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Photo credit: B2Gold Corp

ERM mining client, B2Gold Corp (B2Gold), was awarded the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2021 Sustainability Award – the second time in four years that ERM’s work has been recognized by PDAC.

The 2021 Award was for B2Gold's exemplary resettlement and community development work in the Village of Fadougou, located adjacent to the Fekola Gold Mine project in Mali. PDAC is the leading voice of the world’s mineral exploration and development community, with a global membership of more than 7,200 companies. ERM has been an active PDAC member for more than 10 years.

When B2Gold acquired the rights to the Fekola Project in 2014, the village of Fadougou was located immediately adjacent to the proposed main mine pit and on the edge of the safe blasting perimeter (500 meters from the pit). The relocation of Fadougou was not a requirement of the mine permit and mine construction, however, the proximity of the village to the mine posed potentially significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts to the community and its members. While these impacts could be reduced to acceptable levels through the implementation of various mitigation measures and programs, the proximity of the village to the mine presented the opportunity to improve the lives of the people of the village of Fadougou by relocating the village and investing with the community in their long-term social and economic development.

B2Gold commenced extensive engagement with government and community stakeholders, in order to study and discuss the possibility of resettling the community. For the village of Fadougou, relocation presented an opportunity to improve economic and social well-being, diversify economic activities, improve infrastructure and access to services, and provide a range of educational and training opportunities, and this became the challenge and goal for B2Gold and for the Fadougou community.

ERM was hired by B2Gold to manage the resulting resettlement process, from its inception (i.e., the decision to resettle the village) through negotiations, compensation, the physical relocation of all 1,000 households to their new village, and the delivery of supportive programming along the way.  The process was highly collaborative, with significant participation from those most affected throughout its planning and implementation, including formation and ongoing deliberations of a formal, multi-stakeholder negotiation committee and extensive day-to-day interaction between villagers and team members.

The end result embodies this collaborative spirit and – due to the efforts of B2Gold, ERM and village residents, as well as many other stakeholders – the Village of New Fadougou is well positioned for sustainable social and economic development for long after the life of the mine. Navigating complicated social challenges, such as a resettlement process, is critical to our clients’ overall ESG performance, as they look to build stronger relationships with indigenous and local communities and deliver more concrete socioeconomic benefits.

This project shows the value that strong stakeholder engagement brings to building trust and maximizing shared value."

Graeme Burt

Partner, ERM

Graeme Burt

Partner, ERM