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Approach & performance

Contributing to the growth and prosperity of host countries and local communities, and responding to community attitudes and expectations is something Paladin takes very seriously, particularly given the Company’s operating environments. Paladin has a Community Relations Policy [43] with the aim of achieving a balance between economic, environmental and social needs. The Policy outlines Paladin’s commitment to:

  • adhering to the laws and regulations of host countries;
  • respecting and responding to local customs, traditions and cultures unless these are at variance with Paladin’s policies and standards;
  • contributing to local economic development of communities;
  • being open and transparent in all communications and dealing with communities and responding in a timely fashion to any community-based grievances;
  • establishing grievance mechanisms for all stakeholders where community related complaints can be received and addressed;
  • investing in projects that are of mutual benefit to the Company and the community;
  • ensuring that resettlement that cannot be avoided is undertaken in compliance with local laws and such that resettled parties are constructively engaged and fairly treated with the principle of free and informed consent;
  • embracing sound principles of local procurement and employment that contributes to local economic development;
  • encouraging, where practicable, suppliers and contractors to adopt the same or similar policies, standards and practices; and
  • undertaking activities in a manner that is conducive to ensuring that the local operating company is, and remains, a responsible member of the community.
 

 

APPROACH AND PERFORMANCE

Paladin’s approach to meeting its responsibilities to local communities is aligned with the Company’s social responsibility commitments, including those relating to human rights, anti-corruption, transparency, material stewardship and procurement practices. The social responsibility programmes are developed, managed and assessed in relation to the Community Relations Policy. Paladin adopts a site-based management approach to implement the Company’s community relations programme in ways most appropriate to the unique challenges facing each operation. Accountability for the community programmes ultimately resides with Paladin’s CEO.

Both LHM’s and KM’s social responsibility programmes are based on social management plans developed in response to social impact assessments (conducted as part of the public environmental impact assessments) undertaken for both LHM and KM during the project development and also for the expansion phases at LHM. Ongoing community needs are also considered when developing social and community programmes. The responsibility for the implementation of the operations’ social management plans and programmes is assigned by the operation’s senior management.

Local stakeholder consultation, as discussed in the stakeholder consultation section of this Report, is an important component of the Company meeting its social responsibility; and underpins Paladin’s community development programmes and initiatives

LHM is located in the Namib Desert in the NNNP, 80 kms east of the major seaport of Walvis Bay. The nearest town to LHM is the coastal town of Swakopmund, which is approximately a one-hour drive from the mine. While there are no permanent communities living directly around the mine, and therefore no local communities are likely to be directly impacted by the mining operation, Paladin acknowledges the Topnaar-Nama people of Namibia who have an association with certain areas of the NNNP.

LHM’s social responsibility programme is cognisant of Namibia’s Millennium Development Goals. The programme focuses on the key areas most relevant to Namibia’s national needs and LHM’s sphere of influence. Elements of the programme include feeding schemes, educational development, ecological improvement work in the NNNP and regional economic development, with the aim of providing cost effective and measureable benefits to communities in Namibia. The overall social impact of LHM on the broad community, both direct and indirect, is considered to be positive.

KM is located in northern Malawi, 52 km west of the provincial town of Karonga, and has nearby communities which are directly impacted by the mining operations. PAL’s approach to meeting its social responsibilities is principally governed under the terms of the KM Development Agreement signed between PAL and the Government of Malawi in February 2007. The Development Agreement represents a written expectation that the Company participates in the intervention of systemic social issues, unrelated to KM’s operation, but which KM can contribute to assisting to address.

The town of Karonga and the villages in the immediate vicinity of KM are those most impacted by the mining operations, therefore Paladin’s community and social programmes are focused on these communities. However, the Company believes it is important to also include villages located along the M26 access highway, as these villages are remote and generally lack basic facilities. Paladin has adopted the concept of the “Corridor of Care” specifically to bring benefits to these isolated villages. Projects conducted within these villages include the construction of school classrooms, improvements made to teacher housing and the renovation and electrification of the Wiliro Clinic, a medical clinic that provides health services for the area.

A Social Impact Assessment was conducted in 2013 to assess the impact of the KM mining operation on local communities. The study found that overall KM has resulted in positive direct and indirect social and economic impacts for the local community. In particular, there has been significant employment creation, skills development, business development, and economic empowerment of vulnerable groups during the operational phase at KM. It also noted that Paladin had identified and mobilised certain vulnerable groups in the community to supply goods such as flour, with the primary purpose of empowering them economically. This outcome was achieved through the use of a supplier selection process based on affirmative action reflecting the Company’s social responsibility goals. The assessment found that the revenue received by the suppliers constituted between 75% and 100% of their total income. This resulted in previously disadvantaged community groups had been able to educate their children, construct better housing, purchase livestock and buy fertiliser to grow food crops. Other benefits noted in the report included improved housing, greater access to health services and better educational facilities. The presence of KM in the community has had positive indirect economic impacts from the mining operations, which will unfortunately diminish with the suspension of KM mining and processing operations.

 


[43] To view Paladin’s Community Relations Policy please go to: http://www.paladinenergy.com.au/corporate-governance

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