India : Safeguarding The Community
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Our policy is to hire and train local people and to source goods and services locally and in-country as much as possible.

As is industry practice, we also compensate landowners for any cropland taken out of production by roads and drill sites; and for any losses that might be inadvertently sustained through our activities.

We consult continuously with the community and its institutions in order to identify pressing community needs that might be addressed efficiently by a joint effort. We work with local authorities and people on housing, education, health and safety, transportation and potable water.

At Askot and in the Pithoragarh District as a whole, unemployment and poverty are terrible problems. There is little industry and few products are shipped out. For years it has been a "money order" economy; the young men leave for jobs in the plains and send money home.

Of about three dozen direct employees at Askot and Pithoragarh, all but three are from the local area. Many others are involved as contractors or suppliers.

A modern metals mine at Askot will have an enormous beneficial effect on the wellbeing of the community. It will provide many well-paid professional, technical and labouring jobs, and even more in transport and local goods and services. As with most mining developments, it will bring added health care and educational facilities to the region.

At Askot we estimate at least 400 direct jobs in the mine, mill and transporting concentrates to the railhead. Canada has considerable experience with mines in remote locations and finds that each direct job generally creates 5 indirect jobs supplying goods and services to the mine and to the workers. This implies another 2,000 indirect jobs in the Askot area and the Pithoragarh District.

"Sustainable mining" has become a buzz word lately. At first it sounds like an oxymoron, an impossibility given that the ore will eventually become depleted. However it means that when the mine becomes exhausted it will be decommissioned and its surroundings reclaimed to fit with the needs of the community; and that workers and other stakeholders will be left with training and skills to survive and prosper.

(January 1, 2009)

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