Lucara’s contributions to the development of our host community goes beyond creation of jobs, generating taxes and payment of royalties, described in the Economic Performance section. We also strengthen entrepreneurial and other important community infrastructure in collaboration with the Lundin Foundation and other development partners.
Lucara is a contributing partner to the Lundin Foundation, the community investment arm of the Lundin Group of Companies. We contributed CAN $400,000 to the fund in 2017. Due to the planning and engagement processes involved, these funds are typically spent on community projects in the subsequent year. The Lundin Foundation (www.lundinfoundation.org) designs and manages community investments across four pillars: resource governance, education/skills training, local procurement, and economic diversification. We also made additional charitable donations of CAN $110,000.
During the reporting period, we continued to support our flagship community investment projects, comprising the abattoir in Letlhakane and the Karowe Emerging Entrepreneur Fund (KEEF).
The upgraded Letlhakane Abattoir was built in partnership with the Central District Council and started operation in mid-2016. It forms a critical element in the locally important livestock value chain and associated livelihoods. We continued to assist the abattoir through technical assistance and training to improve its efficiency.
The KEEF program provided loans and advisory support to a series of micro-entrepreneurs. These ranged from goat farming, to brick manufacturing and various other trades, all creating new local job and business opportunities.
However, the Botswana government’s plans to privatize abattoirs and insufficient loan repayments, which undermines KEEF’s ability to support the next generation of beneficences will require us to adjust our strategy for 2018 and beyond.
A new initiative – the Karowe Village Initiatives (KVI) – will be implemented in 2018. KVI will comprise the development of three sustainable community-owned initiatives: a commercial goat farm in Khwee; a horticulture project in Mokubilo; and a hardware store in Mmadikola. It is envisioned these initiatives will be operated as community societies or trusts.
We are also contributing to the financing and development of the new Lesedi La Rona multi-purpose sports complex. The concept and feasibility studies were completed in 2017. The required land has been identified and detailed design and engineering are expected to commence in early 2018, with construction to commence in 2019.
In 2017, we continued to support best performing pupils in mathematics, science, English and extra curricula activities by donating approximately US$1,800 in support of award ceremonies at seven junior secondary schools and one senior secondary school near our Karowe operation. Other donations in 2017 included a donation of a photocopying machine to the Boteti Sub-District education department, building a bus shelter, and various community events.