Our pillars


We are committed to providing a safe workplace where our employees can thrive. In the pursuit of zero harm, we focus on organisational safety culture maturity, physical and psychological well-being, promote equality, diversity and professional development at every level.

Related sustainability principles

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Optimising socio-economic benefit

Related UN SDGs

We completed our first rolling three-year UN SDG cycle in 2023, and have embedded the adopted goals in our management of safety, health, well-being and related employee and community matters.

The following UN SDGs relate to our employees pillar:


Refer to our Annual Report and Accounts 2023 for further details on employee engagement, remuneration matters and our integration of
UN SDGs into business operations.

Snapshot of our performance

  • Zero fatalities
    (2022: zero)
  • Letšeng retained ISO 45001
    certification (Occupational Health and Safety Management)
  • Lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR):
    (2022: 0.13)
  • 61 324
    proactive safety management actions
    (2022: 72 697)
  • Lowest recorded all injury frequency rate (AIFR): 0.67
    (2022: 0.70)
  • US$52.9 million spent
    on employee remuneration and benefits
    (2022: US$45.3 million)

Our goals

  • Further advance the organisational safety culture in pursuit of zero harm.
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for engagement with employees through employee engagement forums.
  • Drive diversity and inclusion.

Our future

  • Focus on training and skills development through technologically appropriate platforms.
  • Further develop our employee value proposition.

Material Matters

Our context

Our operations are located in remote areas, this contributes to our unique operating environment and occupational health and safety challenges. To embed a zero-harm culture, we integrate specialist knowledge, rigorous planning and exceptional leadership into our health and safety risk management system.

Our approach

We believe every injury is preventable, and we are guided by a culture of zero harm – driven by every employee and advocated by each leader. We classify a safety incident hased on its potential for impact on people and/or property. Every safety incident, including near misses, must he reported and appropriately investigated, regardless of whether it resulted in injury or damage to property, to identify and implement effective corrective actions and prevent future incidents.

Health and safety strategy and safety culture maturity journey – 2021 to 2023

Letšeng partnered with an independent expert in 2022 to assess the maturity of the organisational safety culture (as defined by the Bradley Curve) as the foundation of our focused safety performance improvement strategy at Letšeng. To further embed a culture of zern harm in eaich Letšeng employee, our strategy strives to mature our safety culture along the Bradley curve.

The Bradley curve measures four orginisational safety culture maturity phases: reactive, dependent, independent and interdependent. As an organisation moves from reactive to interdependent, it progresses from externally motivated compliance to internally motivated, team-driven commitment. The understanding of the operation specific safety culture informed how the strategy was implemented and assisted us in identifying the most meaningful levers for improvement. Three key mechanisms for improvement were identified: leadership visibility and accountability, safety compliance and critical control management.

Leadership visibility and accountability

Our management-specific leading indicator programme focused on risk identification, effective engagement with teams and avoiding industrial blindness. Leadership at Letšeng participated in a six-week coaching programme with an independent safety expert. Embedding the behaviours of effective safety leadership in the management team proved to be a successful strategy to increase leadership visibility in terms of safety and to raise safety standard practices.

Safety compliance

Our life-saving rules are a cornerstone of our safety and risk management framework, and non-compliance with these critical safety parameters is not tolerated. To ensure all employees and contractors are aware of the life-saving rules and zero tolerance approach, these rules were relaunched in 2023 along with a new Just Culture Model. The Just Culture Model was developed to standardise the process for driving accountability and consequence for safety non-compliance, and is applicable to all employees, contractors and sub-contractors.

Critical control management

In 2022, key management completed a critical control management programme following which a critical control strategy was designed for the Letšeng mine. The critical control strategy was implemented in a phased approach, focusing on the areas and procedures carrying the highest risk for incident or injury. We conduct interim assessments to monitor Letšeng's progress in adopting and implementing the critical control management strategy and amend our occupational health and safety systems accordingly.

Our performance

  • We recorded zero fatalities (2022: zero).
  • Our RSF and conveyor belt management contractor was recognised for achieving 12 LTl-free years, and our mining contractor achieved three LTl-free years.
  • Our Group AJFR was 0.67 (2022: 0.70), the lowest recorded to date.
  • We recorded two LTls across the Group during 2023 (2022: three), resulting in a Group-wide LTIFR of 0.10 (2022: 0.13).
  • We recorded one restricted work injury across the Group during 2023 (2022: zero).
  • Letšeng retained its ISO 45001 certification.

