The following blog is the first of a short three part series which will examine Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes in place by three different DGR created companies, demonstrating the importance behind community initiatives and how they play a crucial role in the advancement of DGR created exploration companies which in turn, progresses the project, the company itself and most importantly, value for its shareholders.
Part one focuses on IronRidge Resources and its CSR programmes in West Africa.
In order for each project to develop in the most sustainable, community respectable and environmentally conscious way, each DGR creation ensures its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme is built on strong foundations.
This ‘good neighbour’ approach starts from the very beginning – when our exploration geologists first step foot on the tenure.
Making a positive impact and establishing mutual respect between the company and community, play a crucial role in the ongoing success of the Company in its host Country.
All companies, from small junior explorers to mining majors, depend on local community acceptance for the project to operate successfully - no matter what jurisdiction it may be.
Maximum community involvement, transparent communication and open negotiation situations are the key requirements that each DGR founded project takes on board, when setting out to achieve each CSR aspiration.
Operating within small communities in West African regions, IronRidge Resources has a strong CSR programme in place which currently focuses on creating synergies within the communities, village chiefs, youth leaders and local government bodies with a goal to improve the quality of life – initially for the people on ground in the project footprint, then growing this to reach the outer communities.
“We focus on making an impact from the early exploration stage. We aim to employ locally, empower locally and develop the local industry to enrich the community and leave a lasting legacy” says Chief Operating Officer, Len Kolff.
The IronRidge team currently has a number of different programmes in place for different demographics within the local community at its Ewoyaa lithium project in Ghana.
1. Total Immersion
The only company office in Ghana is located with the project area and has a strong Ghanaian employee representation.
Another huge factor to community involvement is actively sponsoring local sporting events and the donation of goods for local initiatives.
“Sport is a big part of African life. We have sponsored the annual marathon event and travelling costs and uniforms for international sportspeople. I want to really build this out and support more local events as this empowers the youth within the community” said Len Kolff.
IronRidge has also helped clear an area for the Ewoyaa community market hall and will continue to contribute to this initiative by donating building materials for the construction.
A plant nursery has been established in preparation for reforestation initiatives post exploration and drilling activities.
1. Local employment
IronRidge employs 16 full time staff, and up to 50 additional people from within the local communities on regular occurrences, with only one expatriate employee on the team. The aim to continuously employ locally as much as possible is one of the most important sectors of IronRidge’s CSR programme.
The majority of the current staff working on the lithium project are from within the project area and often work across a number of different roles.
Empowering through training and education is a key element for enriching the lives of community members.
IronRidge currently trains graduate geologists that are brought on board for employment, as well as office employees on data entry, environmental monitoring and other operational duties.
IronRidge has also set up its own laboratory and has trained local staff to use new technologies (PRESS, LIBS and pXRF) for regional lithium exploration. This is likely the first time this has been undertaken at such a scale in Africa.
As each project expands and develops, so will the CSR programme.
Through the spirit of mutual respect and a view of each project lasting inter-generationally, ongoing discovery and development, the DGR group ensures its social and environmental impact measures will create value for all parties involved.
Part two of this series will focus on SolGold and its growing CSR programmes in regional Ecuador.
DGR Global – Listed on the ASX : DGR IronRidge Resources – Listed on the LSE AIM : IRR