Mining lease renewal is testament to Gem Diamonds’ sustainable development contribution to Lesotho

Back

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Gem Diamonds recent mining lease renewal at Letšeng, granted by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, signalled the continuation of a long-standing, mutually beneficial partnership between the Company and the people of Lesotho.   The renewal was also a firm endorsement of Gem Diamond’s long standing and very significant economic and social contribution to the country.

Gem Diamonds continues to invest millions of dollars in corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives. Infrastructure development was recorded as the category receiving the most investment as a result of the Letšeng Dairy Project, the construction of classrooms and a footbridge in Pae-la-Itlhatsoa, as well as the construction of a police station in Phutha-lichaba.

At the opening ceremony for the footbridge and Chief’s office at Pae-la-Itlhatsoa, the Hon Minister of Mines recently commented. “I am very proud of the Letšeng mine. Of all mines in this country, Letšeng is the only one that that sticks to the promises and commitments it makes to the public.” He added, “I so wish other mines could learn from Letšeng, that it is a great thing to work well with the communities”.  The Minister concluded by saying of Gem Diamonds, “..they truly are part of this community.”

Gem Diamonds recognises its responsibility to support the well-established cultures and social structures in the local community surrounding its operations.  The Letšeng mine is in a complex socio-economic environment that existed before Gem Diamonds was present and will continue to exist long after the full life span of its operations.  The local community is directly represented on the Letšeng Board’s CSI committee by two members who are appointed by the community.

Gem Diamonds therefore employs a comprehensive approach to community engagement, informed by specific social and environmental impact assessments (SEIA) and community need analyses. The SEIAs and community needs analysis are informed by extensive public participation, host country legislation and international best practice guidelines such as the World Bank Equator Principles and the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Performance. The SEIAs involve biodiversity surveys, soil, water and air quality studies, and our communities are closely involved from inception, in order to minimise negative impacts and identify opportunities for positive outcomes.

Gem Diamonds is a constituent of the FTSE4 Good Index Series.

 

The Pae-la-Itlhatsoa footbridge

 

The Police Station

The Chief's office