Our context

Mining skills shortages, exacerbated by Letšeng's remote location, elevate our determination to be an employer of choice. Gem Diamonds invests considerable resources in attracting and retaining skilled and experienced talent with an enhanced employee value proposition (EVP).

Our approach

Our strength is in our people. To attract and retain talented people, we continually seek to understand and address employee needs, offer market-related remuneration, cultivate a supportive working environment and offer career development opportunities.

Employee value proposition

The Board's continual EVP reviews in 2023 included an examination of the Group's recruitment policies on localisation, diversity, equity and inclusion, and remuneration. By considering employee needs beyond fair and equitable remuneration, Letšeng remains an employer of choice in Lesotho with a consistently low turnover rate.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Diversity of our workforce is a continued focus area for the Group. The Group's measures to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion include targeted communication and awareness campaigns, female-focused recruitment and assessments to eliminate any harriers to promotion, retention and advancement of women in the workplace. As a result, representation of women in senior management roles increased from 38% in 2022 to 43% in 2023.


Competitive remuneration plays a significant role in attracting and retaining qualified people. In 2023, the Board's review of the Group's compensation and benefits programmes found that remuneration remains market-related without discrimination based on race or gender, and that our lowest-graded employees are remunerated above the host country's minimum wage. As Lesotho and Botswana do not prescribe a minimum wage for the mining sector, we use the construction industry wage guidelines as the standard. We also ensure that minimum requirements for remuneration are stipulated in our labour contracts. Our competitive remuneration policy plays a significant role in attracting and retaining qualified people.

None (2022: none) of the Letšeng workforce received minimum wage remuneration in 2023. The lowest-graded permanent employees at Letšeng received 60% (2022: 11 %) ahove the construction sector's minimum wage. Other Group employees were also remunerated above the minimum wage and in line with market-related rates.

We provide benefits and incentives over and above basic remuneration to attract and retain top talent. Incentives include performance-based bonuses and long-term share awards.

The Board and subsidiary Committees review remuneration policies, skills and succession planning. We also include non-financial metrics in employee and leadership scorecards in line with our sustainability goals.

Refer to the Remuneration Report in our Annual Report and Accounts 2023 for more information.

100% (2022: 100%) of Letšeng's permanent employees subscribe to the mandatory company retirement provision scheme. Letšeng contributes 7.5% (2022: 7.5%) of employees' annual salaries to this scheme, and employees contribute the equivalent. Fixed-term contract employees, not eligible for this benefit, receive a fixed-term contract allowance of 20% (2022: 20%) of their basic salaries. Ghaghoo employees receive a statutory gratuity payment upon contract completion – equal to 15% (2022: 15%) of the basic monthly salary for each month of employment.

South Africa and London-based employees are remunerated on a cost-to-company basis, and choose their own retirement schemes and contributions. At our Belgian operations, employees contribute 25% (2022: 25%) of their salaries to a mandatory government retirement scheme.

Our performance

  • Our workforce comprised 298 (2022: 362) permanent employees and 999 (2022: 1 172) contractors at year end.
  • The average number of permanent employees was 313 (2022: 371).
  • The average number of contractors was 1 088 (2022: 1 241).
  • We spent US$52.9 million (2022: US$45.3 million) on employee wages, benefits and incentives.
  • The Group-wide absenteeism rate was 1.1 days (2022: 1.3 days) per person.
  • Our Group-wide voluntary staff turnover was 8.0% (2022: 4.8%).
  • We recorded zero (2022: zero) discrimination cases.
Employee demographics%1 Gender Localisation Age
2023 Male % Female % Local
<30 % 31-50 % >50 %
Board3 71 29 43 0 0 100
Senior management 57 43 86 0 57 43
Middle management 78 22 98 5 82 13
Total 77 23 99 5 78 17
2022 Male % Female % Local
<30 % 31-50 % >50 %
Board 71 29 43 0 0 100
Senior management 62 38 92 0 57 46
Middle management 78 22 98 5 83 12
Total 78 22 98 7 79 14
1 The employee demographics include own and contractor employees below senior management.
2 The proportion of employees hired from the local region within which the Company operates.
3 Board representation refers to the Gem Diamonds Limited Board in the UK. All other demographics refer to Group-wide operations.

