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Africa: Alchemy community empowerment initiative

Anglo American Platinum appointed SRK as part of the team of consultants, managers and line function specialists at corporate and mine levels, to provide advisory services to the Alchemy project. The objectives of the project are to facilitate meaningful community development that will outlast mining at four of the company’s South African operations, and to assist with community development in distant areas which are a source of labour. The initiative has several ground-breaking elements: community shareholding in Anglo American Platinum itself, which makes the participating communities the third-largest Anglo American Platinum shareholder; establishing locally-based development trusts, co-designed with community representatives, and providing significant community representation on the Boards of Trustees. This innovative model allows for a cashless transfer of shares, an immediate flow of funds from dividends and other sources, and an integrated development planning process led by the development trusts.

SRK’s advisory services include social baseline research, organisational design, development planning, stakeholder engagement and setting up development trusts. The SRK team has been involved since the initiative began in 2009.

Alchemy has won wide recognition as an innovative development model for potentially sustainable community empowerment, with applications in South Africa and beyond. Clearly, Alchemy represents a different and positive way of engaging with government and communities around community development.

Alchemy received two awards from the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) in 2014: Core Values Project of the Year (Southern Africa) and Core Values Project of the Year (International).

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