Eramet and Gabon: an enduring partnership
Eramet has been operating in Gabon since 1953 via its subsidiary, Compagnie minière de l'Ogooué (Comilog), and since 2003 via Société d'Exploitation du Transgabonais (Setrag). Over the decades, these strong roots have led to the development of an ambitious employee policy. At the same time, the Group has made a decisive contribution to the country's economic development, both through its business activities as well as its support for numerous partnership and sponsorship projects.
A new milestone was reached in 2018. As part of its new CSR roadmap, Eramet has developed a program of long-term commitments, staggered over several years, in order to support the Gabonese communities located near its operations. One of the core components of this ambition is a special focus on young people.
In 2018, more than 80% of the 7.4 million euros that the Group devoted to social initiatives that year went to Gabon.
35 million euros have been pledged to local communities by Comilog for the 2018–2020 period. This money will help refurbish the main roads in Moanda, renovate 95 classrooms and 7 schools in Moanda, and improve local employability, among other initiatives.
In line with the Group's desire to focus on youth work, in 2018 Comilog and Setrag took steps to support nearly 12,000 young people in Gabon through internships, apprenticeship contracts and support for educational institutions.
Building community dialogue
Comilog engages in regular dialogue with local communities, particularly via village chiefs and neighborhood chiefs in Moanda. In order to redouble its social commitments, Comilog consulted with local stakeholders in 2018, with the goal of collectively identifying development priorities. The results of these discussions were incorporated into the three-year CSR plan launched in 2018. Additional consultations are being conducted to determine the major pillars of the new community investment strategy, which will take over from the three-year plan.
Making education a priority
In a country where 37% of the population is under 14, education is a crucial issue. Eramet subsidiaries support Gabonese youth in various ways (e.g. donations of school supplies and computer equipment, funding for classroom renovations, etc.). After the rehabilitation of five primary schools and two high schools in Moanda in 2019, five additional schools were rehabilitated in the neighboring towns of Bakoumba and Mounana in 2020. Comilog also fully subsidizes the Henri-Sylvoz school complex in Moanda, which has 1,450 students, from pre-primary to final year.
Pitching in where we're needed
Comilog and Setrag have leveraged this vital connection with Gabonese stakeholders in order to implement various projects and initiatives. Targeted programs include:
- Employment opportunities: an annual subsidy for the Ecole des Mines et de la Métallurgie de Moanda (E3MG), professional training programs in construction and civil engineering for 250 young people, a training and professional development center for the rail industry in Franceville, etc.
- Healthcare: funding for Marcel Abéké Hospital in Moanda (free care provided to company employees and their dependents, moderately priced care provided to neighboring communities), an HIV-AIDS program, free consultations and healthcare for neighboring communities in the seven health centers near the SETRAG rail line, etc.
- Sports: subsidies for the Mangasport associations (soccer, basketball, volleyball, judo, taekwondo, etc.), which benefit 800 association members, a majority of them young people.
- Infrastructure: refurbishments for the main roads in Moanda, free connections for hundreds of households to the Setrag electrical grid, refurbishments for public fountains, etc.
Comilog is also committed to biodiversity with the Lékédi park, managed by its subsidiary SODEPAL (Société d'Exploitation du Parc de la Lékédi). This unique 14,000 hectare secure wildlife park in Gabon plays an important role in raising environmental awareness and preserving biodiversity. It is indeed home to exceptional flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species such as the giant pangolin, golden cats, panthers, false gharials and more than a hundred species of birds.
The Park is particularly involved in the rehabilitation of primates and the reintroduction of Gabon's megafauna, thanks to a collaboration with the Aspinall Foundation and the Gabonese National Parks. As early as 2012, for example, it welcomed the only population of wild mandrills, whose social behavior is the subject of a study linked to the Mandrillus Project. Placed on the red list of threatened species by the IUCN, 7 wild dogs were also reintroduced into the Park after 25 years of absence in Gabon.
Since 2020, the Lékédi Biodiversity Foundation, jointly created by Comilog (Gabonese subsidiary of the Group) and Eramet, have provided the park with additional resources to preserve Gabon's biodiversity, rehabilitate orphan primates and develop scientific research through new partnerships.
Comilog' societal commitment in Gabon
In October 2020, an addendum to the mining agreement which binds Comilog and the Gabonese State enabled the creation of two CSR funds:
- a development fund for local communities matched by the Gabonese State, which will allow it to carry out local socio-economic and economic reconversion projects as provided for in the Mining Code. ;
- a CSR fund financed and implemented by Comilog, which will be entirely focused on key projects for the benefit of local populations.
These funds are entirely intended for the economic development of the country and the establishment of a strong social policy. These include actions in favor of employment and training or the development of infrastructures. The amount of the financing represents 2% of the operating income of the Gabonese subsidiary. "This major agreement is further concrete proof of the commitment of Comilog and the Eramet Group in the country. These funds will make it possible to further increase the economic benefits of our activities," says Léod-Paul Batolo, Director and CEO of Comilog.