Our context

We recruit people with specialist skills, as required, and empower our employees to advance their careers through learning and development opportunities.

Our approach

Training and development

Our focused succession planning and investment in employee training and development programmes addresses skills shortages within the mining industry. Various internal and external programmes and a well-established mentorship culture provide clear development plans that incorporate key competencies. Annual performance reviews monitor these plans to ensure our people are engaged and meet business objectives.

On-the-job and management training continued throughout the year to address gaps in standard development pathways. Lessons learned will inform future development programmes so that we allocate resources efficiently and employees can manage their development pathways. During 2023, senior management training was halted in favour of mentorship and coaching programmes while the organisational right-sizing took place.

Succession planning

We continue to ensure that appropriate succession planning, aligned with skills and resource allocation, is integrated with the mine plan and holistically considered by the Board.

Internship programme

Established in 2009, our internship programme at Letšeng offers practical field experience for graduates. To date, we have provided internships for 47 beneficiaries of our scholarship programme and offered permanent employment to 41% of these interns.

Our performance

  • Senior management training: 3 hours (2022: 816 hours)
  • Middle management training: 1 336 hours (2022: 4 848 hours)
  • Non-management training: 13 457 hours (2022: 19 264 hours)
  • Employee career reviews: overall 11% (2022: 9%) of employees – 16% female (2022: 16%) and 9% male (2022: 10%)

Our context

Optimal employee health and wellness boosts morale, reduces absenteeism and enhances productivity. Our on-site clinics provide emergency, occupational and primary healthcare to our employees, and we facilitate tailored counselling and engagement programmes that help employees prioritise well-being.

Our approach

We strive to provide an environment that actively encourages and supports employee well-being and healthy lifestyles. Effective safety policies and procedures reduce risks, strengthen stakeholder relationships and safeguard the Group’s social licence to operate. As outlined in our holistic Group Health and Safety Policy, our stakeholder-inclusive approach is guided by internal risk and hazard mitigation measures.

All employees undergo a complete medical examination at induction and exit to ensure risk management and compliance. Our extended physical and mental health programme, including financial and other wellness services with trained counsellors, helps employees cope with life’s challenges within and beyond the workplace.

Our performance

  • Letšeng was recertified as compliant with the ISO 45001 occupational health and safety management standard.
  • We recorded zero (2022: zero) occupational radiation over-exposure cases in 2023.
  • Occupational health cases increased to 460 (2022: 430).
  • We conducted 6 391 serious disease prevention and management interventions (2022: 3 617).

Our context

We seek to consistently improve employee relations by maintaining communication channels and structures that effectively address employees’ needs and challenges.

Our approach

Frequent engagement is critical to cultivate a collaborative working environment that facilitates employee development and skills retention. Our evolving approach aligns with best practice and our unique circumstances.

We aim to address grievances swiftly through proactive engagement with our employees and their elected representatives. Our management team frequently engages with employees through multiple forums, including daily toolbox talks, weekly visible felt leadership visits, town hall meetings and newsletters.

We uphold freedom of association and recognise our employees’ rights to join unions and other collective bargaining organisations. Established policies and procedures – based on our change management system and host country legislation – guide our operations; in this way, we ensure our employees are notified of significant or material changes to operations or working environments.

Employee Engagement Committee

Employee representatives refer issues to our Employee Engagement Committee, which meets throughout the year and is chaired by Mazvi Maharasoa, a non-Executive Director. Employee representatives contribute mine-wide issues to the agenda beforehand, and feedback of discussions are presented to the Board. The Board monitors actions to address identified issues.

Discussion topics include CSRI successes, company events, environmental news, and a popular employee profile series that provides a new perspective on co-workers. Some of the content can be shared via social media. Employees are also introduced to international teams to reinforce the sense of working in a multinational organisation with a vibrant value chain.

Our performance

  • We recorded zero (2022: zero) strikes or lockouts during the year.