Challenges facing local community

ABM committed, from the date of production, to spend 4% of its in-country operating and administrative expenses on community development. This investment will be governed with representative input from local communities and managed by the Lowa Alliance, a GDRC-regulated not-for-profit foundation. ABM will continue to preserve its legal rights to develop Bisie and explore ways to assist artisanal miners to transition from illegal status to legal, conflict-free sites elsewhere in the region.

The projects, supported by the foundation, will be selected following an in-depth survey of the 13 500 households (approximately 80 000 residents) across the 44 communities closest to Bisie. Representative committees will prioritise a range of projects to promote social and economic development to which they, local authorities and potentially external donors, will also contribute. Anticipated projects could include alternative livelihoods, specifically oil palm, cocoa and coffee cultivation. These would provide incentives for incomes beyond illegal artisanal mining. It would also provide educational and health infrastructure and services, like potable water, malaria reduction and treatment and primary health care capacity building.

Professor Doctor Anselme Kitakya (Provincial Minister of Mines), laying the corner stone of the Logu School in the presence of Marie Claire Bangwene (Territorial Administrator), Richard Robison (ABM MD), ABM’s legal advisor and Mr Gilbert Kalinda (Walikale Notable)

Economic prosperity

The project has been an exciting endeavour in its entirety. It is great seeing how it comes together and how the dream is turning into reality. Alphamin has made significant strides with the further exploration of the deposit and to establish the mining infrastructure towards the fully fledged tin mine. Beyond the core mining development it has been very exciting to see the impact Alphamin has already been making. The community now has cell phone connectivity thanks to its Vodacom tower and small local business is booming as a result – the tower breathed new life into the economic activity of the local communities.

Political stability

The operation will deliver on the commitment to develop the first large commercial tin mine in the eastern DRC that will produce conflict-free tin concentrate, while promoting community development, safety, health and environmentally sound practices. Alphamin’s investment, supported by socially responsible investors, is in line with global efforts to assure supply chain transparency of conflict minerals and the Great Lakes Regional initiatives to assure conflict-free certification linked to government reforms, such as those initiated by the DRC and Rwanda.

The catalytic nature of Alphamin’s investment in the post-conflict region of the eastern DRC would have synergies with and optimise the humanitarian, stabilisation and development funding and initiatives of the GDRC and multiple donors (including the World Bank, European Union, United States Agency for International Development and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development).

Social empowerment

Alphamin’s investment will fundamentally transform the local economy, social conditions and underlying governance of the Walikale Territory and North Kivu Province. According to the updated Feasibility Study, the responsible development and operation of the Bisie mine is expected to result in the employment of approximately 700 people during construction, and to create approximately 450 permanent local jobs during operations. Economic and governance benefits will spill-over to North Kivu, which will help to reduce insecurity and improve social conditions in the region. Along with the direct, positive impact, Alphamin is establishing the Lowa Alliance, a not-for-profit foundation, that will promote social projects selected by the communities of the Walikale Territory in North Kivu close to Bisie.

Alphamin will contribute 4% of its operational and management expenditure to the Alliance. Using local and international partners with proven records will help to address both mining and humanitarian logistics challenges, bringing global solutions where needed, and ensures that local authorities support the financial, technical and maintenance aspects of the Project.

Infrastructure development

ABM has commenced with construction of a 32km access route from the Project area to the village of Logu. As at June 2016 Alphamin has constructed approximately 30km of light vehicle access road to expedite mobilisation of contractors for the construction phase.

Alphamin is also working in conjunction with the North Kivu Government and Office De Route to rehabilitate the Goma to Walikale road. The improvements have thus far enabled the Governor of North Kivu, His Excellency Julien Paluku Kahongya, to make good on his undertaking to drive from Goma to Walikale for the Independence Day celebrations, which took place on 30 June. He made the journey from Goma to Walikale with a convoy of dignitaries in 9 hours and 15 minutes.

Using this road, Alphamin has been able to move the first five containers of mining equipment for the Return Airway Drive, currently being developed, from Johannesburg to our depot in Osikari, 36km northwest of Walikale in 20 days from departure in Johannesburg.

Environmental management

The Ministry of Mines approved the Company’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP). The Company is also finalising a more detailed Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) and Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP), which comply with International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards and Equator Principles.

The Project is not expected to have a negative environmental impact on the Maiko National Park, which is 15km from Bisie. The development of the Project is expected to lead to greater employment and other economic activity in the area, which could lead to reduction of poaching and other negative pressures in the region, including in Maiko National Park.

Education

In education, in addition to school infrastructure, it would lead to teacher training and parental governance, while appropriate support to local government would improve services and targeted community infrastructure including roads, bridges and potable water systems.