As part of its CSR roadmap , Eramet has formalized its ambition of "becoming a valued and contributing partner to its host communities". To achieve this, the Group has committed to implementing at all of its sites by 2023:
- a mechanism for dialog with local stakeholders
- an investment program contributing to local development, with a focus on youth initiatives
Controlling societal risks and impacts
Preventing risks and managing the impacts inherent in mining and metallurgy activities is a fundamental aspect of the relationships with local populations. By following international benchmark standards, Eramet has developed many tools to identify, assess and control the societal impacts of its operations. Risks concerning the health, safety and security of communities, cultural heritage and populations' standard of living are assessed in particular.
Through consultations, local communities are included in defining and implementing risk control measures adapted to the sites concerned. This is particularly the case when land acquisitions are made from populations, with a relocation plan being defined in collaboration with the individuals affected. This defines the most suitable compensatory measures, as well as long-term support for these individuals to ensure their quality of life is maintained or improved.
Risk prevention by Setrag (Gabon)
Since 2017, Société d'exploitation du Transgabonais (Setrag), a subsidiary of Eramet, has conducted a major communication campaign to raise awareness about the risk of collisions among the local population. This includes:
- broadcasting ads on national television and radio ads in several local languages
- presentations and the distribution of explanatory comics to schools in towns that the railway passes through
- the introduction of direct interactions in areas identified as the most at risk
Tens of thousands of people have now been educated on the subject.
In terms of community safety, Setrag organized a communication campaign in Gabon in 2019 to raise awareness among the population, in particular young people, of the risks of collisions with trains. In 2020, GCO also educated more than 1,000 people living in the vicinity of the mine about road safety and the risks associated with the roads that the company and the people share.
Conversing with communities
From the activities of sites to environmental risks and societal impacts, Eramet and its subsidiaries ensure they inform and consult with local populations on an ongoing basis. Conducted in compliance with local legal obligations and drawing on the highest international standards, this work takes a variety of forms, including holding public information meetings or open-doors days, written publications, public consultations and setting up joint committees.
For sites that develop new activities, the information and consultation processes are essential for presenting the characteristics of projects and involving communities in defining measures to control the impacts that affect them.
- Nearly 60% of the sites – including all of the mining sites and projects – held regular dialog with host communities in 2020.
- In 2018, 50% of the Group's mining and industrial entities organized visits to their sites for local residents during open-doors days or celebrations.
In New Caledonia, three community relations offices were opened by SLN in Houaïlou, Kouaoua and Thio in March 2020, modeled on the first office inaugurated in 2019 in Koné. All four locations offer information about the company, its activities and programs, with the opportunity to speak with an agent from the CSR team. They aim to increase the quality and frequency of exchanges, as close as possible to the population throughout the country.
Local complaint management mechanisms
More than half of the Group's sites (including the mining sites in Gabon, Senegal and the project in Argentina) have introduced a mechanism for receiving and processing local residents' complaints.
100% of mining sites have a complaints management mechanism that complies with IFC (International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group) expectations.
SLN's dialog overhauled
In New Caledonia, the SLN program promoting proactive dialog with local stakeholders, deployed in 2019, was extended in order to explain and support the new SLN model and co-construct its initiatives. Numerous meeting rituals were organized with municipal teams, traditional leaders, young people and associations (in Poum, Poro, Kouaoua, Koumac in particular). In some areas, however, these efforts were not sufficient to build trust and avoid blockages. In this context, SLN has initiated internal work to strengthen its societal strategy, which should be completed at the start of 2021.
Contributing to local development priorities
Eramet has set itself a clear goal: to transition from an approach of limiting and providing compensation for the impact of its activities to a partnership and contributory approach. The goal is to ensure our activities generate net benefits for local populations. Dialog work is therefore key to collectively identifying the local development priorities that can be backed by community investment programs.
In 2020, the Group's entities carried out over 140 contributory actions through sponsorship or by setting up partnerships.
In particular, Eramet's mining sites continued their efforts in the areas of health, communal infrastructures, sport and education primarily, as well as support for vocational training and the local economy.
Work on formalizing the community investment strategies is continuing at the mining sites, the goal being to enhance the positive impact of the many actions already undertaken.
For example, in new Caledonia, SLN helped to set up communal facilities by financing drinking water supply works and cultural infrastructures for the Koumac town hall, as well as the renovation of the sports center for the commune of Thio (South province). In Gabon, Comilog recently contributed to the renovation of 95 classrooms at seven schools in the town of Moanda, benefiting over 8,000 pupils. Meanwhile, Setrag has continued its efforts in health by providing free consultations and healthcare for local residents at the seven health centers on the railway line, spread across around 600 km, alongside its sponsorship initiatives for the stations' medical centers.
The Group conducted over 140 partnership and sponsorship actions in 2020.
Breakdown of spending by area of action in 2020
- 44% Health (including Covid solidarity)
- 22% Education
- 14% Infrastructure
- 8% Sports
- 6% Economy and local life
- 3% Culture and environnement
- 2% Local life
In 2018, the Group contributed €7.4m to local communities (versus €6m in 2017). The main beneficiary was Gabon, with 83% of the Group's spending.