African Barrick Gold (ABG) has announced the completion of a key stage of the North Mara Co-existence Plan, which has been developed to continue to improve community relations and the social licence to operate at its North Mara Mine.
It has recently signed individual agreements with all seven villages surrounding the North Mara mine, which provide for an investment of USD8.5m over the next three years in the local communities and significant progress made in the provision of alternative livelihoods.
A statement issued by the world’s leading gold firm said the agreements include two new village benefit agreements with the villages of Nyakunguru and Matongo that did not previously have formal agreements in place, together with implementation agreements with each of the five villages (Nyangoto, Kewanja, Matongo, Kerende, Genkuru and Nyamwaga) that had previously signed agreements with North Mara in 1995/96.
The form of investment in each of the villages will differ, but includes the development of school infrastructure, provision of clean water, the upgrading of a local health centre to a hospital level where it will receive national funding, rehabilitation of village offices, improvements to the road infrastructure and extension of overhead electricity lines.
According to the statement the pacts are a product of company’s commitment to meaningful dialogue and investment in local communities and the efforts of local stakeholders to reach mutually beneficial agreements.
Another key pillar of this dialogue has been the joint investigation of alternative livelihoods for those who live in communities around the mine, as a result ABG has signed an MoU between the mine and Nyabigena Mining and Cooperative Society for provision of fogging services to the mine’s residential facilities, the statement said.
The company also awarded a contract to a local contractor for the supply of clean drinking water to local villages, funded by the mine; and created a waste collection scheme along the major village roads focused on the employment of over 90 women from the local villages.
Commenting on the news, ABG Vice President – Corporate Affairs, Deo Mwanyika said: "We are encouraged with the progress we are now making with the communities around North Mara, which is a product of the commitment of ABG and local stakeholders to sustainable development to improve the quality of life in the communities where we operate.”