Eurasian Resources Group partners with the Good Shepherd Sisters
Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), a leading diversified natural resources producer, is pleased to support the work of the Good Shepherd Sisters (“Good Shepherd”) and the Bon Pasteur Alternative Livelihood program via a Funding Agreement with the Fondazione Internazionale Buon Pastore Onlus.
Good Shepherd is implementing the Bon Pasteur Alternative Livelihood program at Kolwezi in Lualaba Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The goal of this program is to help break the cycle of violence and abuse against children and girls in artisanal mining communities and improve their living conditions. The organisation is particularly focused on supporting children who work in the mines and are involved in the worst forms of child labour.
The Funding Agreement will be implemented throughout 2017 and will enable an expansion of the Good Shepherd’s existing Alternative Livelihood program through ERG-Africa, the division of ERG. It will also help increase food production on farming cooperatives and thus boost food availability and revenues for those who participate in the program along with their extended families. Supporting alternative livelihoods is in line with the OECD’s and UNICEF’s recommendation to tackle child labour in the mines through addressing its root causes: extreme poverty and the lack of alternative livelihoods.
ERG is proud to be one of the largest cobalt, as well as copper, miners in the DRC and, while neither child labour nor artisanal mining form part of ERG’s operations, ERG recognises the role that it can play in supporting positive change across both the local and global cobalt industry. ERG-Africa already runs Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) processes in the regions surrounding its existing operations (Boss and Frontier) and at its regional centre at Lubumbashi. Through these existing programs, ERG-Africa has helped to provide support for local health care, farming and schooling.
Sr. Catherine Mutindi, the Good Shepherd Program Director in Kolwezi, said, “Good Shepherd believes in responsible transactions within the business community. Good Shepherd is committed to credible transformative, integrated community development with a particular focus on persons at the margins of the society, especially those in the artisanal mining communities in Kolwezi. A partnership with ERG, which is already committed to fight against the presence of women and children in artisanal mines, provides an added value to the Good Shepherd’s work in this area.”
Mr. Benedikt Sobotka, Group CEO of ERG, said, “The Sisters at Good Shepherd have been humbly and diligently working to break the cycle of child labour in the Kolwezi region of the DRC for some time. With ERG now entering the Kolwezi region with our RTR project, it is an ideal time for us to support this program. Insight from this partnership may also help us improve our existing community work at our Boss and Frontier Mine assets.”
Sr. Mutindi added, “Good Shepherd Kolwezi is very grateful for the privilege of this opportunity to partner with ERG and for this we say a big thank you. This funding partnership provides an opportunity to strengthen and improve Good Shepherd’s work in community development, human rights and, most importantly, child rights. We are grateful for the appreciation and acknowledgement of the Good Shepherd’s ongoing work in Kolwezi and we welcome this partnership with ERG with great interest. We look forward to a long-term engagement in co-learning as we partner to reduce the presence of women and children from the artisanal mines and explore alternative livelihoods for artisanal communities.”
Mr. Sobotka added, “I have great respect for the Good Shepherd team: both the Sisters and their local partners have dedicated a lot of time and hard work to helping others. By executing this Funding Agreement, we have opened the door to what I hope will be a rewarding and constructive partnership over the months and years to come.”
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DRC selects Fortescue to develop giant hydro project
Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC's) government said on Tuesday Fortescue Metals Group would develop the Grand Inga hydroelectric power project, including a 4,800-megawatt dam that has already been committed to Chinese and Spanish developers.
Fortescue to develop dams for world's largest hydroelectric project
Australia's Fortescue confirmed it was in talks with Congo to develop a series of dams that could become the world's largest hydroelectric project, but it said no formal binding agreement had been concluded.
Fortescue's involvement is the latest twist in Congo's decades-long quest to expand Inga, whose two existing dams - completed in 1972 and 1982 - have a combined installed capacity of nearly 1,800 MW.
The proposed expansion of six more dams would bring capacity to over 40,000 MW, roughly double the size of China's Three Gorges dam, currently the world's largest. Total development costs have been estimated at up to $80bn.
In 2018, a Chinese consortium that includes China Three Gorges Corporation and a Spanish consortium that includes AEE Power signed a deal with Congo's government to develop the third dam, known as Inga 3.
Ground has yet to be broken on Inga 3 because of questions over its financial viability. Alexy Kayembe De Bampende, President Felix Tshisekedi's top infrastructure advisor, said the project would now be led by Fortescue.
"Fortescue will be the sole operator for the entire Grand Inga (3 to 8). Chinese & co are welcome to join Fortescue," he told Reuters."There has been discussion between Chinese (Three Gorges) & AEE and (Fortescue) since last year to work together."
Three Gorges and AEE Power did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
DRC's Grand Inga green energy project will create hundreds of thousands of jobs
In a memorandum of understanding signed between Fortescue and Congo in September 2020, Fortescue "acknowledges the existing potential rights held on Inga 3 by third parties".
"In the event that, for any reason, such rights to develop Inga 3 become available, the government of the DRC undertakes to secure for Fortescue Future Industries an exclusive first option to develop Inga 3," it said.
A senior official at the government's Agency for the Development and Promotion of Grand Inga (ADPI), speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ADPI had not been involved in the talks with Fortescue.
Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest met Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Sunday to discuss the project. Forrest said Fortescue would use the energy from Inga to produce hydrogen to export around the world.
"The capital cost of this will be many many tens of billions of dollars and direct and indirect employment will be in the hundreds of thousands," he told reporters.
Fortescue has said it plans to fund the majority of its green energy projects off its balance sheet, investing about $1bn a year of its own money.
Fortescue's statement was made in response to an article in the Australian Financial Review.
Meanwhile, Fortescue has teamed up with Hatch, Anglo American and BHP, to form a Green Hydrogen Consortium focused on ways of using green hydrogen to accelerate decarbonisation within their operations globally.