Social responsibility is a fundamental part of our business and we have commitments to the local communities at each of our mines. In particular, we support projects which our communities can sustain long after our mines are gone.
We believe that engaging effectively with local communities is as important to us as any part of our business, since it helps protect and maintain our social license to operate. We understand that mining operations can have both positive and negative impacts on local communities, and hence we seek to maximise positive impacts through our charity and sponsorship initiatives and mitigate negative impacts through constructively engaging with communities. We continuously strive to improve our understanding the cultures, priorities, and concerns of local communities, in order to find the most effective ways of dealing with issues and gaining trust.
We invest in a number of social initiatives and community development programmes across our operations. These include the building and on-going support of schools and health clinics, road repairs and infrastructure construction, clean water supply, workforce support programmes, assistance to local farmers, and a range of supportive measures for many of the more vulnerable people in the societies where we operate.
In 2014, we adopted corporate Community Relation Policy that outlines our commitment to building and maintaining relationships of mutual respect and trust in each country where we operate.
The key areas
Education, health and economic empowerment are the three key focus areas on which we concentrate our main community engagement activities.
- Education: our education-focused activities are always in line with the individual national policies of the countries involved. They include the building and renovation of schools, provision of education supply and construction of libraries, providing scholarships for students, organization of social and cultural programmes.
- Health: we are providing local populations with health support, including new clinics and health centres, improved medical equipment, ambulance and sanitation facilities sporting programmes. We are also focused on the specific regional needs of African mines, such as active support of anti-malaria programme or Ebola precautionary measures.
- Economic empowerment: we are prepared to provide help to local communities when they face particular needs, such as distribution of financial support or food supplies. We also promote opportunities for local people to launch and manage successful enterprises and support farming and ranching. It is important that wherever possible we employ local people at all levels of our operations.
US$2.0 million - total contribution to local communities in 2016.
US$0.8 million invested in communities’ relations programmes in 2016.
US$0.7 million invested in community developing projects at African mines in 2016
Successful resettlement of the new Bouly mine communities in Burkina Faso
The overall Bouly resettlement budget exceeded US$10 million, which included new houses and infrastructure construction, compensation paid to local communities, as well as livelihood restoration programmes.
Three long-term partnership agreements were signed between Nordgold and local authorities of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) to address needs of indigenous people
Partnership Agreement has been signed for 2014 and 2015 between the Lefa mine, UNICEF, local authorities and communities
The Company’s African mines located in Burkina Faso and the Republic of Guinea currently operate in difficult economic and social circumstances. Such challenges require a synergy of action, by strengthening the capacities of those involved in the field and coordinating programmes with effective monitoring via dynamic partnerships and the mobilisation of resources, in a collective effort which includes stakeholders at all levels.
Nordgold’s community developing programmes implemented in African countries are focused mainly on helping local communities to meet their basic life needs such as health care and access to clean water. Hence, special attention is paid to programmes aimed at increasing the well-being and educational level of the local population. We also help local people deal with extreme natural events, which impact their livelihood, such as floods and poor yield from crops, Ebola virus disease.
In order to manage continuous dialogue with local communities in Africa, we have set up special Community Committees, which include mines employees from Community Relations team and representatives from each village and local authority. The regular work of these teams includes regulation and management of complaints from communities, mandatory monitoring of the efficiency of all implemented projects, involving communities into developing future plans.
In 2016, Nordgold investments in community development programmes in Africa amounted to US$708 thousand and included social programmes and initiatives of three African mines: Bissa, Taparko, and Lefa. Nordgold also invested more than US$10 million to relocate the new Bouly mine communities in Burkina Faso.
2016 Case Studies
Bissa mine in Burkina Faso
In 2016, Bissa contributed to improving the health system – primarily for the construction of a maternity unit, buying an ambulance for the Sabce Medical Centre and medical equipment for three medical centres. In addition, the Group invested in projects to improve economic environment such as micro-credit project, donation of chemical fertilser and ploughing of fields. The mine also organised training programmes for local communitites.
