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Community development

23 August 2017

Community development is the process of increasing the strength and resilience of communities, improving people’s quality of life and enabling people to fully participate in decision-making.

ICMM member companies commit to ‘pursue continual improvement in social performance and contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of host countries and communities.’ In practice, they are expected to go beyond mitigating social impacts, and work towards creating lasting benefits that sustain people beyond the life of a mine.

We encourage all mining and metals companies to mine with principles and do the same.

Onus on partnerships

Often the most beneficial legacies of mining come from direct engagement with communities to support local health, education, business development, and infrastructure development. We recognise the importance of partnerships in bringing about long-term social and economic development.

At their most basic level, partnerships use the skills of different sectors in society – government, companies and civil society – to achieve progress on social and environmental issues.

ICMM supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly partnerships for the goals (SDG 17) which calls for greater collaboration between governments, the private sector and civil society to help ‘unlock the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources’.

ICMM’s Community development toolkit provides practical support for mining companies. It helps companies support local communities in a way that will contribute to the long-term viability of communities after mining finishes.

Targeting investment

ICMM member Newmont, through its award-winning Ahafo Development Foundation (NADeF), is successfully partnering with local communities to create sustainable social-economic opportunities for communities neighbouring its Ahafo mine.

NADeF is seeking to strike the right balance, neither substituting for government nor ignoring local governance weaknesses, to better manage the mine’s social investment. Initiatives supported by NADeF include scholarships for students, the construction of community libraries, the installation of mechanised wells, and the funding of inclusive economic opportunities.

In Peru, ICMM member Glencore has worked to enhance the capacity of local communities by supporting subsistence cattle farmers in the Espinar province gain greater knowledge of animal health services and local crop production, fully involving local families and community leaders.

Through this initiative, the province’s milk productivity and quality has significantly improved, benefiting the local families who depend on it. The project works alongside another Glencore initiative PLACME, Antapaccay’s milk collection plant, to further boost local economic opportunities.

In Antapaccay, Glencore also runs an initiative to support alpaca and sheep breeders in the province of Espinar. The FILASAC plant was established in October 2014 and coordinates with local districts municipalities and community leaders to develop a wool market for alpaca and sheep breeders and to train producers in shearing and fleece practices, and product classification. FILASAC also visits community agricultural fairs to demonstrate its training and run shearing competitions.

At a more basic level, Glencore has sought to target its investment by promoting education in hard-to-reach areas of Peru. In 2017, Glencore introduced a ‘school on wheels’ to bring educational facilities to children in underserved rural areas. The bus boasts a smart board, tablets and Wi-Fi, offering children a chance to learn in a multimedia environment. The bus uses solar panels to power all of its equipment.

Also in Peru, ICMM member company MMG is working with communities near its Las Bambas mine to support and develop under-resourced health infrastructure. Following population growth and the increased burden of weather-related diseases, the Challhuahuacho Health Care Centre was struggling to cope with demand.

Working alongside representatives of the centre and the Regional Bureau of Health (DIRESA), Las Bambas built an in-patient ward, improving the delivery of basic health care services. Once completed, ownership of the ward was transferred to the Ministry of Health (MINSA), improving governmental health services. This combined with health campaigns has allowed MMG to support the health needs of some 10,000 people.

We encourage other companies to join us in supporting the development of robust and beneficial partnerships with host communities. The guidance in our Community development toolkit can support effective community development initiatives where they work.