Given the significant presence and impact of the extractives industry in the countries of our region ABV has begun to partner with the sector to support their community development programs. While always undertaking rigorous due diligence, ABV takes the view that by keeping community interests at the centre, ABV can add value to the design and delivery of resource sector programs and maximise community benefit.

In late 2016, ABV began working with Brisbane-headquartered copper and gold producer, PanAust. PanAust supports community development initiatives at its operational and major exploration sites with the goal of helping local communities to develop sustainable socio-economic livelihoods that will continue beyond the life of the mine.

In November 2016 two long-time ABV volunteers; Christina Raddatz and Anthony Sim choppered into the Frieda River region of Papua New Guinea (PNG) for a three week scoping assignment. In this mountainous and remote area in the north-west of the country, PanAust is currently in the pre-development phase of its Frieda River Copper-Gold Project.

As part of its community outreach process, PanAust is working closely with the local landowners so that they are included in, and benefit from, the project. Anthony and Christina’s role was to undertake a preliminary assessment of the potential for small business development projects focused on assisting landowners in villages close to the Project.

Over a very busy three weeks the two volunteers visited 12 separate villages conducting meetings and interviews with community leaders. The result was a report on the prospects for small business development in the communities within the project area. The report includes information about potential business opportunities, existing business facilities in the area as well as recommendations about business training requirements.

The Frieda River Copper-Gold Project is still in the planning stages and is yet to be approved by the PNG authorities. However, if and when the project goes ahead, this report will be a valuable tool when working with PanAust on the design of a long-term community development plan.

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