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$1.8 million - total contribution to local communities in 2015.
US$0.7 million invested in communities’ relations programmes in 2015.
No reported Ebola cases among the Lefa mine employees in 2014-2015
US$0.5 million invested in community developing projects at African mines in 2015
Ongoing resettlement of the Bouly project communities in Burkina Faso
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 2015, Nordgold investments in community development programmes in Africa amounted to US$521 thousand and included social programmes and initiatives of three African mines: Bissa, Taparko, and Lefa.
2015 Case Studies
Bissa mine in Burkina Faso
In 2015, Bissa contributed to improving the health system – primarily for the construction of a maternity unit, providing local health centres with necessary equipment and medicines, and donating a motorcycle ambulance to Gougre village. In addition, the Group completed five additional wells for the local villages of Bissa, Bissighin, and Gougre, which will provide communities with access to clean water.
Employment opportunities for young people
In 2015, Bissa continued to implement an educational programme to teach young men and women from the Sabce and Kongoussi regions crafts and trades skills that will allow them to engage in commercial activity. The programme was initiated in 2014 and was aimed at providing opportunities for self-employment. In 2015- 59 young men and 30 women successfully completed the courses. We also provided programme participants with the equipment they need to begin their own business and to become economically independent. This included equipment for welding, mechanics, carpentry, electricity, plumbing, sewing, and weaving. We hope, along with local authority representative who attended the awards ceremony, that those who received the equipment will employ and attract to craft activities other young men and women from their villages.
Nordgold continued to collaborate with the Regional Union of Banks of Bam (Bam-URC) to stimulate the economic development of local communities by providing micro-credits. Various projects were submitted to the Bam-URC commission for consideration, including those related to opening a small cafe, livestock breeding, and the purchase and resale of grain. Several income-generating activities were selected by the commission, and the credits received have enabled a number of women to invest in pig rearing and to start their own businesses. The total sum of credits provided was US$13 thousand in 2015.
Drinking water and sanitation
During 2015 the Bissa mine completed five additional wells for the villages of Bissa, Bissighin Gougré. Following the completion of the wells, the regular monitoring was put in place to ensure the quality of groundwater through physicochemical and microbiological analyzes. The implementation of this initiative is crucial to the local communities as it not only contributes to their economic development but also provides sanitation and benefits their overall health and safety.
Taparko mine in Burkina Faso
Taparko mine supported health projects including the construction of 4 modern houses for Yalgo and Nagbingou’s hospital and the construction and renovation of the Yalgo maternity unit. We also helped to fund Bouroum, Taparko, Yalgo, and Nagbingou hospitals with medicine to fight malaria.
Developing medical infrastructure
Taparko mine continued to strengthen and develop the local medical infrastructure with construction of 2 modern houses for Yalgo’s hospital and of 2 for Nagbingou’s hospitals. Also in 2015 the mine invested into construction and repair of the maternity of Yalgo. Building of this infrastructure will ensure that the women in a maternity will be offered more convenience and comfort as well as the proper support and care after child delivering.
Fresh water supply
Taparko mine implemented a number of projects to improve access to safe and clean drinking water for local communities, building a new borehole for the village of Kario that significantly decreased the distance villagers have to travel to get drinking water, and thus has made their everyday lives easier. In Taparko, a number of boreholes had been degraded due to a lack of maintenance negatively affecting the water supply. In order to rectify this, Nordgold undertook significant repairs to12 boreholes.
Fight against malaria
For the second year in a row, Nordgold made a significant donation to hospital centres in Yalgo, Taparko, Bouroum, and Nagbingou of medicines to fight malaria. This took place at the beginning of the rainy season, when the disease is at its most severe. Under the initiative aid was provided to 500 people (including pregnant women, children up to five years old, and other vulnerable groups). According to the High Commissioner of the province, "as a result of this initiative the malaria mortality rate fell".
Lefa mine in Guinea
Lefa mine provided support to various projects in education and cultural activity: for example, improving the living conditions of teachers by granting them cash bonuses and food subsidies. Significant financing was spent on improving the health system, predominantly the fight against Ebola).
Partnership Agreement with UNICEF and Local Communities
In 2015, Nordgold continued to fulfil its obligations under the Partnership Agreement for two years, 2014 and 2015, between the Lefa mine, UNICEF, local authorities and communities from the Siguiri and Banora districts. The partnership aimed to create synergies between the Rural Communes of Banora and Siguirini, UNICEF and Lefa mine to enhance poverty reduction programmes and to contribute to improving basic social services in both municipalities. The focus areas of the partnership were health, access to clean water, support for the socio-economic activities of young people and women, enhancing the quality of basic education, and child protection. Total funding for the partnership over two-years was US$520 thousand with all partners contribution.
