Our original stakeholder mapping and group identification, which included the development of a stakeholder engagement plan, was determined during the project’s environmental and social impact assessment process. Stakeholders are identified by their potential impact (direct or indirect) by the project and their relationship to the overall project area. To date, our main stakeholder community populations includes Mogoraib, Adibrhim, Jimel, Aderat, and Tekreret. We engage regularly with these local communities because their concerns and feedback are important to us.
The BMSC Social Responsibility Policy includes a commitment to actively consult with local communities to identify and resolve environmental and social issues. Seven Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) are situated in nearby villages to provide local residents with general information and operations updates regarding the Bisha Mine, to discuss issues or discuss any complaints and to facilitate job applications. BMSC engages on a regular basis with the Sub Zoba Dighe Administration (including the Ministry offices for Agriculture and Health), Gash Barka Regional Administration Office; and National Government stakeholders, including those Ministry offices which have permitting, approval, and monitoring function of the Bisha Mine, also are represented by the Impact Review Committee (IRC). In addition, the Company plays an active role in local and national events, such as the Eritrean Independence Day celebrations, Annual Woman’s Day, and the 2014 Eritrean Expo.
Our community relations department maintains a record of stakeholder engagement activities including response to their concerns. Of particular importance in 2014, was the revitalization of the Information Update Committee (IUC) meetings which have improved stakeholder engagement with the Bisha Mine. IUC meetings have further encouraged stakeholder community representatives to share their ideas and concerns with the Company’s senior management. In 2015, these meetings are expected to become more involved, as the engagement using the IUC meeting process develops further.
Other specific community engagement successes in 2014 include:
- Our Community Relations department worked closely with the exploration team and affected community members in the Harena area to reschedule portions of the drilling program until such time as crops located on drill targets could be harvested. This cooperation resulted in mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties.
- More than ten meetings and two site visits were conducted in regards to a small cemetery relocation. As a result of these respectful communication efforts, the Company was granted permission to relocate forty-three graves to a community graveyard outside of the BMSC property lease boundary. Sub Zoba administration bodies, religious leaders, and influential community leaders in collaboration with relatives of the deceased, fully participated in the process. This ensured that various cultural considerations and perspectives were respected and that appropriate religious ceremonies were conducted in conjunction with the cemetery relocation.