Lithium miner vows to leave a legacy with ambitious social policy

Albert Chavhunduka

Goromonzi and surrounding districts of Mashonaland East are set for transformation after Prospect Lithium Project mining company vowed to empower locals through “high-impact” community development initiatives.

This is part of a raft of measures that the company is rolling out, in accordance with its Corporate Social Responsibility Policy and strategy unveiled this past week.

“Prospect Lithium Project endeavours that all its CSR development initiatives should leave a sustainable and lasting legacy in the communities hosting its operations and country at large,” the company said in the policy.

“This will be our social licence for operating in our host communities,” it added.

The company engaged experts to carry out assesments, which resulted in the needs of communities being mapped as low, medium and high priority areas.

Unemployment, lack of skills and entrepreneurship training; incomplete or inaccessible health infrastructure and environmental degradation were identified as some of the high priority areas.

Others include inadequate secondary schools, lack of medication at local health facilities, poor infrastructure at primary schools as well as limited access to irrigation water and inadequate power supply.

“Prioritising the high impact projects that have capacity to transform the lives of the host communities, employees and country at large economically, socially and environmentally,” the company stated.

PLZ further said its CSR implementation strategy was guided by a strong policy and procedure which recognised that its business operations coexisted within unique socio-economic and political settings.

“Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe recognises that its minerals extraction and processing business operations exist in a socio-economic and political environment that should be managed,” PLZ said.

Already the company has invested in building a classroom block at the nearby Vhuta Primary School, with more social amenities in the pipeline.

The company, recently acquired by Chinese global firm Huayou Cobalt, has also prioritised the employment of local people from the district and province.

Prospective job seekers from Goromonzi District’s 25 wards and those from Mashonaland East province are being prioritised for up to 700 jobs to be created by the project.

Zimbabwe is banking on foreign direct investment, especially on mining, to achieve goals set out in the National Development Strategy (NDS1&2).

Government has set out to achieve a US$12billion Mining Economy by 2023.

The deal by Huayou, which bought out Australian investors, Prospect Resources, was worth US$422 million.

The investment is also set to boost the provincial GDP of Mashonaland East province, in line with Government’s devolution thrust.

Currently, construction work is being undertaken by contractors and will be commossioned in January next year while production will start in the mid-year.

The mine will produce 4.5 million tonnes of petalite and spodumene, which are lithium bearing minerals, at full production.

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