Training programmes for youth
In 2016, Bissa organised a truck’s driver training programme for 136 young men and women from the community, training programme for men and women to become mechanics, electricianssoap and textile producers. We also constructed and upgraded the local schools and donated supplies and furniture for the schools in Sabce, Manéand Guibare.
Taparko mine in Burkina Faso
Taparko mine supported the economic development of local communities. Ensuring access to safe water remained one of the priorities: the mine built and repaired boreholes for the villages around Taparko. The mine also allocated budget to health and safety programmes.
Developing medical infrastructure
Taparko mine continued to strengthen and develop the local medical infrastructure with modernisation of the health centre of Taparko by refurbishing the dispensary, building a new pharmacy and donating a new medical refrigerator. In addition, the mine ordered a new ambulance for the Taparko’s hospital.
Fresh water supply
In 2016, Taparko implemented a number of projects to improve access to safe and clean drinking water for local communities. The mine built two new boreholes for the village of Taparko that significantly decreased the distance villagers have to travel to get drinking water, and thus has made their everyday lives easier. Also, Nordgold undertook significant repairs to 12 boreholes.
Lefa mine in Guinea
Lefa mine provided support to various projects in education and cultural activity: for example, training of about 20 young people in the Siguirini and Kankan training centre. Significant financing was spent on improving the health system, predominantly the fight against Ebola).
Training young people
In 2016, Lefa launched a project to train young people in the nearby Siguirini community, which aims to help young people who graduated from local schools to learn trades in the vocational training centres of the Siguiri and Kankan towns. This project supports 20 young people from different villages. The youths are trained in a number of trades of their choice: they can be trained as a qualified electricians, mechanics, or get skills in masonry, plumbing, boiler making, agriculture or cattle breeding. The training period ranges from 1 to 3 years. This project is the first of this kind in the mining company in Guinea. As it addresses the issue of high unemployment rate, it has strong support of the local government and the community at large. Another educational supporting programme provided 3,374 pupils from the communities close to our operations with school supplies in 2016–2017 school year. In addition, Lefa continued to pay an incentive part of salary to teachers in schools of Siguirini and Banora. In 2016, we increased the number of teachers to 70 compared to 31 in 2015. This programme contributes to high quality of education for local children and teenagers.
When developing new projects, Nordgold makes every effort to avoid the resettlement of communities. However, sometimes this cannot be avoided, and then the Group seeks to minimise the adverse social and economic impacts of land acquisition or restrictions on land use by compensating for the loss of assets at replacement cost. We also introduce support measures and ensure that consented resettlement activities are carried out with full consultation and the informed participation of those affected. Since the involuntary displacement of communities is not explicitly covered by national legislation in the countries where we operate, the Group endeavours to align its resettlement activities with international best practice.
When the Bissa mine was developed in 2011 two villages were successfully relocated – Bissa and Yimiougou with total amount of 2050 people resettled.
In 2015, the Company instigated significant community engagement work in preparation for the resettlement of communities as a result of Nordgold new Bouly development project. The implementation of the Bouly project will impact 11 villages in 2 provinces – Sanmatenga and Bam. As well as creating a number of challenges for local communities, the project’s implementation will bring discernible benefits. Activities related to the three development phases of the project – construction, operation, and closure – will offer employment for local residents, create business opportunities for local suppliers, boost the socio-economic prospects of the region, and contribute to both regional and state budgets. These opportunities may not meet all expectations. Nevertheless their importance in terms of impacts on employment and the economy are significant.
In Russia and Kazakhstan
In Russia and Kazakhstan, Nordgold prioritises programmes aimed at developing regions of operation. Moreover, as most of the Group’s mines are located far from residential areas, our social activities are not related to any particular city or town, but are focused on the region as a whole. The Group’s regional charity activities are primarily based on assessing the social needs of the areas where we operate, designing and executing programmes that contribute to addressing these needs.