In 2015, Lefa management continued to take preventive measures against the spread of Ebola: as dissemination of information and awareness raising; installing hand-washing stations; construction of isolation units; support for families that potentially came into contact with infected persons; application of health emergency measures; supporting national efforts. In December 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end of the Ebola virus epidemic in Guinea. Thankfully, no cases of disease among employees or the inhabitants of nearby villages were reported.
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
At Russian and Kazakhstan mines, charity programmes have been traditionally focused on social projects, such as education and upbringing of children and youth, social infrastructure development, support for the disabled and veterans, assistance to children from socially disadvantaged and low-income families. Every year each Russian mine and Suzdal mine in Kazakhstan supports the World War II veterans of the region not only with the Victory Day congratulations, but also in an every-day life, especially for those who are single.
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 2015 Buryatzoloto held piloted social projects’ contests in the far-distant Muisky and Okinsky regions, 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
Aprelkovo mine in Russia
Development of rural areas
Rural areas located near mines receive significant financial support from the Group to improve the infrastructure of settlements. Every year the Aprelkovo mine provides substantial material assistance to the Mirsanovo rural settlement. Over the years the enterprise has been a patron of the settlement, contributing to its socio-economic development. In 2015 the Aprelkovo mine acted as lead partner in a project to construct recreational facilities in nearest Mirsanovo village, and covered a significant part of costs related to the project’s implementation. The fact that the mine was investing in the project enabled the local authority to access additional federal financial support. The construction of the new recreational facilities will enable the local community to spend their leisure time on landscaped grounds equipped with sports facilities, children’s playgrounds, and small classically designed buildings.
Financial support for fire victims
Steppe fires in the Trans-Baikal territory and the Republic of Khakassia destroyed a considerable number of houses in the Spring of 2015, making many people homeless. The victims included three employees of the Aprelkovo and Neryungri mines. Nordgold supported them personally and donated to the local authority of Casanova village (in the Shilkinskoe District of the Zabaikalsk Region), where 18 houses were destroyed and 83 people were made homeless. Staff at Neryungri and Aprelkovo mines also launched their own fundraising campaign to help their unfortunate colleagues.
Berezitovy mine in Russia
For the past five years the Berezitovy mine has sponsored geological Olympiads for pupils of the Amur Region, and the Group has become the patron of the Amur Region children's geological movement. Financial assistance from the mine covers costs related to various learning activities for pupils and teachers, organising training sessions, and travel costs for the regional team’s participation in the All-Russian Geology Olympiad. With this support the Company hopes to engage young people to the geology profession.
For the third successive year Berezitovy mine has implemented the Social Bell project in the Skovorodinsky District. The project entails three parties – business, government, and society – working together to achieve positive results. In 2015 four remote settlements in Amur Region were 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 12 children were sent to regional hospitals in Blagoveschensk at Nordgold’s expense. In addition, the Group provided 90 children with complete sets of winter clothing. For implementing the Social Bell project, in the reporting year Nordgold was awarded the diploma “For Contributing to Charity and Initiating a Project” as part of the Russian annual competition “Corporate Philanthropy Leaders: 2015” conducted by Donors’ Forum, PWC, Vedomosti.
Financial assistance to purchase equipment for a children's sensory room
As part of a charity initiative called "In the Name of Childhood – Possibilities Without Borders", Berezitovy has helped to equip a children's interactive sensory room in the city of Skovorodino in the Amur Region. Thanks to this initiative, children with disabilities and their family members can get needed psychological support. The sensory room equipment enables children with disabilities to learn more about the outside world, and to see and experience all its shapes, sounds, colours, and smells.
The Governor's schoolbag
For several years Berezitovy has helped children from large, low-income and troubled families in the Skovorodinsky Region to prepare for school by participating in an initiative called the "Governor's Schoolbag to a First Grader", purchasing 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 to fund various initiates including buying food and fuel for herdsmen, to build a house for young specialists in Tian, and to build a Markhin school etc.
Buryatzoloto in Russia
Social projects’ contests
In 2015, Buryatzoloto held a pilot 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. A local NGO, The Baikal Charity Fund of local community, ran the contest. 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 apply for various competitions. Hence the Group, together with The Baikal Charity Fund, organised and held a number of related seminars on project approach and management for local organisations before the project’s initiation.
Sponsorship of festive prayer broadcast
The mine sponsored the broadcast of festive prayers in Ivolginsky Datsan, which is the center 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
Suzdal supports its pensioners, a specialised child-care centre in the town of Semea, an orphanage, students of Znamenka village, and to orphans for the subsequent purchase of residential property. Also in 2015, the Memorandum of Mutual Cooperation to Foster Favourable Social Conditions between Suzdal and Semea Akimat was extended. In accordance with the memorandum, Nordgold will annually invest to improve local infrastructure.