Ghaghoo – Starting the journey to a sustainable future

The future of Gem Diamonds is inextricably linked with the future of our PACs. Our overarching aim, therefore, is to invest in their well-being in a manner that serves to nurture sustained social and economic benefit both during and beyond the life of a mine. This entails meeting the needs of the present while sustaining the ability of this generation and future generations to support themselves. This is the focus of the Ghaghoo Community Trust, which includes two trustees from our PACs and serves to implement community projects identified.

Supplying water to local communities is one of the vital initiatives that Ghaghoo undertook in the very early stages of the mine development. Due to the arid climate and desertous terrain, this effort has made a life-saving difference to those assisted. To date, Ghaghoo has provided water to four communities.

Boreholes were sunk in Molapo, Metsiamanong, Mothomelo and Gope. The Gope community receives treated water directly from the mining site and borehole water is used for animal consumption. While the borehole water for the Metsiamanong and Mothomelo communities was of a high quality, the water in the borehole at Molapo was too salty for human consumption. The community has therefore been provided with an on-site water treatment plant. Ghaghoo has taken responsibility for maintaining the plant and ensuring that water is in constant supply.

Meeting the basic health needs of our PACs is also an imperative for our organisation. In line with this, Ghaghoo launched a project whereby health workers travel to residents of the Gope community on a weekly basis, providing health care where needed. In addition to this, a school healthcare programme was initiated. Through the provision of a mobile clinic, our healthcare team will be able to travel to schools that do not benefit from healthcare services due to their remote location. Assistance will include physicals, audio and visual testing and treatment of day-to-day illnesses.

Another important focus for the Ghaghoo mine’s social investment programme was that of education. We see education as an investment in a better future for all, allowing individuals to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future for themselves and society as a whole.

In 2014, Ghaghoo adopted the Kaudwane Primary School in line with the Government of Botswana’s Adopt-ASchool initiative. Maintenance was done to the school’s ablution facilities and the generator was serviced, supplying electricity to the classrooms. We also sponsored a prize giving at the school to honour and encourage achievement in academic, sporting and cultural fields. With the assistance provided through these interventions, the school has seen a pleasing increase in their pass rates over the last few years.

The Trust also supports numerous other schools in our PACs by donating sporting equipment, as well as sponsoring prize giving ceremonies and prizes aimed at motivating students to fulfil their sporting and academic potential.

We also worked with Lephephe Primary School, located on the outer boundary of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, to assist in meeting their needs. A decision was made by the Trust to establish a vegetable garden in the Lephephe Primary School, erecting shade netting and installing irrigation, as well as providing an agricultural specialist to assist the school with successful management of the garden. The project has two main purposes: to educate the school children, who are heavily involved in the gardening and maintenance process, and to provide produce for the school and community, bringing vital nourishment to its pupils, and a source of income through sale of the produce. Ghaghoo also helped the Lephephe community by assisting with organising and upgrading the landfill site near the community. The infrastructure will provide better waste management as well as bring in a small amount of revenue for the community through recycling projects.

During 2015, the Mine Educational Tour initiative continued. The initiative aims to educate students on the mining industry, which is a part of their classroom curriculum, supplying a first-hand experience of a mining site and the mining process. The project has been a great success and preparations to include more schools going forward have been put in place.

LOOKING AHEAD

To ensure we make a sustainable difference in our PACs, we are focused on developing a CSI strategy that will make a difference today while crafting a lasting legacy long after our Ghaghoo mine has extracted its last diamond. In order to achieve this, we have engaged an independent contractor to conduct a comprehensive needs analysis, which will examine the specific needs of our PACs and formulate the most effective way of addressing them. This will ensure a sustainable relationship between Gem Diamonds and our affected communities for the years to come.

 
Ghaghoo Diamond Mine, Reverse Osmosis Plant.
Howard Madziba (Plumber) undoing a filter.
  Ghaghoo Diamond Mine, Lephephe primary school.
Students tending to the vegetable garden.
 
Ghaghoo Diamond Mine, Medical assistance
being supplied to the San Gope community.
  Ghaghoo Diamond Mine, Kaudwane Primary School.
Teacher, Mrs Otukile, teaches the
Standard 4 computer class.