Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), SRK Consulting, TTM Consulting and Yamedupi Solutions walked away with the International Association for Public Participation Southern Africa Project of the Year Award at a ceremony hosted by  IAIAsa and IAP2 at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. The award recognised work undertaken in the context of the innovative Amplats Alchemy project.

For SRK Consulting, which has been involved with Alchemy since inception, the Award is a vital recognition of the importance of sustainability in the mining sector and a solid confirmation of the fact that engagement, when handled in the context of partnerships and openness, can engender trust between the industry and its stakeholders.

Commenting on the Award, SRK Consulting’s Tim Hart said: “For SRK the Award demonstrates the value of purposeful teamwork involving the client and other consultants.  It is also recognises innovation, our commitment to honest and open engagement, and our willingness to walk a long road leading to real and sustained development in mine-linked communities.”

The project team comprises Amplats managers, community engagement and development specialists at corporate and mine levels, as well as several advising consultancies.  SRK, for example, has provided advisory services in the contexts of social baseline research, organisational design, development planning, stakeholder engagement and the establishment of development trusts.

Expanding on SRK’s involvement, Hart said: “We have advised and facilitated the stakeholder engagement process informing the Alchemy community empowerment and development approach.  With a team comprising the client and service providers we have planned and executed a step-wise engagement programme linked to phases of Alchemy design and implementation.  We have also worked with the team to pioneer tools and approaches to secure community-based participation in the design of the Community Development Trusts to be established at mines participating in Alchemy.”

Alchemy’s award-winning entry, entitled Alchemy: Sustainable Community Futures Beyond Mining Through Mining – Engagement leading to the Establishment of Community Development Trusts, will continue to highlight the successful application of community engagement in Africa’s mining sector.

Commenting on the Award, Louise Gardiner, IAP2 Southern Africa’s chairperson, said: “The Awards recognise projects that go the extra mile to empower stakeholders and involve them in the design of better solutions. The Alchemy project impressed the judges with its holistic approach in structuring Community Development Trusts with a long-term, sustainable view. It is a valuable model for the region, which other practitioners can now learn from and apply.”

The Project of the Year recognises excellence in the tools, techniques and efforts in public participation within a finite project framework. The Award forms part of the 2014 regional Core Value Awards for Excellence in Public Participation, hosted by IAP2 Southern Africa (IAP2 SA), the local affiliate of the International Association for Public Participation.

The Alchemy project started life in 2009 with the intention of developing mine communities which did not previously benefit from empowerment. Alchemy was created to assist with development and meaningful empowerment in benefit areas consisting of host communities situated close to Amplats mines in Mogalakwena, Rustenburg, Twickenham and Amandelbult (Tumela/Dishaba), and key labour-sending areas in Northwest, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape, Mozambique and Lesotho.

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