The Senior Manager – Sustainability for AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mine, Emmanuel Baidoo, has urged mining companies to adopt an integrated approach to social investment programmes to address human capital needs in host communities.
Speaking on the topic: An integrated approach to community human capital development: Lessons from Iduapriem Mine, at the recently held Ghana Mining and Energy Summit; Mr Baidoo stressed that an effective integrated community empowerment strategy should align with the core business strategy of the company and the Sustainable Development Goals.
It will further strengthen the foundations of education, growing capabilities and establishing economic participation in host communities and driven by good community relations, Mr. Baidoo stated.
He noted that good community relations play a key role in any effective Human capital development strategy between a mining company and its host communities and guarantees and sustains the mine’s social license to operate.
“Though a mining company may have all the requisite legal permits to operate, the approval and acceptance of the local communities where the mine is located is critical to the success of the mine’s operation,” he said. “We have heard many stories of how protests from host communities have led to the closure of some mines. This acceptance is the social license.”
He noted that the confrontations between communities and mining companies which often threaten the keeping of social license are also indicators of expectations and willingness of communities for economic participation. He, therefore, called on mining companies to see these threats as opportunities that should inform their efforts to empower communities for sustainable economic participation.
In view of this, Mr. Baidoo said a piece meal or standalone approach to social intervention programmes is bound to fail. “Mining Companies which hope to renew their social license to operate must aim for long-term and sustainable projects which impact the lives of the people over a period of time. Importantly, these projects must empower the people in a manner that makes them independent so that they are able to continue or even scale –up without the support of the mine.”
He added that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes which are carried out in close consultation with local communities provide an effective and more sustainable way for companies to contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of people in areas in which they operate.
“Host communities exist within a wider society. So, while it is important to secure local community buy-in, deliberate efforts must also be made to rope in other relevant stakeholders such as government, civil society organisations etc to ensure a robust and enduring Human Capital Development strategy,” he added.
In his concluding remark, he indicated that by adopting an integrated approach to its community empowerment interventions, AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mine has seen a more streamlined and visible community investment which has led to growing resilience of host communities.