This week has seen much activity both in Yaoundé and at site relating to ongoing Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) baseline studies in and around the project area.

Our partners ESS (Environmental and Social Sustainability) have supported the project from early on, and are managing the ESIA delivery. ESS have provided important inputs throughout the project development phase, identifying and managing key Health, Safety, Environment and Communities (HSEC) risks associated with a Tier-1 bauxite asset. Having the support of their in-country and Africa-based HSEC managers has been one of the reasons we have been able to move quickly after COVID-19 restriction to capture wet season baseline data. In particular, we recognise the efforts of Roger Kouokam from ESS, who has been leading the quality control of the fieldwork.

Currently we have a contingent of national and international biodiversity specialists in the field examining the flora and fauna of the project area. We are proactively identifying any significant plant and animal species in the area in line with international standards such as the IFC Performance Standard 6 so that they can be appropriately managed.

A separate team of socio-economists is also visiting villages and hamlets within the overall area of interest for the project. This is essential for identifying what potential impacts our activities will have on communities, so that we can ensure mitigation measures contribute to local, regional and national development plans. A solid baseline will also allow us to chart improvements in socio-economic conditions over time, demonstrating how we contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Cameroon-based Camalco team have also been central to supporting the arrival of international and national specialists, who have been safely travelling to site via train and while respecting stringent COVID-19 measures. Well done team! J