The mining and metals industry has enormous potential to accelerate community development by acting as a catalyst for economic and social change.
Metals and minerals are finite resources. Where mining is significant in the economic life of a country, it can boost GDP by a number of percentage points. For growth to be fully inclusive and sustainable however, local government, civil society and industry need to work together to encourage diversification of the economy beyond mining and to improve local people’s capabilities to take advantage of new economic opportunities.
One way this can be achieved is through the stimulation of local economies by encouraging the development of sustainable businesses that will last beyond the anticipated life of the mined resource.
Mining with principles means actively engaging with communities to understand their development aspirations, skills and capacities to help build strong relationships based on trust and respect and lay the foundations for a sustainable economic future for people beyond the life of the mine.
ICMM member companies commit to pursue continual improvements in their social performance: contributing to the social, economic and institutional development of host countries and communities. This includes supporting partnerships with governments and non-governmental organisations to ensure that economic development programmes are well designed and effectively delivered.
Expanding economic well-being
One of the most successful and long-running projects for improving the economic wellbeing of people outside the mining sector is the Zimele enterprise development programme in South Africa, supported by Anglo American.
Zimele was established in 1989 as a way of developing emerging black business, empowering entrepreneurs, and facilitating job creation. It is recognised internationally as a best practice model in supporting businesses by providing a successful mix of both financial support and mentorship. To date, the programme has created over 30,000 jobs in South Africa: with 41 per cent of beneficiaries being women, and 37 per cent young people.
Click here to find out more about Zimele enterprise development programme in South Africa
In Ghana, Newmont’s Ahafo Mine is also working with communities to support the delivery of a community-led investment programme. One of the initiatives supported by the programme is the Ahafo’s Women’s Consultative Committee (WCC), established in 2008 to ensure women were consulted on decisions such as land access, job opportunities and community development.
Beneficiaries of the WCC include Beatrice Mensah, a mushroom farmer, who has been able to use a loan to support her mushroom farm; helping her to provide for the four orphans she cares for.
[Watch the video to find out more about Newmont’s work with the Women’s Consultative Committee.]
Enhancing community development
In supporting economic opportunities at the local level, mining and metals companies can also significantly enhance community development more broadly. ICMM member Glencore, through its Rhovan Mine in the North West province of South Africa, has for example used its support for local businesses to deliver health infrastructure to the surrounding villages in this rural area.
Recognising that the local clinic was servicing 3,500+ patients who visited it each month, Rhovan Mine entered into a partnership with the provincial department of health to build a new, modern clinic at Bethanie Village for the local communities. Rhovan Mine awarded the contract to Otto Raikane Tshepe’s company Biz Afrika 985 to build the new clinic.
This partnership resulted in the employment of 114 people from the surrounding villages of Modikwe, Berseba, Makolokwe, Lekgalong and Bethanie, and the employment of a further seven local subcontractor companies, who in turn hired another 70 locals. This partnership has the dual benefit of creating local employment and training, while simultaneously delivering a top-class clinic with a maternity ward, casualty wards, and facilities for the testing and treatment of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Beyond the potential local benefits of mining, diversification programmes such as ICMM member BHP’s World-Class Supplier Programme in Chile can promote sophisticated and export-driven benefits to the economy of a host country.
BHP’s programme, which was launched in 2009, and joined by ICMM member Codelco in 2010, is working to create 250 world-class mining suppliers in Chile by 2020. The ultimate result will be the enhanced employment of skilled workers locally, with knowledge and expertise that are exportable: benefiting the national economy.
Supporting sustainable post-mining economies
Mining can unlock human potential and catalyse economic activity that lasts long after the metal or mineral resource has been exhausted. Recognising that resources are finite, ICMM members work to catalyse economic development during the active life of a mine that will endure after it closes. From promoting inclusive economic development in local communities, to helping diversify national economies, ICMM members are committed to partnering with others to deliver sustainable economic opportunities.