|Street:||154, Wilkinson Road||City:||Freetown|
|State/Province:||Western Area||Contact:||African Minerals|
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
"African Minerals constantly strives to be a leader in the field of social development and we are committed to supporting local communities in Sierra Leone via innovative social development and environmental projects."
Throughout 2009 African Minerals has continued with its existing programmes of infrastructure, health, education and employment, and introduced several new initiatives in its ongoing efforts to improve the lives of Sierra Leone's people. All of these initiatives endeavour to further the government's long term plan to alleviate poverty stricken families and improve the standard of living for all. The project's environmental and social impact policy works towards complying with the Equator Principles, an internationally recognised set of benchmarks for managing the impacts of large projects on local communities and the environment. African Minerals is already one of the largest employers in Sierra Leone and has the responsibility in setting a standard for further foreign investment projects into the country. The Company is grateful for having the highest level of support from local communities, regional government agencies and the offices of the President of Sierra Leone.
In 2009, the Company continued to build on the successes of the previous year in making positive impacts in many areas. More than US$500,000 was directly and indirectly spent in funding various social development projects in Sierra Leone. This included making significant advances against malaria and the rehabilitation and construction of Health facilities. African Minerals continues to introduce affordable and clean drinking water into areas of operations, provide education and equipment for the development of the local agricultural economy, and has built a major bridge between two previously hard-to-reach Districts. Not only is African Minerals committed to implementing infrastructure into its regions of operation, but it also works closely with the local district and community leaders to promote regional pride and unity through sporting, education and cultural events.
International Year of Planet Earth Award
In 2009 African Minerals is especially proud of receiving the prestigious International Year of Planet Earth Award. African Minerals' Tonkolili Iron Ore and Infrastructure Project was awarded "Most Effective Corporate Social Responsibility Project". The UN-recognized award is a testament to the ongoing social and environmental responsibility efforts made at the Tonkolili project and by African Minerals. The award is made by a panel of social and environment experts, on the basis of "innovation, beneficial excellence and significant achievement in the areas of environmental enhancement and sustainability of the Earth's resources".
The Company is honoured to be awarded such a prestigious award. African Minerals constantly strives to be a leader in the field of social development and this award is a celebration of our accomplishments. African Minerals is recognized as a significant partner in furthering the Government of Sierra Leone's goals for development as stated by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone HE Dr Ernest Bai Koroma ("African Minerals Company (SL) Limited has demonstrated the potential to become a valued partner of government in the pursuit of the goal of making life better for our people through the variety of activities it has undertaken since the Company began operations in the country.") and looks forward to continually being the leader in community development and social engagement.
Malaria kills an African child every 30 seconds, and remains one of the most important threats to the health of pregnant women and their newborns. The biggest single killer of children worldwide, malaria claims the lives of over one million African children each year. Traditional medication, by tablet, injection or pessary, has been proven to be inefficient because of a lack of clinics and unavailability of drugs in remote regions, and often the stage of sickness is too advanced in these malaria victims by the time they reach medical help.
Throughout 2009 African Minerals has been endeavouring to assist with the eradication of malaria. In April, the Company gave £47,000 to ProtoPharma to help to develop a unique treatment which overcomes many of these obstacles with ease of use, even in remote areas. It uses a multiple dose spray device for delivery under the tongue known as ArTiMist™. African Minerals' funding was essential for the production, stability, laboratory testing and regulatory support to bring the drug to early trial stages. Widespread use is expected before 2012.
As the project in Tonkolili advances, African Minerals is leading the way in social redevelopment and cultural strengthening. The Company has taken a leading role in advising on a local agricultural programme designed to encourage the sustainable farming of produce, not only to feed the growing mining community at the Tonkolili camp but to sell to other villages and abroad. As part of these efforts, African Minerals has donated tractors and other farming equipment to the local community to assist with agricultural development.
Furthermore, the Company has provided free medical consultations in the event of emergencies, provided a generator for the local Port Loko district council, donated a Toyota Landcruiser to the village of Kalansogoia, and built a major bridge to facilitate transportation between Tonkolili and Koinadugu.
In the first half of 2009, African Minerals awarded 800 scholarships to local children in the Tonkolili District to attend Junior and High School. This represents about 30% of the region's children. They were selected by the individual Chiefdom and District Committees, composed of local chiefs, Members of Parliament of the District and community leaders in the Chiefdoms and District. To further their education, the Company also provided books, pencils, crayons, blackboards and school uniforms to these children.
As part of a growing initiative for education in the area, African Minerals is committed to continuing its contribution to the salaries of teachers in the area which has increased the number of trained and qualified teachers in the schools. Furthermore, the Company is the first international company to actively build new schools, having built three in 2009 and furnishing them with teaching and learning equipment.
In Pepel, African Minerals is committed to strengthening its bonds with the community by helping the local schools redesign curriculums and improve the standard of education.
Employment & Training
By the end of 2009, African Minerals had a total headcount of 715, of which circa 95% were local Sierra Leoneans. As the business has grown throughout 2009, African Minerals has drawn on experienced international mining resources to complement the local base. These expatriate resources are drawn from established iron ore mining markets in Australia, West and Southern Africa as well as Europe and the Americas.
As one of the largest employers in Sierra Leone, African Minerals is committed to hiring and training local staff in all of its project areas. A workforce with the right skills, experience and training is one of the industry's most basic needs. African Minerals has invested a great deal of resources in developing the skills of our employees. Graduate Recruitment has started with the first graduate entering into a structured two-year learning programme in the environment department. Health and safety, field craft, security, environmental and social responsibility, and cultural induction programmes are now under way for local and expatriate employees as well as contractors. We are currently in negotiations with St Joseph's Vocational College in Lunsar to provide our technical training at Apprentice and Trades assistant levels, and we have already employed four Sierra Leone nationals as instructors in the Training Department.
In 2009 the Company commenced the construction of our training facility at Pepel. The facility is on target to open in 2010 and provide a base where numerous local people will receive training to learn the key skills required for our operations as well as receiving career guidance. The facilities will include classrooms, training workshops and other technical simulation exercises.
Following the enactment of the Youth Policy by the Government of Sierra Leone, African Minerals has supported this programme by not only promoting sports in Sierra Leone, but also other cultural activities such as musical concerts and beauty pageants, sponsoring work and university programmes, as well as providing materials to rehabilitate public activity areas and facilities. In 2009 African Minerals helped to organize Freetown's most popular social and cultural festival attracting over 40,000 people. African Minerals supports Sierra Leone's youth sports initiatives, and in 2009 was the proud sponsor of the Freetown Premier League Competition, awarding the African Minerals Trophy to the winning team, as well as continuing to sponsor four of the regional football teams in Tonkolili, Pepel, Freetown and Marampa.