Amara in the Community (CSR)
Amara Mining is committed to working with communities in the countries within which it operates. Our goal is to achieve a socially responsible business that balances economic prosperity with environmental stewardship and ethical business practice. Taking this approach allows Amara to ensure that a positive and sustainable legacy is left beyond the lives of our mining operations.
The Company's CSR mandate states that our community initiatives across West Africa have three key focuses:
We appoint community liaison officers in our work areas and hold regular meetings that give local people the chance to talk about their concerns. By initiating schemes and inviting open communication, we form strong partnerships with these communities that demonstrate our respect for their needs and requirements as well as their customs and values.
Education and support for local women continued to be key focus areas for Amara in 2012, accounting for over 60% of the annual community expenditure in Burkina Faso. Construction of four additional classrooms at the local Kalsaka school was completed in 2012 which are now used by more than 200 students from the local area. At primary school level, Amara built a school in nearby Ouilao and two houses for teachers. This is the first purpose-built school in the village and it is expected to improve the quality of education received by the local children. Previously they were educated in a house that was not able to withstand heavy rains, meaning that during the wet season they could not attend lessons.
The advancement of women is at the heart of Amara’s efforts in Burkina Faso and in 2012 we maintained our support for a literacy programme for women across multiple villages. 65 women were taught to read and write in the local language, Moore, improving their potential to work and earn money for their families. In addition, Amara continued to fund a programme for women to be trained in farming techniques. In 2012, 35 women learnt how to run sheep and goat fattening businesses, which is one of the main ways local people can generate income in the region. To help the women to apply the knowledge they’ve learnt, we provided two sheep at the end of the course to each participant.
Amara also contributed US$10 million to support the efforts of young people from local communities who have chosen to become cattle farmers and stop artisanal mining activities. This project has a dual impact as it prevents young people from working in dangerous conditions and provides them with seed money to create income for the local economy. We also donated 10 tonnes of maize to Kalsaka village in order to combat the grain shortage experienced during 2012, which was received positively by local authorities.
In line with Amara’s stated CSR aims, health was the other focus for our initiatives. Amara funded research on HIV/AIDs and STDs by the University of Ouagadougou. This is the first study funded by a mining company in Burkina Faso and it symbolises our commitment to upholding the health of its employees and local people. The results of the study will be used by Burkina Faso’s Department of Occupational Health and Safety and also by Kalsaka’s healthcare team. Amara was also the proud sponsor of an annual campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDs in Kalsaka village, which has received strong support from local and regional bodies.
In 2013, the Company is continuing to work with the local communities to ensure that their needs are met, building particularly on education, women’s communities, and healthcare. The Company is looking to expanding its CSR at a regional level following the completion of the Sega acquisition, with local employment and supply procurement being a key priority as the Sega project comes into production in Q3 2013.
In Sierra Leone in 2012, Amara’s community initiatives continued to focus on benefiting future generations through education and agricultural programmes. A school was built in Kortunhun village and three additional classrooms were built for the school in Baomahun village. The scholarship programme, which commenced in 2011, was continued in 2012 with 125 students in the Bo District receiving secondary school scholarships.
A university scholarship was also awarded, along with seven scholarships for Sierra Leonean students to pursue their Master of Mining Engineering degrees in Ghana. These students were selected by a panel comprising of representatives from the Office of the Chief of Staff, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Mineral Resources, the Parliament as well as a representative from Amara. It is anticipated that Amara will employ these students in Sierra Leone upon their graduation. By creating a newly skilled generation of Sierra Leoneans, Amara is creating a workforce to fuel the country’s growing economy and build a legacy of mining knowledge and work experience.
Amara also continued to support agricultural programmes in 2012 through the introduction of our Eco-Livelihood Project, which gives local people tools and seeds to plant crops. In addition, the Planting Promise programme entered its second year. Planting Promise is a community agricultural project dedicated to the development of education, whereby the farms owned by the organisation employ local families who grow and harvest crops. This income is then used to fund the construction and maintenance of local schools, giving families the chance to work towards their own futures.
Healthcare was another priority for Amara in Sierra Leone as the unusually heavy rainy season led to particularly high levels of malaria in 2012. In order to protect its employees, Amara issued treated mosquito nets to all staff across its operations. We also contributed to local health efforts by erecting a temporary shelter in Baomahun village for cholera patients and supplied anti-cholera medication. To mark World AIDs Day, we supported an awareness campaign and distributed condoms.
In early 2011 Côte d’Ivoire experienced a political crisis and during the period of instability that followed, Amara’s planned community initiatives were put on hold. As peace was gradually restored and exploration activity at Yaoure accelerated, Amara began to resume its plans during 2012.
As a result of the political crisis, the state of the country’s roads and other infrastructure worsened due to the lack of government investment and maintenance. Therefore, Amara dedicated its 2012 CSR programme to rehabilitating roads and building schools and housing.
Amara rehabilitated over 30km of local roads, which had been rendered inaccessible, thereby providing access for local people to larger towns and cities where they can sell their crops and earn an income for their families. This also allowed a wider range of services to be provided to the villages, fostering higher standards of living for local people, and rendering Angovia village a regional hub.
We also built three classrooms for a local school and three houses for primary school teachers. These new facilities will improve the working and living conditions for the teachers and allow access to education for a greater number of local children.
Amara’s country manager in Côte d’Ivoire continued to meet with local people, regional authorities and the government throughout the crisis period and regular meetings have continued during 2012 as Yaoure’s focus changed from oxide production to sulphide exploration.