IAMGOLD glisters in Burkina, picked up by press

Thursday, 17 July, 2014

AllAfrica this week brings us news (French) of community work in Burkina Faso by Toronto-based Gold producer IAMGOLD, which is providing financial support to the Commune of Falagountou Gorom-Gorom for municipal development around its Essakane gold mine

In the opinion of the Mayor of Gorom-Gorom, Moussa Diallo, money from the mine will improve local living conditionsthrough the implementation of 7 projects. "We will invest 200 million CFA francs in education and access to drinking water,” he said (please excuse our poor translation).  Falagountou Mayor Abdoulaye Maiga Abou Dramane was similarly pleased, saying that his constituency planned to implement a further 10 projects. These include construction of a school with housing for teachers; the establishment of a communal radio station; improving infrastructure for livestock feed; supplying an ambulance; and the creation of income-generating activities for women. 

Both mayors thanked IAMGOLD and expressed the hope they would stay the course in their region. IAMGOLD CEO Gilles Ferlatte responded: "We want to ensure that once the mine operation has completed, that people can still benefit from the projects to be implemented. We operate a non-renewable resource. That is why we involve residents in decision making about their future.” 

He also highlighted the importance of a solid strategy for managing community relations. "Over the past three years, the CCME (the Essakane Mine Communications Committee) has tried to achieve its objectives… through a focused approach to communication that promotes the flow of information. The committee has improved the harmony of communication between the mine and its neighbours and has ironed out differences and created a climate of mutual trust.”

While this is one article only, and we’re not suggesting it tells the whole of the Essakane story, it does very neatly highlight the potential benefits to a company of a solid community relations plan and interventions based on assessments of community need. A set of measures are in place here  that appear to be welcomed by local communities who are now hoping in public forums that the mine sticks around; and it’s picked up by the regional and international press - and thence, of course, to you, Dear Reader. Oh for such a solid foundation for business everywhere there’s a productive hole in the ground.