Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Cominco places the highest priority on the health and safety of its employees, respect for the environment, and active engagement with the local communities in which it operates. Cominco continually strives to improve strategic CSR practices in open dialogue with employees, communities, and ROC Government.
At all times, Cominco endeavours to act as a good corporate citizen and the evolution of the Hinda Project reflects its commitment to social responsibility and sustainable development.
Cominco has undertaken a comprehensive, participatory, and independent assessment of community relations needs within its Licence Areas and is using these assessments as a basis to develop a coherent and effective Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) programme to cover the life of the Project with the ultimate objective of gaining a “Social License to Operate” from local stakeholders.
CSR Standards in Central Africa and ROC
ROC participates in a Central African initiative to establish CSR standards within the extractive industries with the support of the Central African Economic Community (“CEMAC”), which established six principles for regional CSR and reporting for extractive industry operators.
Cominco’s CSR policies incorporate these provisions, which are supported by President Sassou-Nguesso, the Ministry of Mining and other Government Ministries in the ROC.
Principle 1: Community dialogue and community development
Since the start of exploration activities, Cominco has engaged in open dialogue on local impacts with village authorities, traditional leaders, elected local officials, regional government representatives and the national government regarding the development of the Project.
Independent monitoring by local environmental consultancy CM2E and internationally recognised consultancy WSP serves to analyse potential project impacts and design appropriate mitigation measures. Cominco’s community development initiatives cover programmes on capacity building, social welfare, public infrastructure improvements, economic development activities, educational investment, and cultural support, among other initiatives. These programmes are designed to maximise current and future benefits for all stakeholders.
Principle 2: Respect for human rights and cultural diversity
Cominco is dedicated to protect the health and safety (“H&S”) of its employees on site and in the field. Cominco has established internal H&S regulations to address equipment and vehicle safety, disease prevention, as well as providing for medical care. To date there have been no major incidents or fatalities.
The CSR team extends project-related educational resources to local communities. This encompassed mining-related health and safety concerns, as well as improving health information access for the prevention of transmissible infections and parasitic illnesses.
Cominco strives to understand local traditions and to respect these at all times. Team members recognise the importance of cultural sensitivity, understanding that Congolese traditions are both unique and rich in their meaning and observance.
Principle 3: Increase local economic opportunities and local procurement
Currently, Cominco employs approximately 40 Congolese nationals in a diverse variety of roles. During the planned construction of mine and port facilities, Cominco anticipates a requirement to hire up to 1,000 employees on a fixed-term basis and thereafter, the permanent team employed at the Hinda Mine is planned to be approximately 500 strong.
Cominco provides training and access to external instructional programmes for its employees. Team members have been trained in a variety of areas that contribute both to the development of individuals and the Project. As the Project develops, Cominco will continue to enhance its team with continued employment, development and training opportunities.
Wherever possible, Cominco utilises local subcontractors for the provision of supplies and services. Cominco is at the forefront of establishing the mining industry in ROC. Until the industry is more mature and established, there may be a lack of relevant local expertise and equipment. Cominco will support the continued evolution of the mining industry in ROC and assist the establishment of a local infrastructure to more fully support its activities.
Principle 4: Respect for the environment and biodiversity
Cominco, in collaboration with CM2E and WSP, monitors local flora and fauna and conducts regular surveys of environmental conditions and local species within its Licence Areas. Regular reports are submitted to the local and national environmental authorities. Cominco’s ongoing ESIA programmes give a further detailed study of local species and the conservation needs in the Licence Areas. Cominco does currently not operate in any conservation zones.
Cominco is working in collaboration with CM2E to design programmes for the rehabilitation of local biodiversity at its operation sites, in collaboration with local inhabitants. Cominco supports local and national initiatives to promote environmental sustainability in the private sector and across the general public.
Cominco focuses on mitigating carbon emissions in its Project design and this is reflected in the design of the Hinda Mine and Port facilities.
Principle 5: Promotion of good governance
Cominco has always sought to be transparent in all aspects of its operations, and this has helped to foster good relations with Government authorities. Cominco is bound by some of the world’s strictest anti-fraud legislation and is committed to resist corruption in the private sector and to support the Congolese Government’s initiatives to improve fiscal legislation and promote responsible investment in the mining sector.
Cominco’s commercial transactions are strictly in line with all recognised and relevant standards, international and local laws. Annual audits are undertaken of the Company’s commercial activities in line with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) and local ROC legislation.
Principle 6: Regular CSR reporting
Cominco is committed to support the ROC’s programme to promote CSR across the extractive industries. The CSR team engages with the Ministry of Mines in regular meetings with international and national organisations and programmes.
Corporate Social Responsibility Committee
Cominco’s CSR Committee meets on a quarterly basis and is lead by the Company CSR Manager. The Committee is bound by the following duties:
Oversee Cominco’s mission to be a world-class phosphate producer whilst aiming to achieve the highest feasible standards of corporate social responsibility, environmental protection, community benefit and employee health and safety in order to achieve satisfactory return for investors and positive outcomes for all stakeholders.
Ensure that the company respects the rights of local people and the national development strategies of the host country, Republic of Congo.
Establish and maintain a sustainable ethical corporate culture within the company, to demonstrate Cominco’s strategies of operation, vision, decision-making and conduct, and overall mission; and in a way that reflects how the company treats its stakeholders on all levels.
Regularly assess the company’s ethics risk profile so that such risks can be monitored and addressed.
Assess, monitor, report and disclose the company’s CSR performance to support the relationship with internal and external stakeholders; Establish and update CSR policies that provide guidelines to company actions and development.
Promote good corporate citizenship within the company: support equality across staff teams, prevent unfair discrimination, zero tolerance for corruption, contribution to community development in the project areas; Record and report on sponsorships, donations and charitable initiatives.