The delivery of major long-term benefits to the local community is fundamental to the strategy of the Company. The work will be done directly by Fairtrade Mining rather than involving any third parties or traditional charities.
Both Richard Meads and Mohamed Turay are already involved with the establishment of a micro credit scheme in Kamakwie which provides short term loans to local people to allow them to set up independent small businesses.
Richard and Mohamed have also been instrumental in developing an adult literacy scheme in Kamakwie. The lessons learned from both schemes could readily be extended to the Kasasi area in tandem with other Company-driven community initiatives.
The initial aims at Kasasi are first to build a local school, since village children currently walk 12 miles each day to be educated. This will be followed by a medical centre both for Company workers and villagers. The community fund will also install qualified medical staff. A playground and football pitch are also on the 'building list'.
The actual cost of creating these facilities is relatively low, not just because local labour is cheap but also because the building materials will be produced as part of the mining process, namely timber from cleared land and bricks moulded from the alluvial clay of the mine pits.
This model, once deployed in Kasasi, will form a template for similar sympathetic and symbiotic operations in other Chiefdoms in the region. Whether these areas are mined sequentially or in parallel as part of a quickly expanding business is not yet known.
Fairtrade Mining believes that other Chiefs will actively encourage us to mine their area when they become aware of the benefits we are bringing to Kasasi.