift
An artisan downloads engine management and operating data from a trackless machine for analysis
Section 2 North tipping point conveyor discharge
The Traka intelligent key issuing system increases security at Styldrift by only releasing a key to the driver allocated to a particular vehicle
The Styldrift control room where operators have a view of the entire mine, live video feed from key operating points as well as SCADA outputs

BRPM concentrator

The impact of some of the initiatives implemented during the project

An assessment of the primary mill trunnion lubrication flow was conducted, which revealed that the standby lubrication system will result in a mill trip should it be activated. Proactive corrective actions were implemented, which maintained the availability of the primary mill by preventing a potential 10 hours of downtime.

Deteriorating performance of the primary mill gearbox and the early warning low analytics provided meant that the gearbox could be replaced during planned shutdown preventing secondary damage to equipment and 10 hours of unplanned downtime.

Information from

data analysis

and modelling was used to optimise the crusher and increase its capacity

Data analysis and modelling provided information regarding the root cause of low availability and throughput on the tertiary crushers. The mechanical and control improvements made as a result of this information unlocked the crusher capacity and resulted in it being able to deliver higher tonnages.

Providing an early warning avoided

10 hours

of unplanned downtime

Further work is being conducted in the milling and flotation circuits with the aim of improving recovery and final concentrate grade management.

Using data analytics to predict and avoid incidents

Our safety inspection process at BRPM was revised during 2019. We are now using the integrated risk management assessment (IRMA) database to develop the checklist for the electronic capturing of hazards, the risks they present and the associated controls that need to be in place to keep people safe in a particular area.

From mid-2019 we used this revised inspection process on tablets to conduct safety inspections underground at BRPM. The data collected through these inspections is analysed in real time by our SILO safety, health and environment (SHE) database and used to identify the control that failed. The task of addressing the failure can be assigned to the correct person through this system. We have seen an improvement in our safety performance since this process was introduced.

By year-end 2019 the electronic SILO inspection reports, which are necessary to perform the safety inspections for all operations, were in place.

Data use at Styldrift

A data analytics implementation project is under way at Styldrift. Data is gathered from LHDs at the feeders and is transmitted to surface using the fibre communications infrastructure. The underlying causes of poor cycle times and true mean part failure times can be used to improve maintenance efficiencies and effectiveness. Rapid parts failures are linked to the behaviours or oversights causing them. Once these are identified changes can be made to eliminate sources of additional wear.

Equipment that consistently shows lower performance and reliability can be identified, and poor operator habits that lead to part damage can be addressed.

Personal tracking units are used to track the location and movements of personnel underground, enhance safety and assist in understanding the performance of the operation. Vehicle-based collision avoidance systems further enhance our safety by sounding audio-visual alarms and automatically slowing and eventually stopping equipment, as proximity and danger of contact with other vehicles or employees increases. Understanding the frequency, location, and timing of proximity alerts and the rate of automatic slow-downs and shut-downs further mitigates risk and increases production efficiency.

Data from an LHD is downloaded for analysis on a tablet in the workshop at Styldrift

Applying corporate governance to value creation

Our governance and leadership structures, our policies and processes, risk and sustainability management are all important elements of our intellectual capital as is our approach to remuneration, see the remuneration review). Our terms of reference and charters are regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to provide an appropriate governance structure. During 2019, in the interests of improved governance, the Board Charter and the terms of reference of the Remuneration and Nomination and Social and Ethics committees were reviewed and amended. The terms of reference of our Audit and Risk Committee are scheduled for review and amendment in 2020. RBPlat has put a new Supply Chain Policy in place, the impacts of which are discussed in the section on a fit for purpose supply chain. RBPlat's Limits of Authority Policy and our Gift Policy have also been reviewed, amended and approved by the Board. Information on our Board's governance of RBPlat, our leadership structures and our application of King IV™ is available in our board of directors of this report.