Nordgold has a long record of carrying out charity and sponsorship initiatives in Russia and Kazakhstan, and for several years has been implementing a number of well-established and well-known local community programmes aimed at supporting children from low-income families. As well ascontinuing established initiatives, Nordgold endeavours to identify new ways to support local communities and to apply new methods of engagement. Thus in 2016 Buryatzoloto held social projects contests in the far-distant Muisky and Okinsky regions for the second year, aimed at stimulating the activity of social and cultural organisations in the districts and supporting initiatives to address social issues within the region.
For many years the focus of the Suzdal mine (Kazakhstan) charity was supporting children in difficult life situations, including help to children in local orphanages. Suzdal provided assistance to several medical and educational kids’ institutions, orphan houses in the form of household appliances, winter clothing and footwear, creative kits, toys, strollers, sports equipment, sports uniforms and children's books.
2015 Case Studies
Berezitovy mine in Russia
For the fifth successive year the Berezitovy mine has implemented the Social Bell project in the Skovorodinsky District; and more than 500 children have already received assistance since the start of the initiative.The project entails three parties — business, government, and society — working together to achieve positive results. In 2016 the remotely located Urusha village was covered by the project, which involved a group of doctors travelling to observe children who had no possibility to go to the medical centres because of the far distance and difficulties involved. The doctors from leading medical institutions examined children from low-income families, following the results of which several children were sent to regional hospitals in Blagoveschensk at Nordgold’s expense. In addition, the Group provided the children from disadvantaged families with complete sets of winter clothing.
The Governor's schoolbag
For several years Berezitovy has helped children from large, low-income and troubled families in the Skovorodinsky District to prepare for school by sponsoring an initiative called the “Governor’s Schoolbag to a First Grader”. In 2016 the mine donated money for the purchase of schoolbags and school supplies in order to prevent situations where a child cannot attend school due to not having the most basic items.
Neryungri mine in Russia
Support for local communities under socio-economic agreements
In 2013, Neryungri signed long-term socio-economic cooperation agreements with the administration of the Olekminsky municipal district, the Tiansky municipality administration, and the indigenous community Tian. The donation in 2016 was used to fund various initiatives including buying food and fuel for herdsmen, to build houses for young specialists in Tian, Delgey, Uritskoye villages, to build and repair streets, parks, sidewalks, playgrounds, and to build a Markhin school and a nursery etc.
Buryatzoloto in Russia
Social projects contests
In 2016, Buryatzoloto for the second year held the social projects contests in the Muisky and Okinsky districts, the most remote districts of the Buryat Republic. This initiative was supported by the Republic’s authorities, as well as the local regional administration. The contest was run with the help of local NGOs. The main goal of the competition was to increase social and cultural activity in the districts and to support initiatives aimed at addressing social issues in the region.
Another purpose of the initiative was to teach local social and cultural organisations to properly file grant applications and to present projects well. These skills will allow the organisations to successfully enter various competitions. Nordgold, together with the partner NGOs, organised and held a number of related seminars on project management for local organisations before the project initiation.
Sponsorship of festive prayer broadcast
In 2016, Buryatzoloto continued to sponsor the broadcast of festive prayers in Involginsky Datsan, which is the centre of Russia’s traditional Buddhist Sangha. In the Buddhist tradition, these festive prayers have a great importance. As a result of the sponsorship, all residents of the district, including our employees, had an opportunity to hear it.
Suzdal mine in Kazakhstan
Social support to vulnerable groups
The Suzdal mine supports its pensioners, a specialised child-care centre in the town of Semey, an orphanage, and the students of the nearby Znamenka village. Also, and the mine supports the local orphans with making monthly payments to their bank accounts so that they can buy new accommodation when they are 18 years old. In 2016, the mine continued to provide support to the same groups of beneficiaries. Also in 2016, in accordance with the Memorandum of Mutual Cooperation to Foster Favourable Social Conditions between Suzdal and Semey Akimat, Nordgold invested funds to improve local infrastructure.