Social Mine Closure Strategy, Mali



 


Background:



The Sadiola and Yatela Gold mine (major shareholders being AngloGold, IAMGold and the Mali Government) is an open pit operation located at Sadiola in the Kayes Region of western Mali. Yatela Mine closure is projected for 2010, while Sadiola mine will close in 2013, although ongoing evaluation and feasibility studies of a deep sulphide ore body could lead to an increase in mine life.

 

Nonetheless, post-mine closure planning is integral to the company's community investment strategy as project-affected communities depend on the two mining operations (Sadiola and Yatela) for access to basic services (ie. water, health care, and education), vocational training, agricultural assistance, and employment. The overall goal of mine closure planning is that the affected communities and their environment are left with equal - and preferably improved – conditions, compared to those which existed prior to the development of the mines. Mine closure is a delicate process to address significant and complex social and environmental issues to maximize residual benefits and ensure sustainability after mine closure. It involves considerable reputational risk and legacy issues for the owners of the mine if these issues are not carefully addressed.

 

Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to facilitate a participatory process convening the local communities, regional authorities, the national government and the Company in order to jointly design a social mine closure strategy for the two neighboring Sadiola and Yatela Gold Mines. The resulting strategy, which would be fully owned by these stakeholder groups, will help the mines achieve closure in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner.

 

Objective:

The objective of this project is to improve service delivery for 12,500 people in the 17 Sadiola Communities by facilitating the participatory design of a social mine closure strategy.

 

Convening the affected local and national stakeholder groups to jointly design and implement an integrated strategy is expected to minimize and mitigate the inherent negative socioeconomic impacts caused by the closure of the two mines, including the loss of access to essential infrastructure services such as the provision of water, on which the local population currently depend.

 

It is expected that lessons from this mine closure experience will be incorporated in other extractive companies' community investment strategy in order to improve up-front planning on exit strategies.    

 

Activities to Date:

1 - Scoping and Diagnostic (Completed January 2010)

A.    Identification of the indirect social impacts and needs generated by mine closure of both Yatela and Sadiola on the 17 villages and the associated perceptions and expectations in the communities. This assessment was carried out using both household sample surveys and village meetings, incorporating representation from village chiefs, women, youth and other relevant groups such as entrepreneurs in the impacted communities. 

B.     Conducted capacity assessment of local communities to engage in post-mine closure planning and perceptions assessment of process.

C.     Mapped risks and opportunities

 


During the mission, the team reviewed the findings of the community engagement process. Key issues identified by the communities regarding the potential mine closure include: (i) Degradation of land (as a result of mining) and future land use; (ii) Loss of local employment; (iii) Drop in income generating activities; (iv) Sustainability of potable water supply system; and (v) Massive loss in flora (as a result of mining and influx of people) and future land use.