When Kinross acquired Red Back Mining in 2010, there were community investment programs already in place at both the Chirano mine in Ghana, and the Tasiast mine in Mauritania. By implementing Kinross’ SRP standard at these sites, we have been engaging with local stakeholders to identify opportunities to partner with government, communities and NGOs to implement programs that build on the economic benefits generated by our mining activities and contribute to long-term socio-economic development. Our initiatives at Chirano focus on education, health and sanitation, infrastructure and cultural activities. At Tasiast, we are focusing on education and job training, health care and health infrastructure and sports.
Chirano has made significant contributions to the local communities, including construction of schools, water bores, roads, and common facilities. Many of these programs date back to an agreement reached with the communities at the time of mine construction, and have been fully implemented. With those measures complete, we are now reaching out to local stakeholders to develop a Corporate Social Responsibility Agreement that will outline objectives, plans, and actions going forward. Meanwhile, some of the initiatives currently underway include:
- Invested approximately $5.6 million in a malaria control program since 2009. Malaria is the No. 1 killer of children and pregnant women in Africa. By the end of 2011, the incidence rate of malaria in the beneficiary communities was reduced by 53%, and the incidence rate of malaria cases in Chirano’s workforce was reduced by 81%. To learn more, see Case Study 6: The Chirano Malaria Control Program;
- Chirano has supported the Tano Suraw Agribusiness Growth Initiative (TAGI), a community-based integrated agriculture and rural economic enhancement project. A significant majority of individuals within the mine’s footprint are small-scale farmers, and TAGI aims to increase agricultural yields (and, hence, incomes) through targeting training, access to an input credit facility, micro-irrigation, and linkages to markets. TAGI aims to reach 1,500 farmers over the term of the project;
- Initiated a computer program at six local schools, providing equipment, training and maintenance support. We provided much-needed computer labs at three schools and recruited an IT specialist to manage the labs;
- Expanded our potable water and sanitation program to the communities in the catchment area of the mine. Potable water, aimed at improving the health of the community, is now provided to all of the communities within the footprint of the mine, including Sorano “A”, Anyinasie, Kwawkrom, Akoti, Etwebo, Paboase and Kwaninkrom;
- Connected the communities of Akoti and Etwebo to the national electricity grid. This electrification project has had a tremendous positive impact on the socio-economic quality of life, enabling people to watch television, listen to radio, and undertake various domestic and commercial activities;
- Constructed three school blocks for Akoti, Etwebo and Paboase. In addition to the school buildings, the mine has provided an allowance to teachers to conduct extra classes and improve the performance of pupils in the BECE examination;
- Provided infrastructure upgrades, including a new concrete bridge in Akasso to replace an old wooden bridge that was hampering vehicular traffic; and
- Provided infrastructure support for upgrades at Paboase-Ntrentreso and for roadwork in Chirano-Subri Nkwanta.
Kinross attended and supported a number of annual cultural festivals in the region near our Chirano operations.
Our Tasiast team is implementing a community investment program that is shifting its focus from an ad hoc to a strategic approach, while balancing the most urgent near-term needs of local residents with a long-term sustainable community investment strategy. Near-term and long-term initiatives include the following:
- Announced a $10-million investment over three years to develop a mining school in Mauritania. The goal of this project is to build long-term capacity in the mining industry to support the operations of Kinross and other mining companies. For more information on this project, see Case Study 4: Developing a Skilled Workforce in Mauritania;
- Committed $2.5 million to build and help equip a new Medical Emergency Centre in Mauritania. The emergency centre will provide much-needed additional health-care infrastructure for the country. It will serve the residents of Nouakchott (a city of approximately one million), as well as people from other parts of the country who largely depend on Nouakchott as a centre for health-care services and resources;
- Continued to sponsor 213 orphans at two local orphanages in Nouakchott. During 2010 and 2011, provided food, clothing and training to 133 of the children through our sponsorship of the Centre de Protection et Intégration Sociale des Enfants (CPISE). We also provide monetary support for the school education for 80 of the 213 children through the NGO Besma;
- Supported local communities during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by distributing 10 tons of food to 60 families in the village of Dawass, Imkebden and N’talve, all located within a radius of 30 kilometres from Tasiast. Each family in the village received rice, wheat flour, dates, milk and oil;
- Built water reservoirs and provided water supply near the mine at Dawass and Imkebden and in the communities of El Asmaa, Lebeidhat and Bergeimat;
- Built a health centre in the village of El Asmaa and equipped it in 2011; and
- Provided access to site medical facilities for emergency care and basic health care for populations living around the Tasiast mine.