Trio wins inaugural African development awards

OVERNIGHT the Australia-Africa Minerals & Energy Group held its AAMEG Africa Awards ceremony, as part of the Africa Down Under 2020 conference in Perth, with Orion Minerals, Base Resources and Geodrill taking out the gongs. 
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AAMEG's Muza Gondwe and Orion's Denis Waddell

Haydn Black

Reporter

The awards were designed to "celebrate visionary approaches to environmental, social and governance which deliver long term benefits for communities" by improving employment, health, education, and environmental conservation across the continent.
 
They set a benchmark for mining companies looking to help develop deposits in Africa, ensuring they deliver sustainable and tangible benefits to local communities, AAMEG said.
 
Orion scored the inaugural Emerging ESG Leader Award for its "innovative and pioneering" work it has undertaken to support of its bankable and shovel-ready Prieska copper-zinc project in South Africa's Northern Cape Province.
 
AAMEG said Orion had implemented world-class ESG initiatives at the exploration-feasibility stage, earning its local licence to operate and proving that small companies could inspire positive change at a government, regional and community level.
 
AAMEG said Orion had "almost single-handedly put junior mining back on the South African national agenda" even before producing its first metal at Prieska.
 
Orion chairman Denis Waddell said one of his aims was to inspire a new generation of emerging mining companies.
 
"We decided right from the outset that we need a social licence to operate," he said. 
 
"By turning the traditional mining approach to ESG on its head, we have shown the value of meaningful connections and insisting that ESG is a business and moral imperative."
 
Base Resources was recognised with the Best Innovation In Corporate Social Development Award.
 
The mineral sands miner operates the Kwale operation in Kenya, and is seeking to progress the undeveloped Toliara project in Madagascar. 
 
Its CSD policies are built around four key pillars: livelihood improvement, community infrastructure, community health and education, with its COVID-19 response programs being recognised with the award.
 
TSX-listed Geodrill scored the award for Best Workforce And Industry Development Initiative. 
 
The 22-year old company has over 60 rigs operating across Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, and Zambia.
 
It won the award for its Ghana-based drill rig manufacturing program designed for the African terrain, and manufactured with local labour.