In February 2017, Nick Gorshenin and Shane Wise flew to the Indonesian island of Halmahera to conduct a scoping project associated with PT Nusa Halmahera Minerals’ Gosowong gold operation.

PT Nusa Halmahera Minerals (NHM) is an Indonesian company majority owned by ASX-listed miner Newcrest.

ABV is partnering with the Newcrest given its approach to building enduring relationships with host communities ‘based on recognition and respect for human rights, trust and active partnerships’. Newcrest believes that community engagement and development is critical to maintaining the company’s licence to operate and ensuring that communities benefit from its operations.

Based on existing reserves, it is estimated that mining at Gosowong will continue for several years, subject to a variety of economic and operational factors. At the same time, the miner is committed to working with the community to plan for eventual closure, with a key aim being to assist the local community build self-sufficiency regardless of the mine’s future. A strong small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is widely understood as an important contributor to sustainable economic growth.

Following dialogue with Newcrest and community representatives ABV designed the scoping assessment which was undertaken by Nick and Shane. The goal of the study was to identify opportunities to sponsor sustainable SME development and assist in community training, particularly amongst young people and women in the villages closest to NHM, as well as in the North Halmahera region generally.

During a busy six week period Nick and Shane engaged with the mine’s CSR team, with many community leaders, university lecturers and other stakeholders, while also visiting local and regional markets and ports and government offices. The resulting report provides recommendations about SME capacity building in sectors including integrated farming, fisheries, and tourism, as well as other initiatives that might lead to SME development in the region outside these core areas. Importantly the report also provides a number of recommendations about areas in which Newcrest can design and provide programs within the community, as well as areas which business volunteers could contribute, and so will also provide the basis for future potential ABV assignments in the area.

Australian Business Volunteers