Information on the governance of our supply chain and addressing the task of embedding an ethical culture in RBPlat is provided in this section of our report. Detailed information on our governance is published in our Databook 2019, which is available on our website at

A fit for purpose supply chain

Protecting value through effective supply chain governance

During 2019 we drafted a new policy governing our supply chain, which improves the way we do things. One of the key purposes of these changes, which will affect both our own employees and end users, is to ensure we can preserve value by protecting our supply chain from the negative impacts of fraud and corruption. All our procedures and processes are being aligned with the new policy, which ensures that both policy and purchase violations are more visible and requires that these transgressions are reported to executive management.

During 2019 we also surveyed 68% of our major suppliers to gain an understanding of their commitment to adopting sustainable practices. The success of the engagement was measured according to the number of targeted suppliers that responded and the quality of their responses. We achieved a response rate of 74%, which we consider to be a success. The results will be used to inform further engagement with our supply chain on sustainability issues and opportunities for improving supply chain resilience. For example, it was revealed that only 10% of respondents have climate change policies, 62% have not conducted climate change risk assessments and 83% have experienced detrimental water-related impacts. These and other metrics have proved to be invaluable for identifying and understanding the climate-related risks and opportunities in our supply chain and consequently, our business.

Improving performance

During 2019 a major challenge for our supply chain has been the availability of production critical stock at Styldrift and the management of stock while the underground infrastructure and logistics were still being completed. During the fourth quarter of 2019 the infrastructure was completed and by year-end the underground stores were much better stocked and the requisite logistics were in place, allowing stock to move faster in and out from surface to underground.

There is still some surface supply chain infrastructure to be completed which will take place in 2020.

We plan to address supply chain performance management and empower our teams with tools that will equip them to better understand what is happening in their environment. To support our ability to deliver on the new policy changes we will be optimising our structures and benchmarking ourselves against similar organisations. We will also be introducing business intelligence tools to improve our supply chain performance and contribute to the achievement of our strategic objective of reducing unit costs, which is key to the creation of stakeholder value.

Having made good progress with our supply chain at Styldrift in the last quarter of 2019 we plan to complete all the outstanding supply chain infrastructure by early 2020 and ensure that the good work done in 2019, to stabilise the Styldrift supply chain, continues in 2020.

Entrenching an ethical culture

Entrenching an ethical culture through a focus on ethics and fraud prevention in 2019

  • proactive management of fraud and corruption risks including ongoing fraud risk assessments
  • communication regarding ethics and ethics-related policies to increase awareness of RBPlat's values and code of ethics and corrective action that will be taken if they are not adhered to
  • ethics Know your policy awareness competition
  • detailed review of hotline calls identified for review
  • improvements made to hotline reporting
  • corrective action to address policy transgressions
  • applied learnings from ethics survey
  • management, fraud and corruption workshops.

Going forward

  • ISO 37001: inclusion of anti-bribery management principles certification by 2022
  • repeat ethics climate survey to assess progress
  • updating of fraud risk register
  • biannual management of fraud and ethics workshops.
Protecting the integrity and reputation of our business

Addressing the threat that unethical behaviour poses to the integrity of our business and its reputation remains a key focus.

Our pre-employment screening verifies that the information provided by candidates is correct. We also require our employees to:

  • complete an annual declaration of interest and should an employee's circumstances change during the year they are required to complete a declaration covering this change
  • disclose annually any employment outside RBPlat
  • declare any relationships with RBPlat employees and suppliers.

We maintain a database of employees' declarations of interests and use data analytics to identify any areas of potential employee/supplier fraud risk.

Monitoring our fraud risks

We have established a fraud risk register through which we identify our main fraud and corruption risks. These are monitored monthly and reported on quarterly to the Audit and Risk and Social and Ethics committees.

Protecting value through our ethics management model
Fraud and corruption prevention and ethics management policy established
Establish a fraud and ethics reporting process and approach to investigation and corrective action
Monitor the fraud and corruption prevention and ethics management process, report results and improve the process
Select, develop and deploy preventive and detection fraud control activities
Perform fraud risk assessments and launch ethics awareness communication programme