In addition to compliance with national mining and environmental legislation, Chaarat is committed to meeting the expectations of good international industry practice, including recommendations set out by the IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability.
Chaarat co-hosts an annual Kyrgyz Investment Forum in London with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to promote the benefits of doing business in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Chaarat Zaav’s Deputy Director, Turat Usubaliev, agrees a “social package” of support with the local communities in the immediate vicinity (c. 30km) around the Chaarat deposit every year. He does this through the Community Consultation Group (CCG) we established in 2013 which ensures participation from all sections of the local communities.
Our priority is to ensure the support provided is invested according to the priorities of the local communities and for the greatest benefit of the majority of the population. In 2017, Chaarat Zaav and the Chatkal district Administration signed a Memorandum with the Kanysh-Kiya and Chatkal Ayil Okmotu (Rural Councils), aimed at providing support to the local residents in the priority areas of employment and education, transport and infrastructure development, medical treatment, and recreational activities. We are pleased that our successful implementation of the social package was rewarded by letters of appreciation from both Okmotus as well as the Akim who is the Government appointed head of the Chatkal district administration.
We have a regional office in the Chatkal district at Kanysh-Kia which logs all comments and complaints received from local residents and our staff work on resolving the identified issues. The office is also responsible for informing the local community about the activities of Chaarat, including employment opportunities, so maintaining our licence to operate as we develop the Tulkubash Project.
During the year, the Chatkal District Administration organised public hearings attended by representatives of eight mining companies operating in the Chatkal district. At the hearings, our representatives presented a report on the work completed in 2016, including implementation of the 2016 Memorandum; and also informed the public about Chaarat’s plans for 2017.
We continue to be fully committed to ensuring the highest standards of health and safety, as well as taking all precautions for the protection of the environment, and at the same time respecting local culture.
Employment and education
In 2017, 139 employees from the local community worked at the Chaarat deposit during the field season, including 39 employees hired by the Company directly and 100 people working for contractors as drill rig operators, assistant drill operators, samplers, ditchers and labourers.
Council members from both Okmotus visited the Chaarat site in the summer on a fact-finding mission about the activities of the Company and to discuss the provision of jobs for the local residents with contracted organisations engaged in geological exploration and drilling. We continued our programme of summer placements for the geology and mining students we sponsor through their studies. We also provided financial support for a new school in Aigyr-Zhal. Small wholesale shops in Kanysh-Kiya and Jany-Bazar villages operate successfully providing the local residents with groceries at wholesale prices. We helped with the purchase of fuel and lubricants for a vehicle to supply the shops as well as the purchase of wheat seeds.
Transport & Infrastructure
The Chaarat deposit is approximately 300km south west of the capital, Bishkek. From Bishkek, the property is accessed via a combination of approximately 800km of paved and unpaved roads. During the summer an alternative route provides access at a distance of approximately 520km from Bishkek.
The remoteness of the location means that transport and infrastructure are high priorities for the local communities. We have therefore provided assistance through the construction and repair of roads in the Chatkal district, contributed to the design of a suspension bridge at Kanysh-Kiya and the repair of a bridge used by cattle herders, purchased a vehicle for the use of the local council and provided fuel and lubricants for the equipment clearing the Karabuura pass.
We sponsor medical students since there continues to be a shortage of doctors and medical facilities in rural communities. The Kanysh Kia and Chatkal rural councils requested our help with the provision of medical treatment to residents (mainly orphans and the elderly) which we were glad to provide. We also refurbished medical stations at Korgon-Sai and Kurulush villages.
We continue to provide gifts to children and elderly residents at holidays and local celebrations, including World Children’s Day and New Year. During 2017 the children in Jany-Bazar were able to improve their wrestling skills courtesy of a coach provided by Chaarat in the sports hall we built in the village. We also purchased equipment such as portable radio sets and sponsored regional sporting events and tournaments.