Barrick Lumwana continues commitment to communities

January 9, 2013 4:05 pm

Lumwana CSR team mambers Robert Kipaila, Adess Hambuba, Stephen Mukelabai, Harrington Kanema and Brenda Liswaniso.

Lumwana CSR team mambers Robert Kipaila, Adess Hambuba, Stephen Mukelabai, Harrington Kanema and Brenda Liswaniso.

Barrick’s Lumwana mine has budgeted nearly $3 million in 2012 to support sustainable development initiatives in communities near the Zambia-based mine. That’s up from $2.7 million a year earlier.

Commissioned in 2009, Lumwana is located in Zambia’s North-Western province, 65 kilometers west of the provincial capital of Solwezi. Lumwana produced 159 million pounds of copper in 2011 and is expected to produce 155-165 million pounds this year.

Agri-Food Innovators program helping subsistence farmers become more profitable

The Agri-Food Innovators (AFI) program is one of many community development initiatives funded by Lumwana. The program, which launched in 2008, helps local farmers learn different irrigation technologies and sustainable farming methods. It also funds research aimed at introducing high value crops to the region. “Subsistence farming is a way of life and, together with mining, forms the basis of the economy around Lumwana,” says Brenda Liswaniso, Sustainability Manager at Lumwana. “We thought it was very important to support the people in this sector.”

The AFI program also supports a local micro-financing business, which has made it easier for farmers to fund their businesses. “Because they are considered a high risk for nonpayment, it is difficult for small-scale farmers to go to a regular bank and secure a loan,” Liswaniso says.

Barrick provided $50,000 towards the micro-finance initiative, and CETZAM Financial Services, the company that runs the operation, is providing up to $200,000 worth of loans in local communities. Loan repayment rates are above 90 percent, well above the repayment rate for similar programs in Zambia, Liswaniso says.

In 2011, the AFI program engaged the government-run Mutanda Agricultural Research Institute to help introduce new crops to the area. Barrick contributed $100,000 to the initiative. To date, more than 80 farmers have participated in testing and production of high value crops, such as rice, wheat, soybeans, mangoes and Irish potatoes.

Lewis Nsangabukila is one of those farmers. Last year, he began shifting production from corn (maize) to rice. So far, he has generated $1,910 from his rice crop, about double what he would have earned from corn. He plans to convert his entire farm to rice production and learn new farming practices to improved crop yields. “I am never going back to maize,” he says.

Local farmer Lewis Nsangabukila.

Local farmer Lewis Nsangabukila. “I am never going back to maize,” he says.

Lumwana Trust funds new infrastructure

Another major initiative supported by the mine is the Lumwana Development Trust Fund. The trust supports infrastructure projects identified by a committee consisting of local traditional leaders, government and mine management, though Barrick does not vote on which projects will go forward. The mine contributes 75 percent towards the cost of projects while local communities contribute 25 percent. This year, Lumwana is budgeting $770,000 for the trust, up from $580,000 in 2011.

In late August, Barrick formally unveiled 22 projects supported by the Trust Fund. The projects, some of which took years to build, are spread across several local communities. They include schools, staff houses, rural health centers and several production centers that provide employment opportunities to women. At one of the production centers, for instance, women produce bags used by Lumwana’s geological department to collect ore samples. All told, Barrick contributed about $1.4 million to help build the 22 projects.

“Barrick Lumwana is determined to collaborate with host communities to foster a stable, healthy and safe environment in which to live and work, and to promote sustainable socioeconomic development,” says Wayne Schiller, Acting Managing Director of the Lumwana Mining Company, a Barrick subsidiary that oversees operations at the Lumwana mine.

Introducing women to dairy farming

Lumwana recently launched another program to support women in partnership with a local NGO called YAPYA, (Youth Investment Trust of Zambia). Under the initiative, 60 women in the nearby town of Mutanda have been provided with dairy cows to supply nutritious milk to local residents. The milk is stored at a milk collection center, whose construction was funded by Barrick with a $90,000 donation. The women use income earned from milk production to pay for their cows and, ideally, generate enough revenue to purchase additional cows. The women receive training in how to care for their animals and manage their finances. They are also provided with a bicycle to transport the milk to the collection center. “From the beginning, we have focused on strengthening women’s participation in the local economy to help alleviate poverty,” Liswaniso says.

Lumwana partnered with local NGO Yapya to provide dairy cows to 60 women in the town of Mutanda.

Lumwana partnered with local NGO Yapya to provide dairy cows to 60 women in the town of Mutanda.

comments powered by Disqus

We welcome your comments and hope you will join the discussions. Your comments should be on-topic and related to an individual post. Please be respectful; using offensive language is not permitted. We reserve the right to remove comments that are offensive, off-topic, out of context, spam or promotional.

More news

  • North America Striking the golden mother lode in the silver state

    Striking the golden mother lode in the silver state

    Goldrush discovery team receives Thayer Lindsley Award at PDAC mining conference Kevin Creel knew by late 2009 that the exploration program near Barrick’s Cortez mine in Nevada held promise, but he did not know yet that it would turn into the Goldrush deposit, one of the largest gold discoveries in...

    Read more →
  • Lagunas Norte, South America Barrick breaks new ground in Peru agro-forestry with Canadian partners

    Barrick breaks new ground in Peru agro-forestry with Canadian partners

    Patricia Ann Fortier, Canada’s Ambassador to Peru, feeds a calf at the Callacuyan reclamation project at Barrick’s Lagunas Norte mine. The Callacuyán site was a former coal mine that was successfully reclaimed by Barrick as a green area with a cattle and alpaca ranch. Barrick has announced a $1.9...

    Read more →
  • Australia Pacific, Porgera Barrick recognized for youth technical education in Papua New Guinea

    Barrick recognized for youth technical education in Papua New Guinea

    Barrick is the Porgera region’s primary economic engine, having invested more than $125 million in employee wages and benefits, while contributing another $233 million to the purchase of local goods and services in 2012 alone. A vocational training organization has recognized Barrick as a major supporter...

    Read more →
  • Pascua-Lama, South America Community water monitoring in Chile helps to build transparency

    Community water monitoring in Chile helps to build transparency

    Community members from El Corral, Chile participate in a community water monitoring program at Barrick’s Pascua-Lama project as part of the company’s transparency and community engagement efforts. A group of community representatives from El Corral, Chile were recently invited to participate in...

    Read more →
  • North America Bringing the holiday spirit, Barrick donates $50,000 to southern Nevada’s only food bank

    Bringing the holiday spirit, Barrick donates $50,000 to southern Nevada’s only food bank

    Michael Brown, Barrick’s Vice President of Corporate and External Affairs for North America (right), presents Barrick’s donation to Three Square President and CEO, Brian Burton (center) and Chief Development Officer, Matt Muldoon (left). Barrick Gold has donated $50,000 to the Three Square...

    Read more →