Broad-based community support is essential for the long term sustainability of our business. We believe in involving community members in decisions that affect them, which in turn helps us develop a more honest, two-way and mutually beneficial relationship with our host community. Hence, listening to community concerns and expectations regarding our business and engaging with them throughout the lifecycle of the mine forms the foundation of our approach. As a result, the Company was able to better manage social impacts, risks and opportunities that arise from our operation.
Prior to start of our operation and before undertaking any new project, we conduct socio-economic baseline studies, impact and risk assessments to determine both positive and negative impacts of our operation on the community. Based on these, we devise individual plans to mitigate any adverse impacts associated with our activities and at the same time support any positive impacts to contribute to the development of the region. Specifically, our community directed management plans include: Public consultation and disclosure plan, Resettlement action plan, Grievance management plan, Cultural heritage management plan, Economic and physical displacement management plan and Community health and safety management plan.
In addition, through our community investments we seek to deliver long term sustainable outcomes for the community by empowering local people to develop independently of the Company’s continued support when our mining activity ceases.
Community development programs
In addition to improving the local infrastructure of Tsogtsetsii soum, MMC strives to make a positive contribution towards sustainable development of the region. Hence, our community development programs are designed to support the broader development opportunities and overall sustainability of the local communities. We implement various community development programs focusing on employment creation, increasing access to health and education, promoting local business development, and cultural heritage preservation. These areas of focus were determined based on priorities and needs of our stakeholders and is in line with our long-term corporate strategy that seeks to balance profit with development considerations to ensure sustainable profitable growth. Through our Community health support program, the Company seeks to eliminate negative impacts on community health and safety and, where possible, make a positive contribution. Every year we organize complimentary health check-ups and health awareness building trainings among the community members. The loss of cultural heritage is often viewed as a necessary consequence of economic and social development and Mongolia too is relying on the rich mineral resources of the Gobi region to fuel its economic development. Hence, MMC is firmly committed in protecting and preserving both tangible and intangible cultural heritage of this region through its Cultural heritage preservation program. We conduct pre-construction archaeological surveys and have in place programs to protect intangible cultural heritage of the local community. These include organizing Mongolian traditional long song training and contest and supporting the use of our traditional ‘Uigarjin’ script among the younger generation.
Our Local education support program aims to enhance the quality of educational system at various levels across the soum as well as the Umnugobi aimag. By improving the quality of education at soum and provincial level, the company intends to make large scale contribution to the sustainable local development and ease pressure on public services. It seeks to support educational activities at different levels from pre-school to vocational education both nationally and locally. Therefore, this program benefits wide range of stakeholders and has the potential to make a lasting sustainable impact through capacity building. Furthermore, our Local SME development program seeks to support local small and medium size enterprises in the South Gobi region with the aim of increasing the positive impacts associated with our mining operation in order to promote the sustainable economic development of the region.
Social infrastructure development
Prior to commencement of our Ukhaa Khudag mining project, the Tsogttsetsii soum, an administrative unit of the Umnugobi aimag in which we operate, used to be one of the least developed areas of the Gobi region with limited basic infrastructure. Since 2009, we undertook several important infrastructure development projects which had a significant role in raising the quality of life in the rural Gobi.
In 2012, the “Muruudul” school, kindergarten and dormitory complex, which the Company committed to jointly invest with the Umnugobi aimag administration, was commissioned and began its first academic term in September 2012. The complex can accommodate 700 students (school), 144 children (kindergarten) in a single shift and has a dormitory for 100 children. MMC is also financing the establishment of the “Tsetsii Town”, a residential town in Tsogttsetsii soum, to cater for the demands of modern housing from our employees and the community members. While providing comfortable living conditions for the mine employees resettling in South Gobi, the new project addresses broad base social and economic issues of the area and has established the foundation of a community that will be sustainable in the long term. All 3 phases of the apartment complex are already complete, and provide more than 500 families with comfortable housing.