Paladin continues to fulfil its social development undertakings under the terms of the Kayelekera Development Agreement, with highlights being the completion of infrastructure projects to significantly upgrade the water supply to the region’s largest town and the construction of school facilities and teacher housing in villages adjacent to KM. The Company has developed a Social Sustainability Management Plan (SSMP) to ensure that social and cultural environmental aspects and impacts associated with the operation of KM are identified and appropriately managed. The SSMP has been prepared to address the commitments in the KM EIA and the conditions of the Environmental Licence, the Development Agreement and the Settlement Deed. The SSMP also provides a mechanism to ensure compliance with regulatory legislation, corporate policies, standards, guidelines and procedures and is subject to both internal and external reviews as required by Paladin and relevant regulatory agencies. Specifically, the SSMP includes the following Plans which are mandated by the Development Agreement and the EIA:
- Social Responsibility Plan, which provides programmes for health, education and water;
- Business Development Programme, to promote local involvement, economic growth and skills development;
- Stakeholder Participation Programme, which provides for community consultation and education on the uranium industry and partnership projects; and
- Social Management Plan, which provides for the mitigation, monitoring and management of potential social and cultural impacts associated with the operations of KM.
Paladin engages formally with the Government of Malawi and with local communities via committees established for the purpose. A Government of Malawi/Paladin Liaison Committee (GLC) holds meetings on a quarterly basis. The GLC meeting is for Paladin to report on its activities for the quarter and provide an update on the project.
At the local level, quarterly meetings are held with community stakeholders through the Paladin/Government jointly chaired Uranium Liaison Committee (ULICO). ULICO comprises local community leadership, civic societies, senior civil servants and Paladin representatives. Also on a quarterly basis, the Company meets formally with traditional leaders, headed by the region’s Paramount Chief. Regular meetings take place with the Karonga Natural Resources Development Association (KANREDA), which represents local communities, and the Kayelekera Village Authority, to discuss local matters such as road safety, water and hygiene and minimising the impact of unemployment arising from demobilisation of construction workers.
Principal projects undertaken during the year included:
Garnet Halliday Karonga Water Supply Project
Paladin’s commitment to provide potable water for Karonga’s projected population growth until 2025 saw the completion of the Garnet Halliday Karonga Water Supply Project in early 2010. On 24 March, the project, named in honour of a former Paladin senior executive, was formally handed over to Malawi’s Minister for Irrigation and Water Development, who received the project of behalf of the Northern Region Water Board (NRWB). The water project is Paladin’s major contribution in fulfilling its commitment to expend $US10M on infrastructure projects in northern Malawi. The project is capable of delivering 7,500m3 of clean water per day to Karonga, solving chronic water shortages which have often seen the town without water for days. The project provided employment for 265 people at its peak. Karonga is the Northern Region’s commercial and administrative centre and is located near Lake Malawi, approximately 52km from KM. The project was keenly anticipated by the town’s 40,000 inhabitants and has been enthusiastically received locally. In addition to upgrading water quality and reliability of supply, higher water pressure achieved by the scheme has improved supply efficiency through the NRWB distribution system bringing regular supply to outlying sections of Karonga.
HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign
Ongoing awareness programmes are conducted, targeting employees, their families, local villages and the broad community. Activities include distribution of Company-produced literature to employees and community members, education through regular weekly radio programmes sponsored by the Company and sponsorship of a regional theatrical group, which provides public education and promotes voluntary testing in remote villages. The Company has sponsored the troupe previously to provide community performances which, as a traditional art and teaching form, is extremely well received and has proven highly effective as a teaching methodology. The Kayelekera Health Clinic, established by the Company, is an accredited HIV counselling centre.
Community Health Care
Paladin’s community relation officers regularly visit schools near KM, conducting well-received talks and activities dealing with various common health issues. A series of story booklets, written by one of Paladin’s social development team and translated into the local language has been printed and distributed. The booklets cover a range of topics including health, alcoholism, fraud and theft, social and family issues and family values. The books are very popular, due to the subject matter and an absence of almost any material published in local language.
Agricultural Outreach Programme
Paladin has assisted the Kayelekera village and Karonga District community to apply improved agricultural practices and develop the local economy with income generating agricultural opportunities. The existing Kayelekera Irrigation Scheme has been extended and repaired and a new and larger irrigation intake has been constructed to open up a new dry-season garden area. In addition, more than 600 fruit trees have been distributed from the Paladin nursery and 6,000 trees grown in local nurseries operated by propagators who were trained by Paladin in this skill last year. These trees have been distributed to schools to plant orchards and to villages throughout the district to promote reforestation in the region – a national priority of the Government of Malawi. Recipients have been trained in planting and ongoing care of the trees.
Water and Sanitation
A number of initiatives have been undertaken in relation to the installation of new water bores and rainwater tanks. Networking with the Malawi Water and Irrigation Department (WID) has resulted in old bores being repaired to provide clean water to villages in the district. Village sanitary conditions have been improved with ecological lined-pit toilets that have been built in Kayelekera village, in conjunction with World Vision and local land holders. Another joint initiative with an NGO operating in the district promotes compost toilets for all schools in the Karonga district. Paladin continues to employ a worker to clean up rubbish around the Kayelekera village central area. The introduction of personalised water containers at KM and the banning of disposable plastic bottles has dramatically reduced the rubbish problem in Kayelekera village.
A programme to significantly improve school infrastructure in Kayelekera and nearby villages is in progress, involving the construction of school buildings, teacher housing and the erection of a community hall in Kayelekera village.
Employee Charitable Foundation, supported by Paladin
Paladin’s formal CSR programmes in Malawi are supplemented by projects supported through a charitable foundation established by the Company’s employees. The Friends and Employees of Paladin for African Children (FEPAC) was the brainchild of General Manager–Geology and Exploration, Ed Becker, and his colleagues in October 2008 as a means of funding smaller social projects in Malawi that were outside the scope of Paladin’s CSR programmes. In particular, the aim is to support projects with a focus on helping children. More than $125,000 has been raised by employees and associates of Paladin through various initiatives, including two major fundraising events held annually – a quiz night and corporate golf day. Paladin supports its employees’ initiative by providing FEPAC with administrative assistance and in allowing time for employees to organise and participate in fund-raising activities and matches dollar for dollar all funds raised.