Employee and community health

Healthy workplaces, healthy employees and healthy communities

Providing healthy workplaces and maintaining the health and wellbeing of employees and communities are in line with our values and key in sustaining our business.

During 2019, we reviewed our health strategy to ensure the discipline is able to optimally play its role in securing and maintaining our licence to operate. Work plans were created to better integrate health into the business, and to facilitate line management ownership of employee and community health. This not only drives productivity and improves employee wellbeing, but increases the importance of long-term risk management to the business.

Given the diversity of the countries in which we operate, we deal with a range of complex health issues. These include a variety of diseases as well as the differing social and health systems of our host countries. In this context we ensure, at the very minimum, that our activities cause no harm to employees or community members. Ideally, though, our interventions will enhance employee and public health where possible. See <WWW> Malaria control programme, Ghana.

We educate around prevention and treatment of disease, and also do the work to prevent and treat communicable diseases, such as malaria, HIV and Ebola, and raise awareness around various priority health issues. Our operations and our communities are interdependent, so our engagements with stakeholders are a crucial part in understanding the broader ecosystems in which we operate, supplemented by research where necessary.

We carry out health baseline studies because the impact of a mine on the natural and social environment brings changes both positive and negative. In some instances, we see large influxes of people where previously there were few, potentially bringing issues relating to nutrition, overcrowding, poverty, sex work and an increased burden on existing health infrastructure. At the same time, a more populous environment adds to the burden on water and sanitation and this, too, can alter disease profiles.

Of particular concern are non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and other life-style related conditions, which are the biggest health issues globally. Mental health is also an important risk worldwide and our operations are currently establishing systems to adequately assess this issue. In order to better address health issues, we are pursuing a preventative approach rather than a reactive one, and in line with that imperative have reviewed our strategic focus areas and our key performance indicators at our mines. “Predictive leading indicators” targeting reductions in occupational exposures, are now included to help us identify problem areas and address them proactively.

We have also established a remote formal training programme in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to address an acute shortage of local occupational hygiene specialists at our African operations. This programme was designed to develop professional occupational hygiene capacity with minimal staffing disruptions, while reducing over-reliance on expatriates. So far, four of the six participants undergoing training have completed their intermediate level qualifications as occupational hygiene technicians and are now only a step below professional/advanced level. This is an important initiative that dovetails with our strategic objective of developing scarce skills among locals in the countries in which we operate, thus contributing to our localisation objectives.

Occupational health hazard programmes designed to deal with occupational exposures such as airborne pollutants and noise will be introduced at our Obuasi mine in Ghana and at Geita in Tanzania as it moves underground. Our risk assessments have been expanded to include both occupational and non-occupational environments, while we use bowtie risk analysis – a risk evaluation method that can be used to analyse and demonstrate causal relationships in high-risk scenarios – to further prioritise and identify necessary critical controls. (Please see <SDR> 2015: Employees safety for an explanation on bowtie risk analysis.) We rely on good baseline risk assessment and continuous monitoring programmes to maintain healthy working environments.

The proposed sale of our South African assets will alter the health profile of the company as currently most of our occupational disease issues, such as silicosis (see case study) and noise-induced hearing loss, are found in our South African mines.

Our strategic focus is moving beyond “do no harm” to one underpinned by a desire to actively improve, where possible, the environments in which we operate. We manage risk inside and outside the mine fence. As a company we understand the need to demonstrate to communities how we protect and promote their health and wellbeing. Through evidence-based strategies, we can effect long-lasting and meaningful change and improvements.

We work to educate employees and communities, and to control and treat malaria in all our Continental African sites. We have made significant progress across our operations in reducing the number of malaria cases particularly through indoor residual spraying. Last year, however, at Siguiri in Guinea and Geita in Tanzania, we faced some challenges in the roll out of these programmes. This led to a disruption in the spraying cycle, which ordinarily is completed prior to the rainy season, and as a result we have seen a rise in malaria cases at Siguiri and Geita. The delay to the spraying schedule has been addressed and we are hopeful cases of malaria will again begin to fall.

At Obuasi the infection rate continues to decline. We are part of a public-private partnership with the government of Ghana and The Global Fund* to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and are carrying out an integrated malaria control programme that includes information and awareness campaigns, indoor residual spraying, chemoprophylaxis for high-risk people, and early diagnosis and treatment. All these actions are underpinned by comprehensive surveillance and the monitoring of key indicators to demonstrate positive impact.

On the recommendation of the government of Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti Ghana has been a principal recipient of Global Fund financial awards. It has replicated the control model to 16 districts across Ghana in the Upper West and Upper East, some of which are far from our mines. To do this we have established a subsidiary company, AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Malaria Control Limited, to administer these donor funds.

We have been successful because, from the outset, we introduced a continuous monitoring process, which has been able to demonstrate the success of the project. Since the programme started over 10 years ago, we have seen a 90% reduction in malaria cases at the mine hospital and a decrease in absenteeism caused by malaria. AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Malaria Control Limited sprays over a million structures annually, protecting approximately a million people from malaria, and creates about 1,300 local temporary jobs every year.


Who are we:

  • The Health Discipline is a strategic business partner, enabling responsible development of gold in a sustainable manner
  • We comprise a diverse set of health competencies to manage health risks
  • These include Emergency Medical Response, Occupational Hygiene, Occupational Medicine, Primary Health & Wellness, and Community Health

We will focus on:

  • Leadership and Line ownership to drive execution
  • People who are capable and responsive
  • Processes that facilitate standardisation and consistency
  • Risk management to enable business
and integrating
health into business
enable responsible
and sustainable
Proactive Risk management – clear understanding of baseline and ongoing and prediction of internal and external risk and effective management using critical control management
Capable and responsive people – competent people adequately supported to do their work
Common operating model – global standards that allow for local customization and relevance
Information and knowledge management – The right information is appropriately captured, modelled, shared and used to improve business decision making
Indicator 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
New cases of silicosis (Number of cases)
Continental Africa00000
South Africa1947107131140
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) (Number of employees)
Group 203913214768
Americas 7377720
Continental Africa11044
South Africa1235547164
Greenfields Exploration00000
All Occupational Disease Frequency Rate (AODFR) (per million hours worked)
Continental Africa0.
South Africa4.8110.1812.3911.8012.11
Greenfields Exploration00000
New cases of occupational TB (Number of cases)
South Africa4388255285315
Occupational TB incidence rate (per million hours worked)
South Africa0.50.741.011.021.26
New cases of Malaria (Number of cases)
Malaria Lost Time Frequence Rate (per million hours worked)

Prioritised SDG

  • 3.3. By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.

  • 3.4. By 2030, reduce by one third, premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.

  • 3.5. Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.

  • 3.8. Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines for all.

  • 3.9. By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.

  • 3.d. Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.