Gryphon Minerals, the then proponent of the Banfora Gold Project, contracted Plexus to assist with an ESHIA for a planned mining development prepared by another contractor. This entailed a review of the client’s stakeholder engagement approach and the conduct of a gap analysis against the IFC Performance Standards. Plexus also worked with the IFC, who was an equity investor in the project.
Plexus mobilised a bespoke team of international experts to advise the client on social baseline data collection, community health, stakeholder engagement, social investment, resettlement, relations with artisanal miners and compliance with the IFC Performance Standards.
Following a detailed review of the existing ESHIA, Plexus designed the consultation strategy for the project’s development phase and provided strategic support on social performance planning and social risk management. We also rewrote the social and health impact assessment sections of the development project’s ESIA due to be submitted to the Burkinabé Ministry of Environment.
Plexus reviewed available data relating to the project area and carried out a series of focus group meetings with local communities, alongside key informant interviews with regional and national governmental stakeholders and NGOs to evaluate stakeholder awareness and understanding of the project. We also commented on the project’s resettlement action plan. Emphasis was placed on designing the project’s stakeholder engagement and social risk management strategy – the plan to meet international standards as well as advising the client on delivery of benefits to local communities, water resource management and social investment.
Plexus delivered strategic advice on social risk management, stakeholder engagement, and strategic social investment. We also integrated the social and health aspects of the EIA with the environmental issue analysis and provided timely recommendations for the project to proceed and comply with IFC and Equator Principle requirements. This input was critical to ensuring the project’s licence to operate and access to project finance.
The project demonstrated the importance of an early start and of carefully selecting consultants with the right capabilities. It also demonstrated the need for active and on-going supervision and/or for hiring an independent social performance expert to advise the project manager, particularly in socially complex project settings.